Friday, 3 July 2009

Teams for 3rd British Lions Test

Both the British Lions and the Springboks have made numerous changes to their teams for this Saturday's third and final test at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Whilst the result of the match won't have any impact on the series outcome - with South Africa enjoying an unassailable 2-0 lead - there is still plenty of pride to play for. The Springboks would love nothing better than a 3-0 whitewash, whilst the tourists will be desperate to bring some respectability to the scoreline, and perhaps more importantly, break the Lions' 7 test losing streak.

British Lions team

The Lions have made seven changes from last week's team: Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery come in for the injured Welsh props, Shane Williams for Luke Fitzgerald, Riki Flutey for Jamie Roberts, and Tommy Bowe moves into outside centre bringing in Ugo Monye on the wing. Joe Worsley and Martyn Williams get a start in place of Tom Croft and David Wallace respectively.

It's still a good team, but unlikely to exhibit the midfield dominance we've seen in the first two tests.

15. Rob Kearney
14. Ugo Monye
13. Tommy Bowe
12. Riki Flutey
11. Shane Williams
10. Stephen Jones
9. Mike Phillips
8. Jamie Heaslip
7. Martyn Williams
6. Joe Worsley
5. Paul O'Connell (captain)
4. Simon Shaw
3. Phil Vickery
2. Matthew Rees
1. Andrew Sheridan

Reserves: Ross Ford, John Hayes, Alun-Wyn Jones, David Wallace, Tom Croft, Harry Ellis, James Hook

Springbok team

The Springboks have made ten changes from last week's starting lineup: in the forwards Chiliboy Ralepelle gets a start at hooker, Johann Muller replaces the suspended Bakkies Botha, Heinrich Brussow is in for Schalk Burger, and Ryan Kankowski for Pierre Spies. The only backline player to retain his place is scrumhalf Fourie du Preez; he is joined by Morne Steyn, Jongi Nokwe, Wynand Olivier, Jacque Fourie, Odwa Ndungane, and watch out for debutant Zane Kirchner, who had a great Super 14 and who has been destined for higher honours for a while now.

In spite of all the changes, it's hard to see this as a second-string team. Competition for Springbok test places is high at the moment, which can only be a good thing with the looming Tri Nations series.

15. Zane Kirchner
14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Jaque Fourie
12. Wynand Olivier
11. Jongi Nokwe
10. Morné Steyn
9. Fourie du Preez
8. Ryan Kankowski
7. Juan Smith
6. Heinrich Brüssow
5. Victor Matfield
4. Johann Muller
3. John Smit (captain)
2. Chiliboy Ralepelle
1. Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira

Reserves: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Deon Carstens, Steven Sykes, Pierre Spies, Ruan Pienaar, Francois Steyn

There has been plenty of spice in the series so far, both on and off the field. In particular, the Lions have been pointing a lot of fingers in the media regarding what they perceive as the Springboks' dirty play. There's no doubt it's been a physical affair, and I for one can't see that being any different come Saturday.

Kickoff is at 3pm SA time (2pm GMT). Enjoy the match!

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