INJURY WORRIES FOR THE LIONS while ALL BLACKS NAME THIRD TEST TEAM
Its been a mixed day for the Lions in New Zealand, with confirmation that Jonny Wilkinson (neck/shoulder), Gavin Henson (neck/shoulder), Charlie Hodgson (concussion), Andrew Sheridan (ankle), Ollie Smith (ribs) and Ben Kay (eye) have all been ruled out of taking any part in the Third Test on Saturday.
Wilkinson has been laid low by a stinger injury to his neck and shoulder, with Gavin Henson suffering from a similar injury. Five other players still have question marks over their fitness, including Shane Horgan (hamstring), captain Gareth Thomas (virus), Neil Back (throat infection), Will Greenwood (shoulder) and Gethin Jenkins.
On the positive side is news that prop Graham Rowntree has been cleared at a disciplinary hearing after being cited for punching during the 17-13 victory over Auckland. It now seems likely that Steven Jones will don the No. 10 jersey, with Ronan O Gara on the bench. Clive Woodward is expected to announce the team on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Graham Henry has named his squad for Saturday s test game, with Dan Carter and Aaron Mauger ruled out of the side due to injury. Justin Marshall has been named on the bench, with Byron Kelleher retaining the No. 9 jersey. In his last game before joining Leeds for a two-year stint, New Zealand s third most capped player Marshall is expected to come off the bench and play a part in Saturday s game. Nick Evans has been called into the squad as cover for Leon MacDonald, who is battling for fitness after picking up a groin strain in training earlier in the week.
New Zealand Team: Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear, Conrad Smith, Tana Umaga (captain), Sitiveni Sivivatu, Leon MacDonald, Byron Kelleher, Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, Ali Williams, Chris Jack, Greg Somerville, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Derren Witcombe, Campbell Johnstone, James Ryan, Sione Lauaki, Justin Marshall, Luke McAlister, Doug Howlett.