Redemption in Wellington ?
14th June 2005 By Munster Rugby
With the arrival of the The Cavalry, aka Gareth Thomas, Jason Robinson, Neil Back and Jonny Wilkinson, the expectation is that the Lions will make amends for Satiurday’s blip.
With the arrival of the The Cavalry, aka Gareth Thomas, Jason Robinson, Neil Back and Jonny Wilkinson, the expectation is that the Lions will make amends for what they considered was simply a blip against the New Zealand Maori.
And as the general perception was that the Lions lacked leadership up front and a were not competitive enough at the breakdown, Neil Back is seen as the player who can help to set things to right in both those areas.
At 36 years of age, He has a lot of miles on the clock, but is still confident of being able to help get the Lions back on track. “It is a huge challenge for me, but one that I have met before and come out on the winning side, so I don t fear it at all. I am just looking forward to that challenge and getting back to playing on Wednesday.
” The breakdown is an area the whole team needs to sort out, added Back. “We were well beaten by the Maori the other night, but don t write this Lions team off yet.”
For most observers, Clive Woodward’s starting XV for this game is perhaps two, maybe three short of what the Test XV will be. That being the case then, the Lions should win this one with something to spare.
Lions: J Lewsey (England); J Robinson (England), B O’Driscoll (Ireland) (capt), G Henson (Wales), G Thomas (Wales); J Wilkinson (England), D Peel (Wales); G Jenkins (Wales), S Byrne (Ireland), J White (England); D Grewcock (England), B Kay (England); S Easterby (Ireland), N Back (Leicester), M Corry (England). Replacements: G Bulloch (Scotland), M Stevens (England), P O’Connell (Ireland), L Moody (England), C Cusiter (Scotland), S Jones (Wales), S Horgan (Ireland).
Wellington: S Paku; L Fa’atau, M Nonu, R Tu’ipulotu, R Kinikinilau; J Gopperth, P Weepu; J McDonnell (capt), M Schwalger, T Fairbrother; L Andrews, R Filipo; K Ormsby, B Herring, T Waldrom. Replacements: L Mahoney, J Schwalger, K Thompson, J Purdie, R Flutey, T Ellison, C Jane.
Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand).