Ireland’s David Wallace edged out Martyn Williams for the key position of openside flanker when British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan on Thursday named his team for the first Test against South Africa.
There were no real surprises and few even contentious selections in the team for Saturday’s clash in Durban, with Williams named among the replacements after a shoulder injury limited his involvement in the provincial games.
Welshman Alun Wyn Jones got the nod as the second lock, as his athleticism complements the more solid qualities of captain Paul O’Connell, while Gethin Jenkins and Phil Vickery are the props sandwiching Lee Mears.
The starting Test team have not played together in any of the six tour games to date but McGeechan said he was prepared to accept that for the payoff of giving everyone in the squad enough of a chance to show what they could do.
Lee Byrne (WAL), Tommy Bowe (IRL), Brian O’Driscoll (IRL), Jamie Roberts (WAL), Ugo Moyne (ENG), Stephen Jones (WAL), Mike Phillips (WAL), Jamie Heaslip (IRL), David Wallace (IRL), Tom Croft (ENG), Paul O’Connell (IRL, captain), Alun-Wyn Jones (WAL), Phil Vickery (ENG), Lee Mears (ENG), Gethin Jenkins (WAL)
Replacements: Matthew Rees (WAL), Adam Jones (WAL), Donncha O’Callaghan (IRL), Martyn Williams (WAL), Harry Ellis (ENG), Ronan O’Gara (IRL), Rob Kearney (IRL)Tweet