The Lions beat the Southern Kings 20-8 in Port Elizabeth this afternoon in a match which they were widely expected to romp. That they did not was due in the main to the hugely physical nature of the Kings’ performance as a side largely comprising past-its, up-and-comings, not-quites, and never-wills set out to prove a point. This took its toll on the Lions as James Hook and Euan Murray, both strong contenders for the bench on Saturday, went off injured in the first 15 minutes.
For the Lions, this was the game for which, realistically, nobody wanted to be selected. Some had a chance to push their case, others must have known that the game was up in terms of selection for the first test. As it was, it was a game in which it was very hard to impress. The Lions will hope that the injuries to Hook and Murray are not serious as Hook provides versatility and a more attacking edge to his fly half rivals, and Murray showed against Western Province the damage he can do to a scrum, especially against tired legs.
Do you think anybody showed anything which may lead to a selectorial rethink? Did anyone play themselves out of contention? The main thing is that the Lions have reached the First Test unbeaten and have passed some searching tests. Roll on Saturday.