Lions team to face Royal XV

Ian McGeechan has stuck with his 1997 tactics by picking an exciting blend of potential Test players and ‘bolters’ in the opening game of the tour against a Royal XV.

Paul O’Connell leads the side out on the first game in their 10 match tour. The Irish lock will have over 500 caps at his disposal in a line-up that contains seven Welsh internationals and some well established combinations.

An all-Ospreys back three of Lee Byrne, Tommy Bowe and Shane Williams will be orchestrated by Ronan O’Gara at fly-half, while Keith Earls and Jamie Roberts both make their Lions debuts in the midfield. There is also an immediate chance for Mike Blair at scrum-half – a late call up for the injured Tomas O’Leary.

O’Connell will be partnered in the second row by Simon Shaw – the two seconds rowers are among only eight players in the squad to have featured on a previous Lions tour.

“For young men such as Keith Earls and Jamie Roberts it will be a day to remember and they will be thrilled to get an early taste of match action on the tour. Outside these guys is the proven experienced combination of the Ospreys’ back three of Byrne, Bowe and Shane Williams.” said McGeechan.

“Following excellent preparation and a period of acclimatisation in South Africa I know the lads are raring to go on Saturday against the Royal XV and will be anxious to get the tour off to the best possible start.”


What do you think?

British & Irish Lions XV:

Backs:Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Wales), Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales), Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Ireland), Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland)
Forwards:Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England), Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland) captain, Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England), Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales), Andrew Sheridan (Sales Sharks/England)
Replacements:Lee Mears (Bath/England), Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England), Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland), Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales), Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales), Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England)

6 thoughts on “Lions team to face Royal XV

  1. Nothing to be learnt at this stage about Test XV thoughts as Geech will be true to his word by giving everyone a decent go at putting their hand up for a place.

    Nevertheless it does look like a strong team on paper with 7 of the 8 forwards enjoying a bit of bosh (Martyn Williams is a bit more restrained).

    Good to have a very experienced 9/10 combo to help 12 and 13 settle into their first lions experience (even though 9 hasn’t been a lion before either).


  2. Great team – nice blend of youth and experience, of pace and power. Didn’t expect anything less from McGeech.

    Given the players who were not included it’s brought home exactly how good a squad the Lions have out there. Interesting to see Sheridan given a run at the (on paper) weakest opponents the Lions will play. Has he, like Hines maybe, been taken to give the Lions a bit of the fear factor in the lead up games. Try to quell any thoughts the saffers may have of doing their test side a favour by leaving the Lions limping?

  3. i’m sure everyone will get a go… a decent go? well, it will be as much of a go as geech can manage in the confines of 10-match tour with 37 players. i think by the time he names his team for the 4th match, the second midweek game, he will already have an idea about who ISN’T a likely test starter, with the test team getting a run-out in game 5 against western province… altho’ injuries and late surges/ drop-offs in form could still lead to changes…

    i echo spike’s excitement, altho’ am wary of getting too excited too soon. let’s hope the opposition are credible, and not like western australia (116-10 in 2001) or manawatu (109-6 in 2005)…

  4. Share all your hopes but you know it’s going to be a points fest; meaningless in terms of proper build up, but think what it means to the 3rd tier SA players?? Magic facing the Lions……………………………………..

  5. Oh well a wins a win , the main concern appeared to be the lack of dog in the Lions pack (hwyl as we Welsh would put it ).The only one that seemed to be pumped up was O’Connell in the second half . THe back row were totally outplayed in the tackle area ..

    THe South African refs performance should be looked at though, by my count just about every scrum should have been a Lions penalty unless props popping up and having an aerial view of the stadium is now part of the game . Factor that in and the chances that went a begging and there would have been a big difference in the score line -doesn’t excuse the score line.

Comments are closed.