Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Lions and the Wallabies get it on in Brisbane!

Oh yes, bring it on! All the speculation, all the build up stops this weekend as it finally gets real in Brisbane. Starting off with the Lions…the starting team kind of picks itself doesn’t it? In particular in the backline where the 7 fit players start. The pack has the form players, with only Corbiserio perhaps a little lucky. On the bench, I might have a few bones to pick with my man Warren. I haven’t seen Lydiate do anything since the last World Cup, including this tour, and I can’t see him making any impact coming on. Give me SOB any day. Maitland is another player that was lucky to come in the first place, and who’s looked dazed and confused since. I’d have Kearny there, and let him and Halfpenny rotate at wing and fullback. Big credit to the veterans BOD, POC, and Alwyn Jones, for taking their places on form not reputation.

The Aussies look a little more experimental, not Deans’s normal  conservative style, with  Ben Mowen ,Christian Leali'ifano, Israel Folau all debuting, and Hooper is not exactly a grixzzled veteran. There are a fair amount of new combinations in the backline – Genia and O’Connor,  Leali'ifano and O’Connor, Leali'ifano and Ashley Cooper. With the attacking flair of Sexton, Davies, BOD, and North, are the Aussies going to know who tackles who? Add in most of these player not having played much recently…and home advantage aside, it does look the Lions have the upper hand, whether they keep it tight in the formidable pack, or spread it wide. The Wallabies obviously have the players to test the Lions backline, and a star in Kurtly Beale on the bench. Their key man is Genia – if the Lions keep him quiet, they’ve won. I’m going with the Lions by 8 points!

Elsewhere, France have changed 8 again for the AB’s, so no surprise there, and the other big match of the weekend is probably Samoa/Springboks, which will probably be savagely entertaining.

British & Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Makovina Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.
Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Pat McCabe, 23 Kurtley Beale.
International Match
Saturday , June 22
New Zealand vs France 08:35
Scotland vs Italy 14:15
South Africa vs Samoa 17:15
Sunday , June 23
Fiji vs Tonga 12:10
Japan vs USA 14:10
More International Match fixtures
British & Irish Lions
Saturday , June 22
Australia vs British & Irish Lions 11:05

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