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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Simon Zebo set for Lions debut as Billy Twelvetrees joins the squad

England and Gloucester back Billy Twelvetrees has been called up to the British and Irish Lions squad as cover in the backs, while Ireland winger Simon Zebo, who joined earlier this week, will make his debut against the Waratahs on Saturday.

The Lions team to play the Waratahs has been announced and will be skippered by tour captain Sam Warburton. It is the final Saturday match before the Test series starts on June 22nd.

Irish wing Zebo, who only joined the tour party on Tuesday after travelling over from the USA, will make his Lions debut. Scotland's Sean Maitland, who had some good runs from fullback against the Combined Country side, will be on the other wing.

Rob Kearney, a star of the 2009 Lions tour of South Africa, will make his first appearance off the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury that had previously rendered him unavailable.

Talking about the decision to bring Twelvetrees into the squad, Warren Gatland said: "The nature of a Lions tour means that there will inevitably be knocks which take time to recover from.

"The whole squad have worked hard but a lot of the backs have doubled up over the last two games, either starting or from the bench. Billy played well in the 1st Test for England and he provides that versatility to cover a variety of positions."

While new players have been brought in, this weekend's Lions team has plenty of experience as it includes seven players that started in the first Test against South Africa in 2009 - Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O'Connell, Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip.

"It would be great to remain unbeaten and take that momentum into the first Test. However, more importantly we are looking to finalise key playing combinations and strengthen our patterns of play during the next two matches," said Gatland.

British & Irish Lions team Leigh Halfpenny, Sean Maitland, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Paul O’Connell, Tom Croft, Sam Warburton (capt), Jamie Heaslip
Replacements Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Rob Kearney

Time: 1:25
Credit: @rugbymedia

Posted at 6:19 am | 8 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 8 comments

getitout June 13, 2013 2:16 pm

Big fan of Twelvetrees, great news for him to have been called up! Him and Burns are a very promising partnership for England in the future. Will obviously have his work cut out getting into the test squad though... Also personally think that most of the starting forwards this weekend will be the starting the first test, unless anyone has a shocker

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Herman Munster June 13, 2013 4:33 pm

What I read from this team selection, it looks as if Cuthbert has played himself out of selection and Maitland and Zebo are fighting for the final wing spot. As obviously North will start. Roberts has 12, Davis in to get a run in case, God forbid, O'Driscoll gets injured. I'd bet on that front row starting. I don't see Gray there which tells me, and to be honest I agree, that he's a test starter. O'Connell and Jones fighting it out for final starting spot, with Parling to come on and have an opportunity to claim a spot on the test team bench. Tipuric and O'Brien not there, O'Brien may have his position on the bench for the tests due to his cover of all 3 back row positions, Tipuric to start test, Warburton, Croft and Lydiate to fight for final flanker position and Heaslip to start to get the 8,9,10 axis tuned for the tests. Youngs looks to be given an opportunity to offer something different as we all know Murray is pretty much a carbon copy of Philips bar a better kicking game.

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Jimothy June 14, 2013 11:02 am

After Manu and BOD's partnership I'm not sure Roberts has the test 12 nailed down as comfortably as you think. He offers much more in terms of offloads and drawing defenders, opening space for other around him! The rest of that team looks great though, I can't wait!!!!

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coostov June 13, 2013 8:26 pm

Love that Chris Ashton has fallen so far that he can't even get an injury call-up to the Lions.

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dan June 14, 2013 2:34 am

too bad you can't get a call up to the local bottom feeding team in your area, let alone the lions

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Guy June 14, 2013 10:42 am

Not a real fan of Ashton myself, I still tend to find your comment quite soccer-ish to be honest.

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dave June 14, 2013 2:34 am

awesome, the lions finally have a classic 12 to choose from

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Feet June 14, 2013 6:16 pm

This may sound stupid. But theoretically speaking shouldn't the lions be odds on favourite to win every match? They have a pick of the best players from the northern hemisphere as opposed to Australia picking from one country? Or is it the fact that Southern Hemisphere teams are generally better?

Forgive my lack of knowledge I'm new to rugby (14 years old)

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