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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lions make five changes, Wallabies receive fitness boost ahead of 2nd Test

The Lions and Wallabies teams for the second Test of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia have been announced. Both sides feature changes to those that played in the first game, some through injury and other's based on form.

The Lions starting XV comprises five changes to the side that won in Brisbane last Saturday.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs is promoted from the bench to replace Mike Phillips. He joins brother Tom, who plays his second Test at hooker, while flanker Dan Lydiate, who captained the Lions against the Rebels on Tuesday night, replaces Tom Croft and wing Tommy Bowe takes over from Alex Cuthbert on the right wing following his return to full fitness.

Geoff Parling replaces Paul O’Connell, who suffered a fracture to his right arm in the 1st Test while Makovina Vunipola takes over Alex Corbisiero, who strained a calf muscle in the same game.

On the bench there are five changes with Ryan Grant, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray, Tom Croft and Alex Cuthbert earning spots alongside Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell.

"Several players have put their hands up this week and have forced their way into the Test side while several players have returned to fitness," said Head Coach Warren Gatland.

"That is typical of Lions tours. We want players to constantly push for selection, we then select who is on form and who is available. Based on that we have selected a squad that is capable of winning the Test and securing the series."

The Wallabies have had big boosts as Christian Leali'ifano and Adam Ashley-Cooper have both recovered from a head knock and shoulder problem respectively. That means that there are only two changes to the starting XV, with Kurtley Beale coming in at fullback for Berrick Barnes, and Joe Tomane on the wing for Digby Ioane.

On the bench dynamic Brumbies back Jesse Mogg replaces Beale, while Rob Horne comes in for Pat McCabe, who will be out for the rest of the year with a neck injury.

Second Test - Etihad Stadium, Saturday June 29, 8:05pm, (11:05am BST)

Wallabies
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 1 Benn Robinson, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 James Horwill (captain), 6 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Wycliff Palu
Replacements 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg

British & Irish Lions
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert

Time: 1:29
Credit: @rugbymedia


Posted at 7:32 am | 40 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 40 comments

Ian June 27, 2013 8:26 am

I like the look of the Lions team.
Glad they stuck with the 12/13 combo. Unfortunate that Tuilagi didn't make it onto the bench, I think he could have been a good impact player off the bench and has more versatility than Cuthbert.

Wallabies have a good team also given the number of players they lost last week.

It'll be another good game.

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MattyJ June 27, 2013 11:00 am

completely disagree with you there, Cuthbert has far more ability than Tuilagi who only does crash balls and maybe an offload a few times a game

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Ian June 27, 2013 12:04 pm

We'll have to agree to disagree. I'd rather have Tuilagi on my team over Cuthbert any day.

I'd pick Hogg over Cuthbert too. He's too much of a one trick pony. Hogg and Tuilagi have ability to play in multiple positions which given the amount of injuries last week is an important thing in my book.

Will be an exciting game though, looking forward to it.

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dave June 27, 2013 5:40 pm

good thing your not a high class coach
warren gatland is a fool for not putting Tuilagi in the squad
Cuthbert is a great player no doubt but if you want a player to come on with enough x factor to win the game no matter the opposition then Tuilagi is the right choice, there isn't a chance that Cuthbert has a huge impact as a sub
LOL at matty's "Cuthbert has far more ability than Tuilagi who only does crash balls and maybe an offload a few times a game"
It's funny how people forget that Tuilagi beat the best team in the world that was on a 20 something non losing streak and he did this basically singlehandedly in a 10 minute span, there isn't one player on the lions that is capable of doing that by himself let alone a whole irish, welsh or scot team.
I honestly believe that there's so much disdain for tuilagi mainly from welsh fans because tuilagi chose England over wales, that and his debut try was against wales

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jog1986 June 27, 2013 11:32 pm

Nonsense comment there dave with regards to Tuilagi choosing Wales over England. Wales was never an option as he was never eligible to play for Wales, only England or Samoa.
I disagree with Ian as far as versatility is concerned regarding Tuilagi as he plays centre, nothing else, Cuthbert plays wing, nothing else, they are both as versatile (or not) as each other. I suppose WG will be thinking that he has the versatility in the starting backs with Bowe covering wing, centre and full back, Halfpenny covering wing and full back, and North even covering centre at a push. Can't disagree that Tuilagi would give more of an impact from the bench and must admit I was surprised to see Cuthbert there.

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brawnybalboa June 28, 2013 12:03 am

I think he is confusing Tuilagi for Vunipola, who could have played for Wales as he grew up in the same house as Toby Faletau.

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dave June 28, 2013 8:26 pm

no I meant Tuilagi, but I read it awhile ago so some of the details were foggy, it's actually more of it could have happened as opposed to an actual choice I'll give the article to you guys, it went round during the six nations this year on walesonline, it basically states that when his family first moved to Britain they lived in wales and if his brother freddies contract had never ended for the Blues he would be donning a welsh shirt, his former welsh coach almost had him playing for the blues development side
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/england-rugby-star-manu-tuilagi-2495238

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Jeroz June 27, 2013 8:27 am

Love the look of the Lion's lineup

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walker0705 June 27, 2013 9:11 am

Dont understand what Faletau needs to do to get into the team. More consistent and never panics at the back of a scrum... and phillips out? Joke!!

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dave June 27, 2013 10:11 pm

I hope you're not vouching for Phillips, after re-watching the game I can only recall one moment where Phillips did well and it was making a 20 metre break, almost everything else he did wasn't up to par for a lions shirt, i'm so glad they axed this bum

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BenjaJ June 27, 2013 9:54 am

I hope Australia will win this one, I want to see a thrilling third test.

In case of injury, who is going to play second row ? O'Brien ? Croft ?

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DrG June 27, 2013 11:05 am

Not 100% sure on this one, but didn't Warburton actually have a stint in second row following a yellow card, or an injury or something for Wales? I'm sure they'll probably stick croft in there or something, would have thought it wise to bring a second row replacement to the game myself...

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TotesMcGoates June 27, 2013 11:37 am

It'll be Croft, he was named as second row cover for the Rebels game. Don't know how much he has played there; some Tigers fans might be able to she'd some light on that?

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Arfur Jock June 27, 2013 12:48 pm

Croft has played 2nd row a lot. He has done it at international level as well although from the bench, not from the start. He is very good there but it is generally seen as a waste of his talents because he doesn't see the ball enough in the loose. He was potentially a bit lightweight but since his neck injury has bluked up a bit for protection.

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Arfur Jock June 27, 2013 12:52 pm

*Bulked*

I daren't think what bluked might mean

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DanKnapp June 27, 2013 10:21 am

Delighted to see Philips has been dropped. His showing was pathetic at the weekend. Give the more deserving Youngs and Murray the chance to be part of the series winning game. Good call Gats. I've been very impressed with his this tour, particularly his selection decisions.

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DrG June 27, 2013 11:07 am

Dan, I assume you're referring to him being stepped and then not giving chase, I read somewhere that Phillips has had some knee trouble which meant he couldn't train fully this week and which "affected his game last week" according to the management etc, so perhaps that could be why he showed no effort?

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DanKnapp June 27, 2013 7:25 pm

Hmmm. Maybe. I thought he looked disinterested all game. If he was injured, that would explain a lot. In which case, I'll take back some of what I've said.

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DrG June 27, 2013 8:53 pm

@Dan,

not to say you're incorrect, I mean as someone below said, it could be face saving bullshit..

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rugby08 June 27, 2013 11:58 am

Good call Gats?

Lol the only reason Phillips has been "dropped" is because he's out injured.

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rugby08 June 27, 2013 12:12 pm

Otherwise you can bet your arse that he would have at least been on the bench or even starting.

Bloody Gatland worshipers.

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DanKnapp June 27, 2013 7:27 pm

I wasn't a Gatland 'worshipper' until this tour, but he's doing alright. I didn't realised Philips was injured.

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UpTheLowEnd June 27, 2013 7:57 pm

The 'injury' thing all seems a bit suspect, it wasnt announced and documented like every other injury so far. My bet is that Phillips conveniently developed the injury when it was clear he wasnt gonna get the nod, you know, spare a bit of dignity and whatnot. I say Youngs is the right call

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TotesMcGoates June 27, 2013 10:55 am

Any truth in this nonsense that Horwill is going to be re-cited next week? I thought he was lucky to escape unscathed but surely the decision should be final? Bad form from the IRB on that one me thinks.

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DrG June 27, 2013 11:13 am

..apparently so. Interesting call "The International Rugby Board has told the Australian Rugby Union that it will appeal against the decision to clear James Horwill of stamping".

Agreed it affects their form, opens them up to all sorts of questions, can they dredge up 5 year old cases to review them and appeal against them? I agree that Horwill was lucky to get nothing, but I like to think that they made their decisions based on all the facts presented to them (even if everyone else disagrees with it!) Either Horwill stamped or he stumbled, there is no in between, so not sure how they can have any faith in Nigel Hampton if they're appealing his decisions....

I say watch out So'oialo, that ball grab may come back to haunt you!

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brawnybalboa June 27, 2013 6:40 pm

I doubt they would go back 5 years and look at cases, however 7 days from the outcome of the citing would most likely be reasonable.

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rugby08 June 27, 2013 12:00 pm

A bit pointless to have Cuthbert on the bench to be honest.

Why didn't he put Tuilagi there? He covers centre and wing and he would have a huge impact off the bench to complement Davies/O'Driscoll who while were very solid and competent didn't really have much influence on the game.

I suspect it might because Bowe has just come back from injury and if one of the centres are injured they will play North in the centre, which would make sense to me. But still Cuthbert doesn't really offer much from the bench and wasn't good enough last week.

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Andrew June 27, 2013 3:26 pm

every one going on about Cuthbert not being good enough is bullshit correct me if i'm wrong but he's scored in every game bar 1 that he's played in and regarding the centres you've got O'Driscoll and Davies starting and Bowe and North can play in the centres so personally id rather have someone that's more likely to score a try on the bench rather than

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dave June 27, 2013 5:46 pm

the thing about Cuthbert is he's a little bit of a one trick pony, he's got great finishing skills, but that's about it, his lateral movement going backwards is shit, his defence is a liability and he can't turn the ball over, I see almost no impact from Cuthbert in this game unless one of the starting wings gets injured early and even then he'll probably allow a soft try for someone of his speed and size

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Aero June 27, 2013 12:18 pm

Croft has had plenty of game time at second row and will do a job there

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TheZeboFlick June 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Cuthbert surely does not deserve to be out of the match day 23, he scored a wonderful try last Saturday and, while I think he is a pretty average defender, he didn't do much wrong.

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brawnybalboa June 27, 2013 6:38 pm

I am surprised at the selection of two backrowers on no Locks on the bench. At international level it is quite common to see players like Sebastien Chabal, Tom Croft & Ryan Jones who cover Lock and Back Row on the bench as they are better players in their secondary positions that the alternatives who ply their trade their week in week out. So the selection is based on lack of genuine depth.

But at the end of the day this is the Lions, with 4 international squads to pick from their is no realistic reasons to be concerned about depth. There is little doubt that Grey & Evans are both better Locks than Tom Croft.

Never the less, lets just hope Gatland knows more than us and has actually picked a side to clinch the series!

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Hanji June 27, 2013 6:44 pm

Am I the only one who has big doubts abouts the BOD-Davies partnership. Not to take anything from either players performance saturday but I just thought that together they were not as influencial as individually...

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Cianrugbyfan June 27, 2013 9:12 pm

I think cuthberth should have been dropped for bowe and tualagi but would be a bit harsh to say cheers for the match winning try but your out of the match day squad. I think the rest of the selections are spot on. I think heaslip will have to resurrect his carrying game without SOB or Croft to do it.

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icr9241 June 28, 2013 7:27 am

I agree with most with the selection of Tualagi. Whoever posted that he is a one trick pony (ie crash ball) is either not a fan of his or has not watched a large portion of his games at club or international level. Yes he is generally used on the crash ball but has very good hands. Not only that his presence (much like that of Roberts) attracts defenders into him as rarely will he be stopped in his tracks one on one and seems to always get things going forward/break the gain line. Both he and the legend that is Odriscoll linked well in the early mid weeks games so that to is a plus. If you were to look at it apart from the offload game both he and Roberts are used in similar game plans and would Roberts have been fit I would imagine he would have been in?
Youngs over Phillips? to me that one needed to be done. Phillips early part of the tour seemed to have us all thinking he was the automatic choice, but let us not forget all but one of those games the forwards dominated the opposition and almost everything was off the front foot. Phillips has been legendary on previous lions exploits but was not up to much last week. Case in point would be the performance of his opposite Genia who totally out played him off the back of some scrappy set piece ball.
Croft, as has been said has played a lot at second row and as a utility forward is a must for squad selection and I think unlucky to have lost his starting position.
Vunipola was unlucky also not to have been selected last week. He is much more dynamic in open play. As is always the case, we have gone into this series believing the Wallabies have a problem at scrum time and that is where we will damage them? Never really seems to be the case and as happened last week.
Lastly Faletau not starting. That is a complete joke. He is a must and how this has not caused debate is beyond me.

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Jimbo June 28, 2013 7:27 am

In general good call. Whether Phillips is/was injured or off form is irrelevant - he was poor in first test and does not deserve to keep his place. One MAJOR error is not to have Tuilagi at least on the bench. Hope we all don't live to regret this one.

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DrG June 28, 2013 3:17 pm

I think the real point is, IF Phillips was injured why did he remain on the pitch? It's one thing to keep going without realising you're leaking red, but to have a supposed knee injury which was blatantly affecting his attitude/ability and to keep going is daft.

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Jimbo June 28, 2013 7:45 am

Also have to agree on Faletau - he and Tuilagi will both be thinking, what do we have to do? Don't forget that a few short months ago Tuilagi more or less single-handedly destroyed the number one ranked team in the world, and a team that (at least before the game) many were suggesting was the best of all time!

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icr9241 June 28, 2013 10:46 am

I agree with you there Jimbo (on Tuilagi) I watched that game and if you look at him licking his lips during the Haka you just thought he was like a predator waiting to devour his prey.
I honestly thought that it would always come down to whether or not it was he or Roberts and the difficulty would then be who to select to partner. Lets not forget you could say we were fortunate to get the win in that first test as there was some pretty average kicking from the Wallabies, but more worrying was that the midfield did not really give us any penetration. Whether or not that was in some way down to the execution of game plan we don't know but I would hope that is not the case. I would rather us go out to win the game by using the many talented players scoring tries than to constantly look for field position and rely on the talents of the kicker.
That sort of negative play dogged the English game for years.

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icr9241 June 29, 2013 12:27 pm

Sorry to say but either Gatland got it wrong or the team did not execute whatever the game plan was! On that point can anyone establish what the game plan was?
As others feared the exclusion of someone like Tuilagi proved a vital error in my opinion.
I am a big fan of Davies and as I have said before Odriscoll is one of the all time great Lions centres (if not World), but he midfield was almost none existent.
The strike weapons of North, Bowe could not be brought into play save the odd run when Bowe came in looking for work.
I am a great believer in building a score especially when you envisage a close match, but when your opposition have conceded 2 very early penalties for the same thing and have been given the warning of a yellow deep in there own 22, within the first few minutes to me they should have gone for the lineout and set the pace.
Yes building a score important but we had an early chance to get them right on the back foot. Having been Mauled off the park twice and warned they were more likely to concede a try if not penalty try and potentially have a player rest for 10 mins.
This is not hind sight as I did not agree with the decision at the time.
Towards the middle of the game we had almost doubled the Aussie tackle count? Does that suggest they were so much better at ball retention and attack or did we just rely to much on an aggressive defence. Where has all the flare gone from most of these players which I watched during the pre test matches.
If this does not spark some changes for the final test or at least a change in game plan we are doomed to another 12 years of what ifs. This is by far one of the better Lions teams I have seen but for me the wrong players are out there on test match day.
Vinupola after a shakey start was one of the better players. He rivalled the back row in tackles, carried and gave a full 80 min performance.

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