The shock news today is that Welsh Wizard Shane Williams has been called up to do a job for the Lions against the Brumbies on Tuesday. The other big news is that gasman and fan favourite Christan Wade will join him, with Brad Barrit flying in too.
London Waps’ joint top try scorer Christan Wade will join up with the Lions squad on Monday. He was due to play in England’s second Test against Argentina, but will instead wear red against the Brumbies, a move that will excite many fans that thought he should have been in the initial squad.
The other huge news of the day is that former Lions winger and Welsh legend Shane Williams has been called up to play on the other wing. The 36-year-old is currently playing rugby in Japan so has been keeping fit, including doing a bit of boxing for a charity event in Dubai recently.
He was going to be in Australia anyway, as a radio pundit, but his position with the Lions is understood to be only temporary, mainly based on the ease of bringing him in on short notice.
“We told him we needed him for one game – he was already halfway here and part of the reasoning behind that is that he is still playing and thinking about the travel of getting players here,” said Warren Gatland, who is having to juggle his resources carefully in the lead up to the first Test.
The Lions injury toll has mounted and there are concerns over the fitness of stars George North and centre Jamie Roberts, the latter having limped off against the Waratahs. Manu Tuilagi still has a sore shoulder and Brian O’Driscoll’s battered body needs to be looked after.
Wade and Williams will be alongside England centres Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees, who were also called into the squad within the last few days. Rob Kearney gets his first start, while Scotland’s Stuart Hogg will start at flyhalf again. Rory Best, also a late inclusion on tour, will captain the side.
Below is a quick wrap-up of the reaction to the Williams selection, including Twelvetrees, Hogg and Ben Youngs giving their thoughts. What do you think of Williams and Wade’s inclusions?
British and Irish Lions team: Rob Kearney, Christian Wade, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees, Shane Williams, Stuart Hogg, Ben Youngs; Ryan Grant, Rory Best (captain), Matt Stevens, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Sean O’Brien, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Simon Zebo
Brumbies team: Ruan Smith, Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Leon Power, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Peter Kimlin (c), Ian Prior, Matt Toomua, Clyde Rathbone, Andrew Smith, Tevita Kuridrani, Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg,
Replacements: Josh Mann-Rea, Jean-Pierre Smith, Chris Cocca, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jordan Smiler, Mark Swanepoel, Robbie Coleman, Zack Holmes