Major names culled in McGeechan's latest Lions XV
The Lions eventually ran away with the game, 71 – 31, chalking up 30 odd points in the final 20 minutes after a red card for Sharks’ nine Jaden Hendrikse. Hendrikse was caught elbowing Liam Williams with some needless sideline ground and pound and the subsequent red card gifted the game to the touring side.
“I think Tom Curry probably needs another start to really get involved, we haven’t really seen him come through yet.
“Hamish Watson has played consistently well, and Tadhg Beirne edges it at six for me. You need a big six because you have to get pressure on the set-piece, on the lineout.
“I think we have more to see from Faletau, but with two new Test Lions in the back-row, having an experienced player who has drawn and won a series before is important.”
Fellow Scot Hogg might be the biggest surprise, but McGeechan appears to be favouring the reliability under the high ball of Williams.
“I have three players who are solid on any counter-attack or under high balls – which I think will happen a lot, South Africa tactically kicking from nine and 10 in the first Test.”
Mako Vunipola, who had a poor game against the Sharks in their first encounter and Welsh standout Wyn Jones both lose out to Rory Sutherland. Maybe the most striking selection is Chris Harris at 13, who beats firm favourite Henshaw to a starting berth. Henshaw is nursing a hamstring injury, but is likely to feature next week for the men in red.
McGeechan’s selection comes amid chaotic upheaval behind the scenes for the Lions, who have seemingly lost Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell to an Achille’s injury. Russell’s injury saw Marcus Smith being called up to the Lions while he was on pitch playing Canada at Twickenham.
McGeechan’s Lions Test XV:
15 Liam Williams
14 Anthony Watson
13 Chris Harris
12 Owen Farrell
11 Josh Adams
10 Dan Biggar
9 Conor Murray (capt)
1 Rory Sutherland
2 Jamie George
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Maro Itoje
5 Iain Henderson
6 Tadhg Beirne
7 Hamish Watson
8 Taulupe Faletau.
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