x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Shaw lands Test debut

British & Irish Lions boss Ian McGeechan makes five changes for Saturday's second Test against world champions South Africa in Pretoria.

CAPE TOWN // The British & Irish Lions have made five changes to their side to face South Africa in the crucial second Test in Pretoria tomorrow. Veteran lock Simon Shaw replaces Alun-Wyn Jones and will make his Lions Test debut 12 years after first touring with the side. The side will have an an all-Welsh front row at Loftus Versfeld, with prop Adam Jones and hooker Matthew Rees coming in to pack down alongside Gethin Jenkins. As expected, Phil Vickery, who endured a torrid time against "Beast" Tendai Mtawarira in the first Test, has been dropped. So too has his England front-row colleague Lee Mears, who was wayward with his line-out throwing and partly to blame for the problems at the scrum. Lee Byrne has failed to overcome a foot injury and is replaced by Rob Kearney at full-back, while Luke Fitzgerald comes in for Ugo Monye on the left wing. Monye has paid the price for failing to finish two great try-scoring opportunities in Saturday's 26-21 defeat in the first Test. That reverse in Durban has left the Lions needing to win the two remaining matches of their tour to keep the series alive. "As a squad, the Lions still have everything to play for," said head coach Ian McGeechan at the team's Cape Town base yesterday. "The players know that the outcome of the Test series comes down to Saturday, and they are determined to take the series to a decider in Johannesburg." Despite making wholesale changes to his side, the Scot insisted they would continue to play the expansive, attacking style of rugby they employed last weekend. "We have made five changes to the starting XV but it will not change the way we want to play," he said. "Both teams will be better for the run last weekend. We know we will have to step up our performance to ensure that we again take the game to the opposition and are more accurate in taking our opportunities." The Lions fought back from 26-7 down to come within a whisker of beating the Springboks last Saturday and McGeechan said his players had taken great heart from their storming finish. "There were many positives to come out of the first Test that we have built upon this week," he said. The side he has chosen will be made up of seven Irishmen, including captain Paul O'Connell, six Welshmen and two England players. Scotland only have one player in the squad, with hooker Ross Ford taking Mears' place on the bench. Shaw is the only member of the squad to have been on the 1997 tour, when McGeechan's Lions famously beat South Africa 2-1. It was the last time they won a Test series.

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