British & Irish Lions tour manager Gerald Davies and head coach Ian McGeechan have announced the Lions team for the fifth match of the 2009 tour of South Africa against Western Province on Saturday.
The selected Lions team to play Western Province in Cape Town this Saturday (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time) will be led by Englishman Phil Vickery and includes four Irish players.
Full-back Rob Kearney, winger Tommy Bowe and centre Keith Earls and their Grand Slam-winning team-mate, second row Donncha O’Callaghan, will line out for Ian McGeechan’s tourists, while Gordon D’Arcy has gained a place on the bench once again.
Lions tour manager Gerald Davies said: “As a tour party we are delighted that we have reached Cape Town and the final Saturday provincial match prior to the Test series with an unbeaten record.
“Team morale is high and each team that takes the field is determined to maintain the momentum and to fight for an individual Test place.”
Commenting on the team selection, head coach McGeechan said: “The coaching staff is very pleased with the way the squad reacted to some bad injury news this week.
“The players took the news on the chin, trained well, focused on the next match and the performance against the Sharks was excellent.
“The squad is very close as a group of players but now there is now a competitive edge developing as we approach the Test series. That is how it should be.
“I reminded the players when I told them the team to play Western Province that we were not selecting the Test side until next Tuesday following the Southern Kings match.
“The team for Western Province will be captained by Phil Vickery who is one of the many leaders in the squad. It is just reward for a thoroughly professional player who will play in his tenth Lions match.
“‘Vicks’ is a former captain of England and he played three Lions Tests against Australia in 2001.”
He added: “No starting players are backing up from the Sharks match as we continue our desire to see all players involved in at least two full matches prior to Test selection.
“Martyn Williams comes into the starting line-up following his recovery from a shoulder knock and Riki Flutey gets his first starting role after proving his fitness off the bench against the Sharks.”
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TEAM/REPLACEMENTS (v Western Province, 2009 Lions Tour, Saturday, June 13, Newlands, kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time):
15. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)
14. Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland)
13. Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland)
12. Riki Flutey (London Wasps/England)
11. Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England)
10. Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales)
9. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England)
1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks/England)
2. Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales)
3. Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England) (capt)
4. Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster/Ireland)
5. Nathan Hines (Perpignan/Scotland)
6. Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England)
7. Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
8. Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
16. Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland)
17. Euan Murray (Northampton/Scotland)
18. Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England)
19. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)
20. Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland)
21. James Hook (Ospreys/Wales)
22. Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster/Ireland)