After two failrly easy games, the first against The Barbarians in Hong Kong, and last Wednesday’s game in Perth against Western Force, the 2013 Lions faced their first true test of their tour of Australia. On Saturday (8th of June) they faced the Queensland Reds in a match in Brisbane. They eventually came out winners, by a margin of 22-12.
The Reds, being led by their mercurial outside half Quade Cooper, certainly tested the Lions in a way that they had not been so far on this tour. True to Gatland’s stated intentions, with 3 games played (including the warm-up match against The Barbarians), all players in the tour party able to play have now had a chance to start a match. With two weeks to go before the first Test, which will also be in the same stadium in Brisbane, Gatland and his coaching staff now need to start deciding who is likely to make his starting 15 for that first Test.
I wouldn’t like to try and even guess what that 15 will look like. At least, not yet. Maybe after the next two games I will take a stab at it. Of course, this was the first match of the tour that Captain Sam Warburton has been able to play, due to a knee injury which kept him out of the first two matches. He played well in my opinion. Not outstanding, but well. I think Gatland will need to start him in next weekend’s game against the New South Wales Warratahs so he can get more match practice.
I am not sure if any of the squad have their position in the opening test guaranteed, with the possible exception of Brian O’Driscoll. What do people think?