A Zen like best contemplates the selection of Shane Williams! Photo INPHO

A Zen like best contemplates the selection of Shane Williams! Photo INPHO

The Lions squad for their match against the Brumbies was announced over the weekend amid much fanfare at the inclusion of Shane Williams.

Williams has been brought from Japan to take up a position on the wing thanks to ever increasing injury concerns over George North and Alex Cuthbert . While Williams inclusion is a surprise, and no doubt a big disappointment for all those other international wingers currently on tours around the world, there is some logic behind the selection given the logistics of getting other players out to Oz in time for any meaningful impact.  However it does smack of a Larne Legends XV tour to far off lands where every walking person with a vague connection is called in to supplement a drink destroyed touring party – ah the days!

I remember one trip we only had 12 players available for our one and only fixture and we had to make up the team from the parents of a visiting Welsh youth side and on another our resources were so depleted we had to let Ricky Kelly play! While such tours become the things of legend it doesn’t, to me anyway, set the right tone for the Lions!

Sadly for Ulster’s Rory Best, the inclusion of Williams in the squad that Best will captain, does give a fairly significant indication of the role that this game will play in the selection of players for Saturdays first test – not a lot.

At this stage of the game it looks like it’s too late for Rory to stick his hand up which will be a disappointment and with Bowe out injured it now looks likely that there will be no Ulster involvement in Brisbane, though these is speculation this morning that Bowe has an outside chance for Saturday. Smoke and mirrors?

The team also sees the inclusion of late call ups of English trio Billy Twelvetrees, Bradley Barritt (who he?) and Christian Wade in a fairly makeshift back line with the real interest in this match now the question of whether the Lions will suffer their first tour defeat or not in what could be a real car wreck of a game.

Poor Rory!

Brumbies V British & Irish Lions
Jesse Mogg 15 Robert Kearney
Henry Speight 14 Christian Wade
Tevita Kuridrani 13 Bradley Barritt
Andrew Smith 12 Billy Twelvetrees
Clyde Rathbone 11 Shane Williams
Matt Toomua 10 Stuart Hogg
Ian Prior 9 Ben Youngs
Ruan Smith 1 Ryan Grant
Siliva Siliva 2 Rory Best
Scott Sio 3 Matt Stevens
Leon Power 4 Ian Evans
Sam Carter 5 Richie Gray
Scott Fardy 6 Sean O’Brien
Colby Faingaa 7 Justin Tipuric
Peter Kimlin 8 Toby Faletau
Josh Mann-Rea 16 Richard Hibbard
Jean-Pierre Smith 17 Alex Corbisiero
Chris Cocca 18 Dan Cole
Ettienne Oosthuizen 19 Geoff Parling
Jordan Smiler 20 Dan Lydiate
Mark Swanepoel 21 Conor Murray
Robbie Coleman 22 Owen Farrell
Zack Holmes 23 Simon Zebo

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