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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 12:00 UK

Croft focused on first tour start

Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Date: Wednesday, 3 June Kick-off: 1810 BST (1910 local time)
Coverage: Live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website; second-half commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Tom Croft
To get a first start really kicks off your tour

Tom Croft

Leicester Tigers forward Tom Croft makes his British and Irish Lions debut on Wednesday insisting he is not out to prove the tour management wrong.

Croft was originally omitted from head coach Ian McGeechan's touring party and was only called up when Munster flanker Alan Quinlan was handed a 12-week ban.

But Croft said his only focus for the match against the Golden Lions at Ellis Park is on performing to his best.

"It's not about proving a point or proving why I should be here," he said.

"I consider my selection for the party a massive honour.

"I've been selected because the coaches think I have something I can contribute, so all I can do is go out on the pitch and do what I do for Leicester and England.

"You've been picked to come on this tour from the work you have been doing with your club and country.

"To get a first start really kicks off your tour, personally."

Croft is one of 12 changes from the side that struggled to overcome a Royal XV 37-25 in opening game of the tour in Rustenburg.

And he believes the Lions must up their game if they are to beat Super 14 opposition in front of an anticipated 60,000 capacity crowd.


"Super 14 is seen as the best rugby in the southern hemisphere," Croft said.

"And Heineken Cup rugby, in my opinion, is the best rugby in the northern hemisphere. I think the Heineken Cup is easily on a par with it.

"It is the coming together of two great competitions, and it should make for a great match on Wednesday.

"But it is not about proving which is the best competition. It is about the best team on the day and the team that gets the win.

"The first game on Saturday was a bit touch and go, a bit of a shock to the system, but the tour has got to start somewhere and we came out on the right side.

"Each game we play, we hope to improve in certain areas and build up to the three Tests [against South Africa].

"You go through the basics and focus on what your job is."

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