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Page last updated at 07:48 GMT, Monday, 15 June 2009 08:48 UK

Martyn Williams column

Martyn Williams
By Martyn Williams
Wales and Lions flanker

It is crunch time now, with the first Test less than a week away.

Martyn Wiliams playing against the Cheetahs
Williams scored the third try for the Lions against Western Province

You can tell there is a bit of a change of mood because the boys are all asking each other questions and wondering who is going to get selected.

Because the tour has gone well and we have won five out of five matches, quite a few players have put their hands up.

On Monday, we will be told the side for Tuesday's game against the Southern Kings and after that it will be the first, and only, time on this tour we will split as a squad, but only for a day or so.

I think 24 players will go to Port Elizabeth and the other 12 will go straight to Durban to start preparing for the first Test, which makes total sense in terms of travelling.

If you are picked against the Southern Kings, realistically you are probably playing for a spot on the bench on Saturday.

Everyone will be disappointed they are not in the starting XV for the first Test, but it is a three-match series, not just one match, and more players will be needed.

You are still representing the Lions on Tuesday night so there will be no lack of motivation from anybody who is picked.

We have become really close and tight as a squad, there is a great spirit and I am more than confident that with the characters we have there will be no kind of split.

Everyone will take it maturely and professionally if they don't make the Test team.

Most of us have been in the situation of not being selected for our country at some time or other so everyone knows how to deal with it.

I am a member of the senior players group, along with Paul O'Connell, Phil Vickery, Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones and Brian O'Driscoll.

We are supposed to meet once a week with manager Gerald Davies, 'Geech' (head coach Ian McGeechan) and 'Gats' (forwards coach Warren Gatland), although we've only had one real meeting so far.


But we will probably meet again this week and have a chat about how everything is going on and off the field.

Fingers crossed, my shoulder seems to have held up all right after Saturday's game. I did have doubts going into it because I hadn't really taken impact on it beforehand.

But about 20 minutes into it, having been diving about and tackling, I realised it was fine and that was a big relief. It was a little bit tight on Sunday morning but nothing major, so I am happy.

Having said that, I needed five stitches in my knee after catching a stray boot. It was a nice clean cut, and a bit sore afterwards, but nothing to worry about.

I had mixed feelings after the game. I was really happy we won because it was a bit nail-biting at the end after they drew level, but it was a little bit frustrating that we got in front and then let them back into it, similar to the Cheetahs game.

At half-time we felt really comfortable but kept giving them penalties, or spilling ball, or kicking badly, which kept them in touch instead of us pulling away, which I thought we would once we went 23-15 up after my try.

It was nice to score; the only other try I've got for the Lions was in Auckland on the last tour, but it was all down to the front five really. I just flopped over the side.

But it is good that we are pulling out these type of victories. You learn more about yourself winning games like that than when you win by 40 or 50 points, so hopefully that will stand us in good stead.

I had no idea that I was going to be captain for the last 15 minutes. I think one of the physios shouted to me from the touchline 'after the next substitution you are captain' so it was only then knew I knew 'Vicks' (Phil Vickery) was going off.

I had a couple of decisions to make in those final minutes, when we got those two penalties. I asked 'Hooky' (James Hook) if he fancied the first one and he said yes, but obviously didn't strike it as well as he would have liked.

Lions fans at Newlands
Lions fans were in full voice during the win at Newlands

The second one was a huge pressure kick but he absolutely nailed it, fair play to him.

Overall I think we deserved to win, but it would have been nice to win a bit easier than we did.

It was great to get off the bus at Newlands with all the supporters there to greet us. It is the first time it has felt like a proper Lions game and that gave the boys a big boost.

You can tell the Tests are coming up because I am bumping into people I know all the time now.

We came back to our hotel bar after the game and it seemed like every person I met was Welsh. There are so many out here now it is unbelievable!

The support is incredible, and I've been trying to explain to some of the boys on their first Lions tours that from this week on it is totally different. You can feel the buzz picking up already.

Martyn Williams was talking to BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer

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Martyn Williams column
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