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Page last updated at 08:46 GMT, Saturday, 20 June 2009 09:46 UK

Lions emerge from shadow of 2005

First Test: SOUTH AFRICA v LIONS
Venue: King's Park, Durban
Date: Saturday, 20 June Kick-off: 1400 BST (1500 local time)
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and online. Also live on Sky Sports. Rugby Union on the BBC


Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones says the Lions must be organised and front up in defence

Stephen Jones says the Lions will go into the first Test against South Africa having already emerged from the shadow of the 2005 tour to New Zealand.

Four years ago Sir Clive Woodward's top-heavy tourists were soundly hammered 3-0 in the Test series.

Jones said: "It's completely different to 2005 in the way we've prepared.

"Our game plan's different, we're a small group, we've been successful in our opening matches so it's completely different from that aspect."

The Wales fly-half has never beaten the Springboks in six occasions - despite scoring 60 points against them - and made his debut in Wales' record 96-13 defeat to South Africa in Pretoria in 1998.

Jones started the first and last Tests against the All Blacks and appeared as a replacement in the second of a series in which the Lions lost three Tests to nil.

The 31-year-old hopes to emulate the class of 1997, in which current kicking coach and then full-back Neil Jenkins played a starring goal-kicking role.

"The feeling is one of excitement," Jones told BBC Sport.

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"It's going to be a big challenge for us but we're all looking forward.

"We've worked hard, we've prepared well, we've been successful so far on the tour and all the guys are looking forward to a big Test.

"But we're fully aware… it's going to be a big challenge for us, but it's one we really are looking forward to."

Jones accepts the Springboks could be rusty having not played together in a senior Test since November, but points out the hosts' direct approach remains a formidable challenge.

"They're South Africa a very physical side, they've got a simplistic game-plan, which they play very, very well.

"But from our perspective we've got to be well-organised defensively and we've got to make sure we front up."

The Scarlets fly-half added: "We're happy with where we're at and it's about performing.

"We've got a game-plan. It's important that we implement that. We've got to play smart, we've got to play clever and it's about reading the situation, backing your own ability and enjoying it."

Recalling Jenkins' efforts 12 years ago, Jones said: "Neil Jenkins had a fantastic tour in 1997 . As an outside half and a kicker you're fully aware of your responsibilities so hopefully it'll go well."



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see also
South Africa 26-21 Lions
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Bullish Byrne primed for SA clash
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Jones relishing Boks' lock test
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Habana delivers warning to Lions
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Roberts loving 'crazy' rugby rise
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Brussow handed Springboks start
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Sharks 3-39 Lions
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Springboks fail to impress in win
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Edwards expects Lions 'battle'
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Sport Wales - The Byrne identity
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Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union


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