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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Sunday, 21 June 2009 19:19 UK

Lions eye changes for second Test

By Bryn Palmer
BBC Sport in Durban

Phil Vickery
Phil Vickery had a torrid first Test

The British and Irish Lions could make changes "in all three rows" of the pack for the second Test with South Africa, says scrum coach Graham Rowntree.

Wales' 20-stone tight-head prop Adam Jones is set to start in Pretoria on Saturday after Phil Vickery's mauling by Springboks prop Tendai Mtawarira.

Hooker Lee Mears may also pay the price for the Lions' forward problems, with Matthew Rees likely to replace him.

And Nathan Hines or Simon Shaw may come in to provide more second-row brawn.

Wales open-side flanker Martyn Williams and number eight Andy Powell could come into the reckoning for a start in the back row.

But the main change of emphasis will come in the front row, which is set to be an all-Welsh combination at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

There was one particularly uncomfortable scrum on nine minutes when we got lifted off the floor

Lions scrum coach Graham Rowntree

The introduction of Jones for Vickery five minutes into the second half of Saturday's 26-21 defeat by the Springboks in Durban helped stabilise a scrum that previously was disrupted at almost every engagement by "The Beast" Mtawarira, who earned his side three penalties.

"We failed to keep a lid on 'The Beast' at engagement time and he got under us," said Rowntree. "We didn't dominate that engagement well enough and they had an incredibly powerful pack.

"Phil is a very honest guy and by his own admission he struggled. He is upset and sore this morning physically and mentally."

Rowntree added: "It is not about hanging individuals out to dry. It is a collective thing and that is where I come in. I have to look at what went wrong.

"There were eight scrum occasions in that first half, three of which we were penalised. That put us nine points down. We will be looking very hard at those scrums where we looked so vulnerable.

"The changes we made sorted it out. I was delighted with the impact Matthew Rees and Adam Jones had in that set-piece. The changes made the scrum better and we got some good playable possession."

Captain Paul O'Connell was mystified immediately after the match at the interpretation of New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence, complaining that he "seemed to be just reffing us and not them".

But Rowntree dismissed any complaints about South Africa's tactics and admitted the Springboks pack - particularly the scrummaging of Mtawarira and hooker Bismarck du Plessis - had simply been too good.

"The referee was rewarding the dominant scrum as we had asked him to do," said Rowntree. "They won that engagement, they were going forward and their movement was upwards.

"It was legal. We were just under a lot of pressure and we have to take that on the chin. Du Plessis is very strong and with 'The Beast' they were able to get stuck into 'Vicks'. It is not about one man. The guys next to him and behind him have to help him.

"There was one particularly uncomfortable scrum on nine minutes when we got lifted off the floor. If I was their scrum coach watching that I would have retired to Panama by now with a cigar."

The Lions opted for a more mobile pack to try to "move the South African tight five around" - according to forwards coach Warren Gatland - but appeared to be overpowered at times in the tight exchanges.

South Africa's second try early in the second half originated in their pack mauling the Lions back 40m, and then driving a line-out from a resultant penalty.

"When the lads watch that again they will be a bit embarrassed about what we didn't do. That just can't happen in Test rugby," added Rowntree. "There could potentially be changes in all three rows of the scrum."

If the Lions opt to introduce the bulk of Shaw or the aggression of Hines, Alun Wyn Jones would appear to be the lock most at threat.

A strong performance from either Shane Williams or Luke Fitzgerald in Tuesday's final midweek match against the Emerging Springboks in Cape Town could also cause Ian McGeechan and his coaches to consider a change on the left wing.

Bryn Palmer's blog

McGeechan explained that Ugo Monye was chosen for his finishing prowess, but the England wing was denied two tries on Saturday.

The first one in the seventh minute owed much to a brilliant piece of last-ditch defending by Springboks centre Jean de Villiers, who managed to get his arm under the ball as Monye tried to touch down.

But in the crucial dying minutes of the game, with the Lions chasing a match-winning try, Monye allowed Springboks replacement fly-half Morne Steyn to knock the ball from under his arm over the try-line, which proved a costly miss.

The Lions will announce the team on Monday to play the Emerging Springboks, which should feature tour debuts for replacement props John Hayes and Tim Payne.



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see also
Under-fire Vickery wins support
21 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions call for Wasps prop Payne
21 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions can square series - Roberts
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
SA v Lions 1st Test as it happened
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa v Lions photos
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Springboks fail to impress in win
27 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Sport Wales - The Byrne identity
03 Feb 09 |  Wales
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union


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