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Jenkins condemns Lions selectors

Adam Jones is helped off in the second Test
Jones is helped off in the second Test in which he played a leading Lions role

Ex-Wales hooker Garin Jenkins feels poor selection for the British and Irish Lions' first Test against South Africa led to their series defeat.

Jenkins believes Welsh front-rowers Adam Jones and Matthew Rees should have been picked for the opening Test.

He said: "We missed the chance in the first Test. I think it was poor selection, really."

Jenkins, who was gouged himself at the 1999 World Cup, said weak officiating in the second Test also hurt the Lions.

He also thinks the first Test man-of-the-match display by prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira, who inflicted damage on the Lions scrum in Durban, masked the South Africans' true weakness in that area.

The ex-Wales hooker says coach Ian McGeechan put the matter right for Saturday's often brutal, but compelling encounter in Pretoria by bringing in Jones and Rees.

But he added: "I think there was so much pride shown Saturday. I think we missed the chance in the first Test. I think it was poor selection, really.

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"It was well documented that if the Springboks had a weak part, it was their scrum. The Beast - as they've named him - isn't a great scrummager... and I think the Lions knew that they held the upper hand there.

"I don't know whether they [the Lions] worked on it hard enough, worked on their strengths in the first Test, which, really, looking back on the series, is where the series was won - in that first 20 minutes in Durban.

"And it was poor selection as proved Saturday when the Lions got the selection right with Matthew Rees and Adam Jones there at two and three.

"That allowed the Lions a platform and it's a missed opportunity. I'd put the Test series down to poor selection in the first Test."

Jones was among the walking wounded in the wake of the 28-25 second Test defeat, the victim of the challenge that led to Springbok second-row Bakkies Botha being cited and banned for two weeks for dangerous charging.

However, the most controversial incident took place in the first minute when Schalk Burger was sin-binned for eye-gouging wing Luke Fitzgerald.

De Villiers wrong on Burger - Shanklin

The flanker has since been banned for eight weeks following a citing hearing.

Having been the victim of a similarly infamous incident himself, in the opening World Cup game against Argentina in 1999, Jenkins says French referee Philippe Berdos and touch-judge Bryce Lawrence should have acted more strictly in Pretoria.

"It was certainly a physical game, wasn't it? The intensity was over and above what we've seen in recent times," said Jenkins.

He added: "The South Africans have always been very physical in their 120 years of rugby history, but on Saturday it was real boundary stuff.

"I just think some times things are done in the heat of the moment.

"I know Schalk Burger's very physical and there's no place in the game for gouging.

"He [Berdos] should have issued a red card and Bryce Lawrence... should have been as authoritative in insisting it was a red card to the referee as he was implementing the scrum tactics the week before in Durban when he penalised the Lions off the park.

"But I just think it was weak refereeing and it was very costly to the end of the game to the Lions."



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see also
Martyn Williams column
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
SA's Burger handed eight-week ban
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Give Lions more time - McGeechan
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Battered Lions lose injured props
28 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Burger 'gouge' angers Fitzgerald
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
McGeechan saddened by Lions loss
28 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa v Lions photos
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
SA v Lions 2nd Test as it happened
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Emerging Springboks 13-13 Lions
23 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union


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