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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Henson ruled out of opening Test
Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson has been ruled out of the first Lions Test against New Zealand after being selected to face Southland on Tuesday.

Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward said any player selected to play on Tuesday would not be picked for the first Test.

Henson has been selected at inside centre to face Southland, while Geordan Murphy will play at full-back.

Michael Owen will captain Tuesday's team, with fellow Welshman Martyn Williams alongside him in the back row.

England flanker Lewis Moody and props Matt Stevens and Andrew Sheridan have also been picked for Tuesday's game in Invercargill.

The selection of both Henson and Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy in Tuesday's squad means there are a number of questions over who will play at inside centre in the first Test.

There is bound to be some disappointment at not being selected for the first Test on Saturday
Welsh centre Gavin Henson

There must now be a strong chance that Jonny Wilkinson will fill the number 12 shirt against New Zealand on 25 June, with Stephen Jones at fly-half.

The only other recognised inside centre in the party is England's Will Greenwood, who showed signs of a return to form in the win over Otago on Saturday.

Lions coach Woodward said: "I have made clear that the players selected for Southland will not feature in the first Test.

"But that does not mean they do not have the opportunity to play in the second and third Tests."

Henson said he was determined not to let his form be affected by the setback.

"Obviously everyone wants to play in the Tests, so there is bound to be some disappointment at not being selected for the first Test on Saturday," he said.

"But competition was always going to be fierce, and this is a squad full of world-class players.

"The challenge for me now is to play to the best of my ability when selected, keep challenging, and keep learning from the experience."

Among players not picked on Tuesday, and therefore in contention for a place in the 22-man squad for the first Test, are Welsh winger Shane Williams and back-rower Ryan Jones.

And the selection of Martyn Williams suggests 36-year-old England flanker Neil Back is set to become the oldest player to win a Lions Test cap.

There are 23 players competing for a place in the first Test squad, meaning one player will miss out.


British and Irish Lions: Murphy; Cueto, Smith, Henson, Hickie; O'Gara, Cooper; Stevens, Titterell, Hayes; Shaw, O'Callaghan; Moody, Williams, Owen.
Replacements: Bulloch, Sheridan, Easterby, Cusiter, Hodgson, Shanklin, D'Arcy

Southland: Wilson; Harrison, Milne, Muliaina, Lotawa; Apanui, Cowan; Miller, T-Pole, Tamariki; Quate, Macdonald; Dempsey, Rutledge, Dermody (capt).
Replacements: Murch, Hall, Logan, Wright, Clarke, Petre, Te Whare.



WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: British and Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward


Interview: Former Lion Will Carling



SEE ALSO
Otago 19-30 Lions
18 Jun 05 |  Lions in NZ
Pick your Lions XV
24 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions tour venue guides
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Early history of the Lions
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
Fixture list for Lions tour to NZ
08 Apr 05 |  Lions in NZ
Lions player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
All Blacks player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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