Brumbies bracing for tough battle against undefeated Lions
THE Lions will be out to preserve their five-match unbeaten start to the tour and not slip up on a potential banana skin against an under-strength Brumbies in Canberra tonight.
The game is fraught with danger for Warren Gatland's men though - just look what happened when the teams last met 12 years ago.
The Brumbies led 28-23 before Austin Healey scored a try after the siren, which was converted by Matt Dawson, to give the tourists a face-saving 30-28 victory.
Wallaby squad member, No.8 Peter Kimlin, will lead the Brumbies tonight and would love the class of 2013 to create its own legacy.
"It's a great opportunity for everyone in our side to play the Lions. It's of massive importance to us," he said.
"It was clearly a close game 12 years ago, so, if we can replicate that in any way, we'll be very happy."
The Lions will be keen to make sure its not as close, but there are bound to be a few nerves for three of the men making their debut.
The English trio of Billy Twelvetrees, Brad Barritt, and Christian Wade, have all been called in as replacements for Gatland's injury-hit squad and have only been in the country a matter of days.
They, and the others in red, are sure to get tested by the Australian Super Rugby Conference leaders, even if they are missing six players in the national squad.
Wallabies squad member, prop Scott Sio, will play, while Jake White's line-up also includes fringe Wallaby, fullback Jesse Mogg, and former Wallaby winger Clyde Rathbone.
The Brumbies former Springbok World Cup-winning coach has also ensured retired Welsh winger Shane Williams's one-off game for the Lions will be a tough one.
Williams will have his work cut out marking Super Rugby's joint-top try scorer Henry Speight, a player 11 years younger than himself, and a scorer of eight tries this season.
The Lions can also be excused for thinking they are seeing double with identical twins Jean-Pierre Smith and Ruan Smith in White's squad.
Meanwhile, Gatland has rated winger George North (hamstring) as "less than 50-50" chance of being fit for the first Test, while another winger, Tommy Bowe, who broke his hand against the Reds, has an "outside chance".
- A. Smith
- Kimlin (capt)
- R. Smith
Reserves: Mann-Rea, Jean-Pierre Smith, Cocca, Oosthuizen, Smiler, Swanepoel, Coleman, Holmes.
British and Irish Lions
- Best (capt)
Reserves: Hibbard, Corbisiero, Cole, Parling, Lydiate, Murray, Farrell, Zebo.