Shaw finally gets test call up

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CAPE TOWN, June 25 – Simon Shaw will earn his first British and Irish Lions cap when he lines up against South Africa in the second Test at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Saturday.
SIMON_SHAW_991085095.jpgThe Kenyan born lock’s inclusion is part of the five changes made by the Lions management to the side that lost the first test in Durban last week.

"The players know they came desperately close to winning the first Test in Durban," tour manager Gerald Davies said of last weekend’s 26-21 loss during which the Lions rallied strongly in the final 20 minutes.

"They have put that disappointment behind them as we head to Pretoria for one of the toughest challenges a team can face – playing South Africa at home at Loftus Versfeld."

Welsh duo Adam Jones and Matthew Rees take the place of England’s Phil Vickery and Lee Mears, who struggled in the first Test and were dropped from the match-day 22.

Alun Wyn Jones falls to the bench alongside England prop Andrew Sheridan and Scottish hooker Ross Ford.

In the backs, Ireland’s Rob Kearney replaces the injured Lee Byrne at full-back while Luke Fitzgerald’s good showing in Tuesday’s 13-all draw with the Emerging Springboks sees him oust Ugo Monye on the left wing.

Monye misses out on a place among the subs, with the more versatile Shane Williams called up.

"As a squad, the Lions still have everything to play for," said head coach Ian McGeechan.

"The players know that the outcome of the Test series comes down to Saturday and they are determined to take the series to a decider in Johannesburg.

"There were many positives to come out of the first Test which we have built upon this week.

"We have made five changes to the starting XV but it will not change the way we want to play.

"Both teams will be better for the run last weekend and we know we will have to step up our performance to ensure that we again take the game to the opposition and are more accurate in taking our opportunities."

O’Connell played down the role moving back to play at altitude would make, saying that the squad would easily re-acclimatise.

"The fact we’ve already done three weeks up there means we’ll be confident of managing it," said the Irish lock.

Team (15-1)

Rob Kearney (IRL); Tommy Bowe (IRL), Brian O’Driscoll (IRL), Jamie Roberts (WAL), Luke Fitzgerald (IRL); Stephen Jones (WAL), Mike Phillips (WAL); Jamie Heaslip (IRL), David Wallace (IRL), Tom Croft (ENG); Paul O’Connell (IRL, capt), Simon Shaw (ENG); Adam Jones (WAL), Matthew Rees (WAL), Gethin Jenkins (WAL)

Replacements: Andrew Sheridan (ENG), Ross Ford (SCO), Alun Wyn Jones (WAL), Martyn Williams (WAL), Harry Ellis (ENG), Ronan O’Gara (IRL), Shane Williams (WAL)

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