2 Jun 2009

O'Driscoll to lead Lions on second match of tour

11:27 am on 2 June 2009

Brian O'Driscoll will captain a much-changed British & Irish Lions rugby side for Thursday morning's match against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

Only Tommy Bowe, Jamie Roberts and David Wallace retain their places from the side which unconvincingly beat a Royal XV in Sunday's tour opener.

Rob Kearney, Ugo Monye, Tom Croft and Nathan Hines will make their debuts.

Coach Ian McGeechan says the selections are in line with their intention that all players will play a full match in the first three matches on tour.

McGeechan says the team has a very solid core with Brian O'Driscoll, Stephen Jones, David Wallace, Phil Vickery and Gethin Jenkins who are all very experienced internationals and previous Lions tourists.

The Lions were widely criticised after their 37-25 win on Sunday, as they made a number of errors and found it difficult to gel as a team.

Springboks Jannes Labuschagne and Heinke van der Merwe have both been ruled out of the Golden Lions side.

Lock Labuschagne and prop van der Merwe are injured but coach Hans Coetzee can still call on South African international first five Andre Pretorius and his fellow Springbok, prop Lawrence Sephaka, as key components of the team.