Can new-look Lions square the series?
Cape Town, Thursday evening
So despite saying he "didn't want to make too many changes", Lions head coach Ian McGeechan has made five to his starting line-up for the second Test against the Springboks in Pretoria.
One of them was enforced with full-back Lee Byrne ruled out injured, but the four others were all done for specific "technical and tactical" reasons with the aim of squaring the series at Loftus Versfeld.
It doesn't compare with the way Sir Clive Woodward ripped up his original plan and made 11 changes, four positional, after the disastrous first Test in New Zealand four years ago.
But McGeechan has been here before. In 1989 in Australia, the only time the Lions have come behind to win a series, he also shook things up with five changes after losing the first Test in Sydney.
Jeremy Guscott (JG) was one of those brought in for the second Test in Brisbane, and responded with a superb match-clinching try in the decisive minutes.
I spoke to the England and Lions legend this afternoon to discuss how the Lions' team changes might affect the outcome this Saturday.
AT THE COALFACE:
Last week the Boks' starting pack weighed in at a combined 885kg, while the Lions eight weighed 876kg, with hooker Lee Mears giving away 16kg to his opposite number Bismarck du Plessis.
This Saturday, with the addition of Adam Jones (127kg/20stone) at tight-head, Matthew Rees (108kg/17stone) at hooker and Simon Shaw (123kg/19st 6lb) at lock, the Lions' total weight of 903kg will see them top South Africa's (895kg with the addition of Schalk Burger).
JG: "I think everyone knew what was coming in the front row. From what I hear Adam Jones has got himself really fit over the last couple of years and is one of the un-sung heroes in the Welsh team. He has worked away and deserves his spot.
I am a little worried about Matthew Rees. In that first tour game against the Royal XV at altitude I felt he really suffered and didn't look fit. Nothing was happening for him physically, but when he came on in the second half last week he made some big dents and carried the ball well. Hopefully he will continue where he left off."
IN THE ENGINE ROOM:
After being told by forwards coach Warren Gatland he played "crap" in the tour opener against the Royal XV, Simon Shaw, 36 on 1 September, will write another chapter in the 18th year of his remarkable career by making his Lions Test debut, in his 18th match as a Lion, having also toured in 1997 and 2005.
Shaw, who takes over from Welshman Alun-Wyn Jones alongside captain Paul O'Connell, is only seven months younger than the oldest Test Lion Neil Back, who played against New Zealand in 2005 at 36 years and 5 months.
JG: "I think Shawsy's there because of his experience, his movement around the park and his ball carrying in particular. It is well deserved. He is experienced enough to know what is required and he will deliver it, I am confident of that.
Alun-Wyn Jones had an opportunity last week but wasn't forceful enough. He didn't take control of any situation really. It is not surprising, he is only 23, but some players of that nature make their names on Lions tours. I remember Martin Johnson coming out as a replacement in 1993 and you thought he had been there for the whole tour."
Ugo Monye's failure to take either of the two try-scoring chances that came his way in the first Test has cost him his place, with Irishman Luke Fitzgerald, 21, taking over on the left wing, and Shane Williams coming onto the bench.
JG: "Monye has just been taught a harsh lesson. He got two opportunities that you would expect him to put away and he didn't. He has learnt so much in the last 18 months but I don't like the way he dives before the line on hard grounds, because the ball can bounce out of your grasp. You want to really go beyond the line and be explosive through it.
I think Fitzgerald is going to be an Irish sensation over the next seven or eight years. We can just enjoy watching him play because he will go from strength to strength. He is a great footballer; his footwork, speed and reading of the game are very good, he plays what he sees in front of him and he knows how to react."
AT THE BACK:
Rob Kearney, who replaced the injured Byrne just before half-time in the first Test, gets his first Lions Test start at full-back.
JG: "Kearney carried the ball and kicked well when he came on last week. He did nothing outstanding, but nothing wrong. I saw him play for Ireland against France this year and he came into the line in attack very well, and that he is the kind of performance he has to deliver on Saturday.
With the amount of ball he will be fielding on Saturday, that first kick return has to be a good 50 or 60m to put them under a bit of pressure. The Lions have to weigh up how much kicking they do and how much ball they run back, because if we give them penalties at the breakdown, Ruan Pienaar or Morne Steyn will kick them."
JG: "This is how reputations are made and lost. You have got Warren Gatland and Graham Rowntree there as forwards coaches, and they will have had a say in who goes out onto the field, but ultimately Ian McGeechan picks the side.
When Phil Vickery was clearly in trouble in the scrum last week, the management have to know what is going on. Rowntree is the scrum coach and should have known "The Beast" was getting the better of him.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but why did it take them so long to do something about it? They picked the side on form, but they were just too slow to react."
WHAT ABOUT THE ALTITUDE?
South Africa have won their last nine Tests in Johannesburg (four), Pretoria (two), Bloemfontein (two) and Rustenburg (one). Their last defeat at altitude was in Pretoria in August 2006, a 45-26 thumping by the All Blacks when nine out of Saturday's 22 experienced a disgruntled Loftus crowd booing the Boks with 25 minutes to go.
Lions captain Paul O'Connell says his side are "quite confident of managing it".
"There is definitely a little something there at altitude, and there is no point telling yourself it is all in the mind, but it is not something to be overly worried about," he said. "You just have to dig deep when the burn comes on towards the end.
"We had plenty of action under our belts in training and matches in the first few weeks of the tour, and are very happy with the way we have prepared for it."
SO CAN THE LIONS WIN?
The Lions have lost their last six Tests in Australia (two), New Zealand (three) and now South Africa, and defeat on Saturday would signal a third straight series defeat.
JG: "I am optimistic. I am convinced the Boks will play the same way and I believe we will create as many, if not more, try-scoring opportunities.
South Africa are so comfortable with their tactics, they kick and chase and are only prepared to play in the last 30 yards of the pitch. They leave the other team to do the work, put pressure on them and then capitalise on their mistakes. You can't blame them, but if they opened up a bit they would be a seriously good team, and they are not bad as it is.
We need to sort out defending the rolling maul otherwise we are not going to see enough of the ball. Our scrum will be better and our line-out will have to be better.
But my gut feeling is the Lions are going to win. I said they would win by seven-to-10 points last week but I am going to go the same way this time.
These tours are not easy, and I have spoken to people in the squad who say what a great time they are having. But a Test win would make it a whole lot better."
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