Lions 2013: Roberts in contention for second Test place

Melbourne Rebels v Lions

  • Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
  • Date: Tuesday, 25 June
  • Kick-off: 10:40 BST (19:40 local)

Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Centre Jamie Roberts is in contention for a British and Irish Lions place for the second Test against Australia.

The Wales Grand Slam winner and Lions Player of the Series in 2009 missed the first Test victory over Australia due to injury.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland revealed Roberts' recovery from a hamstring injury has gone well.

"I don't think Jamie is too far away. He is potentially in contention for that second Test," said Gatland.

"It is a great tribute to the medical team and fitness staff. The squad is looking healthy, and having almost everyone available is great.

"If you look at Australia, who took a bit of a battering with injuries last night, we are in a good place."

The Lions now face the Aussie Super 15 side, the Melbourne Rebels, in the final midweek game of the tour on Tuesday.

The Lions secured a 23-21 win over the Wallabies in the first Test in Brisbane last Saturday.

Former Wales loose forward Gareth Delve, who won the last of his 11 caps before moving to Melbourne for their debut season in 2010, will skipper the Rebels.

The England centre Manu Tuilagi will face the Melbourne Rebels after suffering a nipped nerve in his neck against Queensland Reds on 8 June.

Dan Lydiate will captain the side following the withdrawal of second row Geoff Parling who is now expected to partner Alun Wyn Jones in the Test team after Paul O'Connell was ruled out of the rest of the tour with a broken arm.

Richard Hibbard and Dan Cole start, as do unused replacements Sean Maitland and Owen Farrell.

Tuilagi will renew his England centre partnership with Brad Barritt as he bids to return to Test contention for Saturday's second Test against the Wallabies in Melbourne.

Analysis

"If the Lions victory owed as much to the inadequacy of their hosts in one critical department as their own efforts, so be it. Any Lions Test victory is to be cherished. They have only won two of the last nine, after all.

"Here was an occasion that lived up to the hype in spectacular fashion, with the 25,000 Lions fans in an enthralled capacity crowd playing a full and vociferous part."

While wing Tommy Bowe will not play on Tuesday - to ensure his hand is fully healed - he is available for Saturday.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Sean O'Brien will return to open-side flanker after two outings at blind-side, with Lydiate at six and Justin Tipuric on the bench.

Recent Wallaby scrum-half signing Luke Burgess will make his first start for Australia's newest Super Rugby franchise after moving from Toulouse.

The Rebels have won four of their 15 matches in this year's Super Rugby campaign to sit fourth out of the five teams in the Australian conference.

Team line-ups

Lions: Rob Kearney; Sean Maitland, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Simon Zebo; Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Ryan Grant, Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole, Richie Gray, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate (capt), Sean O'Brien, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Rory Best, Mako Vunipola, Matt Stevens, Tom Croft, Justin Tipuric, Ben Youngs, Billy Twelvetrees, Stuart Hogg.

Melbourne Rebels: Jason Woodward; Tom English, Mitch Inman, Rory Sidey, Lachlan Mitchell; Bryce Hegarty, Luke Burgess; Nic Henderson, Ged Robinson, Laurie Weeks, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Jarrod Saffy, Scott Fuglistaller, Gareth Delve (capt).

Replacements: Pat Leafa, Cruze Ah Nau, Paul Alo-Emile, Luke Jones, Jordy Reid, Nic Stirzaker, Angus Roberts, Cooper Vuna.