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Lions tussle for Euro crown
20 March 2009 09:59am
By Rob Cole, Westgate
Wales centre Tom Shanklin
Four 2005 British & Irish Lions will clash in the middle of the RBS 6 Nations championship decider in Cardiff on Saturday.
As well as fighting for the Triple Crown and championship titles, all four will be conscious of the fact 2009 Lions head coach Ian McGeechan will be closely watching their progress.
Wales coach Warren Gatland has reunited his dream centre pairing of Henson and Shanklin for the first time the Welsh starting line-up since the final game of the 2008 Grand Salam campaign.
They both steered Wales to Grand Slam success in 2005 and 2008 and now have a Triple Crown and potential championship title in their sights.
As for Irish skipper O'Driscoll and his Leinster team mate D'Arcy, they are hoping to guide their team to a first Grand Slam in 61 years.
It has all the ingredients for a massive battle, with the winner taking all the major spoils.
"We're going to have our work cut out against their midfield. I've played against Brian and Gordon a few times now and they are world-class players," said the 62 times capped Shanklin.
"We really have to watch out for Brian. He's the key to their back-line - a top organiser, a good defender and back in prolific try-scoring form.
"There's pressure on both teams. Ireland are going for the Grand Slam and we're after the championship.
"It's important we get something out of the tournament. In previous years we've had success but never backed it up, so we must maintain the consistency of performances and results.
"I'm delighted to have had the nod from Warren and to be starting in the final game. There's a lot of pressure for places throughout the team, but even more so in the centre.
"It's great I'm playing with Gavin again - we know what a great player he is. Gavin's got all the skills, the kicking game and a strong defence."
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