Wilkinson to get first start

Sir Clive Woodward's British & Irish Lions Test side to face the All Blacks is beginning to take shape after he named a powerful line-up for Wednesday's clash with Wellington. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Sir Clive Woodward’s British & Irish Lions Test side to face the All Blacks is beginning to take shape after he named a powerful line-up for Wednesday’s clash with Wellington.

Jonny Wilkinson starts his first game for the Lions in New Zealand at fly-half in what is arguably the most dangerous back division Woodward has fielded on the tour so far.

"I am starting to form a Test team in my head. I think it is all coming together. I know pretty clearly now where we are heading and who the players are I need to see now," said Woodward.

"It is a big game for a lot of players. After Wednesday I will have a very clear notion of my Test team."

New arrivals Jason Robinson and Gareth Thomas start on the wings with Josh Lewsey, who was not at his best in Saturday’s defeat to the New Zealand Maori, given an immediate opportunity to put things right from full-back.

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Captain Brian O’Driscoll also plays again and is partnered in the centre by Welshman Gavin Henson, a combination considered by many to be the likely Test midfield.

In the pack, Neil Back returns from suspension to the open-side and he will need a big game at the Wespac Stadium after the Lions lost the battle at the breakdown against the Maoris.

Martin Corry starts at number eight and takes on the vice-captaincy role while Simon Easterby, who was called onto the tour as a replacement for Lawrence Dallaglio, is the blindside flanker.

Woodward said he would "not necessarily" be showing his full hand before the first Test on June 25, but there are only a few players expected to be pushing hard for a Test place not involved.

Richard Hill, Steve Thompson and Andrew Sheridan all started on Saturday, while Paul O’Connell is on the replacements’ bench along with scrum-half Chris Cusiter, versatile flanker Lewis Moody, fly-half Stephen Jones and utility back Shane Horgan.

British & Irish Lions side to face Wellington at the Westpac Stadium on Wednesday:

15 Josh LEWSEY (London Wasps, England)
14 Jason ROBINSON (Sale Sharks, England)
13 Brian O’DRISCOLL (Leinster, Ireland) CAPTAIN
12 Gavin HENSON (Ospreys, Wales)
11 Gareth THOMAS (Toulouse, Wales)
10 Jonny WILKINSON (Newcastle Falcons, England)
9 Dwyane PEEL (Llanelli, Wales)

1 Gethin JENKINS (Cardiff Blues, Wales)
2 Shayne BYRNE (Leinster, Ireland)
3 Julian WHITE (Leicester Tigers, England)
4 Danny GREWCOCK (Bath, England)
5 Ben KAY (Leicester Tigers, England)
6 Simon EASTERBY (Llanelli, Ireland)
7 Neil BACK (Leicester Tigers)
8 Martin CORRY (Leicester Tigers, England) VICE CAPTAIN

16 Gordon BULLOCH (Glasgow, Scotland)
17 Matt STEVENS (Bath, England)
18 Paul O’CONNELL (Munster, Ireland)
19 Lewis MOODY (Leicester Tigers, England)
20 Chris CUSITER (Borders, Scotland)
21 Stephen JONES (Clermont Auvergne, Wales)
22 Shane HORGAN (Leinster, Ireland)

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