Greenwood impressed by Lions candidates

Will Greenwood underlined the British and Irish Lions' determination to make Test team selection as tough as possible following an outstanding 30-19 victory against Otago at Carisbrook. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Will Greenwood underlined the British and Irish Lions’ determination to make Test team selection as tough as possible following an outstanding 30-19 victory against Otago at Carisbrook.

While Lions chief Sir Clive Woodward has pencilled in the majority of his line-up to face New Zealand in Christchurch next Saturday, fringe candidates are multiplying by the minute.

Woodward was elated with the victory and he could enthuse about top-drawer performances from players like Ryan Jones, Simon Easterby, Graham Rowntree and Shane Williams.

They all made an impression in terms of the Test series as a whole, especially back-row pair Jones and Easterby.

"Andy Robinson (Lions coach) said something interesting to me on Friday," said England World Cup winner Greenwood.

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"He talked about the 1989 Lions tour to Australia and ‘Donal’s donuts’, (the midweek team captained by Ireland lock Donal Lenihan), when they tried to push as many players as possible from the perceived midweek team to the perceived Test team.

"It was our job to take the baton from Wednesday’s performance against Wellington, and try to put as many players into the hat as possible.

"It was a great changing room after the game – the mood of a job well done. We had a huge responsibility to take things on, and it was a good win."

Centre Greenwood’s first-half try helped haul the Lions level after they had trailed by seven points, when he capitalised on a kind bounce from fly-half Charlie Hodgson’s steepling kick behind the Otago line.

"I found myself in wide open space," he added.

"I think their wing might have lost [the kick] in the floodlights, and I will take those kind of opportunities – from minus two yards – all day."

The Lions will return to their Christchurch base before the team selected to face Southland in Invercargill on Tuesday heads south.

Woodward confirmed that none of his Test side will feature in that game, remaining behind to work with Robinson, Eddie O’Sullivan and Phil Larder, and he admitted that he is relishing the week ahead.

"It will be very intense, and it will be a huge pressure game," said Woodward, focusing on the All Blacks.

"You want to be involved in these type of fixtures. You want the big occasions, and it doesn’t come much bigger."

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