Lions dream for Catt

Tuesday's tour game against a Combined Country XV may be a big game for the British & Irish Lions in terms of their preparations for the three-match Test series but it's also a huge occasion for one particular member of the opposition. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Tuesday’s tour game against a Combined Country XV may be a big game for the British & Irish Lions in terms of their preparations for the three-match Test series but it’s also a huge occasion for one particular member of the opposition.

The Lions take on the Queensland and New South Wales side at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle looking for a fourth straight tour win, with one of the men attempting to stop them in their tracks admitting it is a huge honour just to be involved in such an historic fixture.

Lewie Catt will line up at outside centre for the Combined Country, meaning the 25-year-old will be thrust into the action opposite Lions matchday captain Brian O’Driscoll.

Catt, who is a 25-year-old electrical engineer playing his rugby with the Wanderers in his home town of Newcastle, is all set for by far the biggest game of his career against by far the best opponent he has ever faced.

“It’s what dreams are made of,'' Catt told Fairfax Media.

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“I have an opportunity to play against the best centre in world rugby for the past decade.

“He is a superstar, there is no other word for it.

“Brian O'Driscoll is the equivalent to (rugby league giants) Billy Slater or Greg Inglis – it doesn't matter what sport you play or follow, everyone knows them.

“I will be a bit nervous running out. The aim will be to get in early and get a first touch.”

While it is entirely understandable that Catt will be a little apprehensive prior to kick off, his head coach Cameron Blades is urging him and midfield partner Tareta-Junior Siakisini  to get involved in the game as quickly as possible and to simply concentrate on doing their jobs rather than worrying about what will be coming the other way.

“If you look at our centres, one is from Queensland Country and one NSW Country,'' said Blades, who has eight Super Rugby players in his starting XV.

“It is a massive challenge but there is only one way to approach it, and that is to take that challenge on.

“That is the great thing about these guys, they have climbed into everything we have asked them.

“Lewie will be a little bit nervous but the best way to deal with that is to get the ball in hand or make that first early tackle.”

Blades has been forced into two changes to his matchday 23, with Beau Robinson and Ben Greentree ruled out through injury.

Robinson was stretchered off midway through the second half of The Lions’ win over the Reds on Saturday after taking a sickening knock to the head as he attempted to tackle Mako Vunipola.

The Qantas Wallabies cap is replaced on the openside flank by his Reds team-mate Jarrad Butler – who also faced Britain and Ireland’s elite at the weekend – with Richard Stanford starting at blindside.

Shaun McCarthy takes Greentree’s place on the bench in a squad skippered by Rebels No8 Tim Davidson.

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