Williams has failed to live up to his IRB player of the year accolade in South Africa and insists he needs a big performance if he is to force his way into head coach Ian McGeechan’s plans for Saturday’s second Test.
He said: “There’s no one more disappointed than me by the way I’ve been playing. It’s my last Lions tour and if I don’t play well tomorrow, it could well be my last Lions game. I’m putting pressure on myself.”
McGeechan has made wholesale changes to the side that lost 26-21 to world champions South Africa on Saturday. Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara becomes the fifth different skipper on the tour, while first Test substitutes O’Callaghan and Wales flanker Martyn Williams both start.
Props Tim Payne and John Hayes – recently drafted in as injury cover – also start. Ugo Monye, Lee Mears, Phil Vickery and David Wallace, who all started on Saturday, are on the bench.
With the side for the second Test set to be named on Thursday there will be opportunities for several squad players to force themselves into the reckoning with a strong display against South Africa’s second string.
McGeechan said: “There is still a lot to play for and the players are well aware of that. The mood in the camp is still very positive due to the fact that we did come very close to winning on Saturday and the fact that we created so many scoring opportunities.”
LIONS V EMERGING SPRINGBOKS
K Earls; S Williams, R Flutey, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; R O’Gara (capt), H Ellis; T Payne, R Ford, J Hayes, D O’Callaghan, N Hines, J Worsley, M Williams, A Powell.