Jonny deserves his chance, but Morgan's absence is a rum affair

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Jonny Wilkinson deserves the Lions chance he will be getting at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow night. After 18 long and lonely months on the comeback trail he needs a big-match outing more than anyone else in the squad - and he also knows that we need to see him at or near his best.

Jonny Wilkinson deserves the Lions chance he will be getting at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow night. After 18 long and lonely months on the comeback trail he needs a big-match outing more than anyone else in the squad - and he also knows that we need to see him at or near his best.

Sir Clive Woodward did exactly the right thing in leaving a space for him and setting him a challenge to prove he is worthy of a place on the tour. Jonny can now reward that patience and at the same time reassure everyone that he is there on fresh merit and not past reputation.

You can be sure he won't be holding back, and I have no doubt he will make a major contribution in New Zealand. He still has a way to go before he passes Stephen Jones in the queue for a spot in the First Test, but his presence adds great strength to the squad.

The other significant selections are that of Gordon D'Arcy at inside-centre, and Michael Owen at No 8 and captain. D'Arcy has not played much recently, so he is another one in need of a testing match. The inside-centre berth is going to be one of the more interesting Test selections, and he gets an early opportunity to put his name forward.

I am delighted that Owen has been given the honour of being captain in place of the rested Brian O'Driscoll. After leading Wales to the Grand Slam he thoroughly deserves it, and I expect him to be one of the successes of the tour. He has so much football ability, and operating behind a big front-five he can bring a lot of flair and balance to the pack.

I am not sure that we can read much significance in the make-up of the rest of the team. Trying to work out what plans are forming in Woodward's mind is a fascinating game we will all be playing as the great Lions adventure gets under way.

Most of the time we will be barking up the wrong tree, because you can be sure that there is going to a lot of chopping and changing before he finally reveals his hand for the First Test, which is still a month away.

For various reasons, Woodward is not able to call on 13 players for action tomorrow. Five were in the Sale team playing Pau in the European Challenge Cup yesterday, the Welshmen Gareth Thomas and Stephen Jones are still on playing duty with their French clubs, and Neil Back has been banned for four games. Matt Stevens, Will Greenwood, Richard Hill, Gavin Henson and Tom Shanklin were not considered due to minor injuries, and Woodward would have overlooked a few players who have been involved in big club matches recently. He has picked Denis Hickie, a left-winger, to play on the right, which is a bit strange, but the team still look very good and should prove too much for a weakened Argentinian side.

The Lions will just be grateful to be in business, and a game like this before they depart for New Zealand will allow the entire party, especially the technical staff, to run through their paces.

The only debatable point is the absence of the Welsh full-back Kevin Morgan. Woodward had a chance to include one specialist full-back when Iain Balshaw was ruled out of the squad on Tuesday but he brought in another winger in Mark Cueto. I am certainly not arguing about Cueto's right to be on the tour. The England winger was very unlucky not to have been picked in the original 44 and Woodward has acknowledged he was wrong to leave him out. But that still leaves the Lions without an out-and-out full-back, and I would have thought Morgan's outstanding form in the Six Nations made him well worthy of a place. Woodward says he considered Morgan as well as Scotland's Chris Paterson but plumped for Cueto.

Four of the full-back candidates are converted wingers (Thomas, Jason Robinson, Josh Lewsey and Geordan Murphy, who plays 15 tomorrow) and it could be Woodward also has in mind Gavin Henson, who plays full-back for the Ospreys and has a huge kicking game. But not to have one specialist is a mistake. Morgan can consider himself very unfortunate.

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