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Heaslip looks to have won his duel with rival Faletau

IRELAND'S Rory Best will lead out the Lions in their last assignment before the first Test against Australia on Saturday.

More importantly, it would seem Ireland's Jamie Heaslip has edged his duel with Toby Faletau for the number eight Test jersey as the Welsh forward starts tomorrow, making it highly unlikely that he would be asked to turn out again in the first Test.

It is probable this will bring to four the number of Irishmen set to start against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, the others being Paul O'Connell, Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Sexton.

This is quite an achievement given the fact that the injured Tommy Bowe and Cian Healy were looking every inch Test starters as well.

In the last week alone, Ireland's Simon Zebo, Scotland's Ryan Grant, England's Alex Corbisiero, Billy Twlevetrees, Christian Wade and, now, Brad Barritt have been called up as it has dawned on Gatland that he should have taken a larger squad to Australia.

Gatland has even been forced to import retired Welsh legend Shane Williams from his current Japanese club Mitsubishi Dynaboars in what could be seen as an act contrary to the value of The Lions.

How must England's Chris Ashton, Scotland's Tim Visser, Wales' Eli Walker and Ireland's Andrew Trimble feel about that decision?

Nonetheless, there is a long list of debuts on this tour for England backs Twelvetrees, Wade and Barritt, with Williams slotting in on the left wing.

LIONS (v ACT Brumbies): R Kearney; C Wade, B Barritt, B Twelvetrees, S Williams; S Hogg, B Youngs; R Grant, R Best (capt), M Stevens, I Evans, R Gray, S O'Brien, J Tipuric, T Faletau.


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