Easterby's chances of making the first Test team are, with respect, relatively slim considering the presence here of Richard Hill, Lewis Moody, Michael Owen and Martin Corry. However, such was the modest display in defeat against the Maori on Saturday, that even he will fancy his chances of at least confirming his place amongst the possibles. Peel and Henson, barring a sudden change of heart or loss of form tomorrow, appear to be leading the chase for places in the first Test team in Christchurch, whilst for Thomas and Jenkins it will need a solid if not elaborate performance to prove that they are both ready for the job.
In Jenkins's case it should have been a straightforward selection, but with the English media and one or two of the management pushing Andrew Sheridan, Jenkins will need to reaffirm his position as top of the props.
"I can't do anything else but my best," said Thomas on arriving in Auckland last weekend. "I understand that due to my late arrival, I need to play well when I get my chance and to prove that I am up for the job. Having played for Toulouse right up to the day before I came out, I feel in good shape and that probably helps, but I have got to adapt to the pace of everything and make sure that I'm up to scratch with what the Lions expect."
Ironically, Wellington's coach is former Swansea coach John Plumtree, who took over as coach of the NPC side on leaving Wales two years ago. His side is piled high with Super 12 talent; thirteen of the Hurricanes squad are starting, whilst the back five in the pack boast a two-stone-a-man weight advantage over the Lions.
That, after Saturday's physical examination against the Maori, will be the stiffest test of the evening, although the presence of Ma'a Nonu behind the scrum means Henson and the Lions' backs are also likely to face a pretty tough evening too. Inside Henson, Jonny Wilkinson plays his first game on tour, he teams up with Scarlets scrum-half Peel in a partnership that many believe Woodward will plump for in Christchurch.
Peel was impressive in the game against Bay of Plenty and with Dawson hardly shining in Hamilton on Saturday, Peel appears to have pushed himself into the box seat. Still, with a likely English bias come Test time, Peel, like Thomas will need a solid enough performance to wipe away and lingering doubts in Woodward's mind. There is one change on the bench - Richard Hill coming in for Lewis Moody who suffered a slight knee injury in training in Christchurch.
The side has arrived in Wellington hell bent on making up for Saturday's loss and though Wellington pose as big a threat as any, it has to be a Lions victory. Anything less and even the most optimistic members of the party will start to see that the challenge ahead is of Everest proportions.
British & Irish Lions v Wellington
Wednesday June 15th 2008, 8.10am (BST)
British & Irish Lions Team v Wellington
Josh LEWSEY (London Wasps, England)
Jason ROBINSON (Sale Sharks, England)
Brian O'DRISCOLL (Leinster, Ireland) (Captain)
Gavin HENSON (Ospreys, Wales)
Gareth THOMAS (Toulouse, Wales)
Jonny WILKINSON (Newcastle Falcons, England)
Dwyane PEEL (Scarlets, Wales)
Gethin JENKINS (Blues, Wales)
Shayne BYRNE (Leinster, Ireland)
Julian WHITE (Leicester Tigers, England)
Danny GREWCOCK (Bath, England)
Ben KAY (Leicester Tigers, England)
Simon EASTERBY (Scarlets, Ireland)
Neil BACK (Leicester Tigers)
Martin CORRY (Leicester Tigers, England) (Vice Captain)
Gordon BULLOCH (Glasgow, Scotland)
Matt STEVENS (Bath, England)
Paul O'CONNELL (Munster, Ireland)
Richard HILL (Saracens, England)
Chris CUSITER (Borders, Scotland)
Stephen JONES (Clermont Auvergne, Wales)
Shane HORGAN (Leinster, Ireland)
Wellington Lions team v British & Irish Lions
Joe McDonnell (captain)