By Conor O'Shea

How is that at the end of this game in Cape Town all I could think of was the Millennium Stadium and Ireland’s Grand Slam?

As James Hook’s 76th-minute penalty sailed over to earn the Lions their fifth win from five games, all I could think of was how Stephen Jones - who was on the pitch with Hook both today and in that Grand Slam game - declined the kick against Western Province because Hook had the distance, but in the Grand Slam decider (thankfully for Ireland) he took on the kick and fell short.

They are the margins but thankfully today the right call was made – from an Irish point of view Jones made the right call a few months back as well!

This win for the Lions was good for morale and, as I have said before, you shouldn’t underestimate the wins that are being racked up even against weakened opposition because there is no such thing as a weak South African rugby player.

That said, the phoney war is now over and we are into the real deal from next week onwards.

Thank God for that.

This game was littered with far too much aimless kicking and yet again mistakes but the pitch at Newlands when the weather is that bad is a hard one to judge and it is not the greatest surface for footing.

These opening games have all been about selection and, as Ian McGeechan has put it, looking at combinations.

A few players you knew were sure things before this game have become copper-fastened now.

Tommy Bowe, in difficult conditions, was again outstanding and if his finish for his try was outstanding, his break and then scoring pass to Ugo Moyne was simply world class.

This season has seen a good player become a world-class player; that is where Bowe is now.

On the other wing I think Ugo Moyne will get the nod ahead of Luke Fitgerald due to the fact that Fitzgerald has only played one full game in his best position on the wing.

I believe Fitzgerald will be on the bench as he covers so many positions and is in good form and I also believe he will finish the series at the starting wing.

At full back it is Lee Byrne, as Rob Kearney is up against one of the form players and just loses out as a result.

The centre partnership again for the Lions for the second successive Saturday was too lightweight, especially in the conditions, and I felt sorry for Keith Earls that he did not have a big inside centre beside him.

Instead, Ricky Flutey did not look fit.

At 10, Stephen Jones made a few errors but will get the nod ahead of O’Gara and it will be Phillips ahead of Ellis at 9.

The pack will be less straightforward, especially after the Western Province game.

Gethin Jenkins will hold off the challenge of Andrew Sheridan at loose head, with Phil Vickery - playing and looking as well as he has for years - getting in at tight head.

At hooker it will be Lee Mears but the Lions may yet live to regret not replacing Jerry Flannery with Rory Best.

Best should be there and the performances from Matthew Rees and Ross Ford are not where they should be.

With the lineout duel likely to decide the series, the hooking birth, whether it be Flannery’s injury and Best not been taken as replacement, could be telling.

The other big marker today came from Martyn Williams. He was, along with Nathan Hines in the second row, outstanding and it is a shame that David Wallace and himself are vying for one position.

Or are they?

I am sure that the coaching team may look at getting both players on the pitch. They will both be in the 22 - they have to be - but could there be a rejig of positions with Wallace moving to 6 to accommodate Williams?

It may expose the lineout too much to go that way but they will consider it.

If not, I wouldn’t like to make the call between these two great forwards in Wallace and Williams in probably the biggest selection call of them all.

Anyway, soon the debating will be over, both teams will be selected and the real deal beginning. The empty seats at matches will be a thing of the past and we will find out just out how good the 2009 Lions are.

By the way, France laid down a marker this weekend for the Northern Hemisphere and for their own World Cup hopes in 2011 when beating the All Blacks in their own back yard.

Hopefully the Lions can do the same in Durban next week.