Lions vs South Africa Live

It is arguably the least eagerly-anticipated British & Irish Lions decider in the history of this iconic tour. Saturday sees Warren Gatland’s strained troops go out for one last Test against a South Africa team that has itself taken a battering over the course of this controversial five-week circus.

From pre-series riots and organisational mayhem triggered by the Covid pandemic in South Africa, to the stripped down schedule, isolated training camps, cancelled games, diverted Test venues and a furore over TMO appointments – not to mention some rather unsavoury goings on in the second Test – this Lions tour has certainly had its fair share of drama off the field.

It will end, perhaps, with relief more than triumph on Saturday when the Lions run out for a third time at a near-empty Cape Town Stadium to take on their hosts. The memories of a strained and often unwatchable tour aren’t likely to linger like those from 2017, 2013 or indeed 1997.

Gatland has never really done beautiful rugby but the head coach has nevertheless urged the officials to let the game flow more, following an attritional contest last weekend.

“We definitely want to play more rugby and we just didn’t get that opportunity in the second half,” Gatland said. “We felt like that at every scrum there was an injury, slowing the game down.

“We want to keep the tempo of the game up to get the ball in at our scrums and get the ball in quickly at line-outs, to play and to get a flow. And South Africa at the moment don’t want to do that. Everything is so stop-start that it does make it frustrating.

“I know Alun Wyn Jones was talking to the referee on a number of occasions about keeping it going. We had stud changes, we had TMO decisions, we had the referee stopping the game for cramp. So that will be one of the things I talk to the referees this week.

“We need to make sure we can’t have 60-odd minute halves. I think it’s important that we keep the game flow of the game, and as much from a spectator point of view.”

Gatland has shaken up his matchday 23 for a final showdown with the world champions. Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Ken Owens and Wyn Jones get their first starts of the series, while Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg and England’s Anthony Watson miss out altogether.

Ali Price returns to scrum-half in place of Conor Murray, with the Scot linking back up with Dan Biggar, while Finn Russell has beaten Owen Farrell to the fly-half reserve spot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *