Boks Ready To Steam Roll British & Irish Lions

The Test series between the world champion Springboks and the British & Irish Lions has had everything – this evening’s tour decider should be no different.

Fans can expect on-field intensity, yellow cards, a bio bubble, verbal jousting, and refereeing controversies.

Last time around there was a fall-out from SA Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus’ now-infamous video. It’s likely to be everything except scintillating running rugby.

The world of rugby has been caught up in the debate around ugly rugby ruining the spectacle with All Blacks coach Ian Foster claiming the Lions series was so dull it had put him to sleep.

The Boks have taken it all in their stride, preferring to let the scoreboard do the talking.

After the opening Test – only South Africa’s second international since winning the World Cup in Japan in late 2019 – when the Lions closed out a tight win in the final quarter, Siya Kolisi’s men have shaken off the rust and last week overwhelmed and dismantled the tourists 27-9.

All the matches are being played at an empty and cavernous Cape Town stadium as authorities look to keep the series within a secure bio bubble. The decider kicks off at 6pm SA time on Saturday.

On Saturday morning the All Blacks defeated the Wallabies 33-25 at Eden Park in the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter. 

Both teams scored four tries and those longing for thrilling rugby may well point to the this try-fest compared to the Lions series which across the opening two Test encounters saw only four tries scored in total, three by the Springboks and a solitary effort by the Lions.

The Lions camp have been vocal in their calls for a greater spectacle of running rugby, despite their own meagre returns in crossing the whitewash, and have picked a team poised to speed up play and to try and stretch the famed Bok defence to its limits in the series decider.

The Boks, for their part, are unlikely to stray too far from what is their template – physical dominance around the park, set up by their tight five and loosies, with mercurial flyhalf Handre Pollard dictating play with his boot.

Pollard keeps the scoreboard ticking over as the Boks strangle the opposition with physical superiority and the best defence in world rugby.

No wonder Pollard calls the Boks style of play “the most beautiful thing in the world”.

Regardless of the aesthetic of watching the Springboks settle into their no-nonsense approach, there can be no argument over its effectiveness. 

Since readmission to world rugby in time for the 1995 World Cup, South Africa have won three out of seven tournaments – the joint record for most titles alongside New Zealand who played in two more tournaments prior to SA’s readmission.

The rest of the Bok camp have been equally resolute in defence of their approach. Assistant coach Deon Davids said: “When we execute stuff it is not about being boring, it is about understanding what we want to achieve.”

The Boks won the previous Lions series in 2009 and will look to repeat the feat which sees the red army only tour these shores every 12 years. 

That is the history these Boks are chasing and they will not be distracted in their quest for rugby immortality.

Presently, the world of rugby has been caught up in the debate around ugly rugby ruining the spectacle with All Blacks coach Ian Foster claiming the Lions series was so dull it had put him to sleep.

The Boks have taken it all in their stride, preferring to let the scoreboard do the talking.

After the opening Test – only South Africa’s second international since winning the World Cup in Japan in late 2019 – when the Lions closed out a tight win in the final quarter, Siya Kolisi’s men have shaken off the rust and last week overwhelmed and dismantled the tourists 27-9.

All the matches are being played at an empty and cavernous Cape Town stadium as authorities look to keep the series within a secure bio bubble. 

The decider kicks off at 6pm SA time on Saturday.

On Saturday morning the All Blacks defeated the Wallabies 33-25 at Eden Park in the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter. 

Both teams scored four tries. 

Those longing for thrilling rugby may well point to this try-fest compared to the Lions series which across the opening two Test encounters saw only four tries scored in total, three by the Springboks and a solitary effort by the Lions.

The Lions camp have been vocal in their calls for a greater spectacle of running rugby, despite their own meagre returns in crossing the whitewash.

They have picked a team poised to speed up play and to try and stretch the famed Bok defence to its limits in the series decider.

Regardless of the aesthetic of watching the Springboks settle into their no-nonsense approach, there can be no argument over its effectiveness.

Since readmission to world rugby in time for the 1995 World Cup, South Africa have won three out of seven tournaments.

SA holds the joint record for most titles alongside New Zealand who played in two more tournaments.

The rest of the Bok camp have been equally resolute in defence of their approach.

Assistant coach Deon Davids said: “When we execute stuff it is not about being boring, it is about understanding what we want to achieve.”

The Boks won the previous Lions series in 2009 and will look to repeat the feat which sees the red army only tour these shores every 12 years.

That is the history these Boks are chasing and they will not be distracted in their quest for rugby immortality.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Damian Willemse

British & Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams (Wales), 14 Josh Adams (Wales), 13 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 12 Bundee Aki (Ireland), 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10 Dan Biggar (Wales), 9 Ali Price (Scotland), 8 Jack Conan (Ireland), 7 Tom Curry (England), 6 Courtney Lawes (England), 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Wales), 4 Maro Itoje (England), 3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2 Ken Owens (Wales), 1 Wyn Jones (Wales)

Substitutes: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England), 18 Kyle Sinckler (England), 19 Adam Beard (Wales), 20 Sam Simmonds (England), 21 Conor Murray (Ireland), 22 Finn Russell (Scotland), 23 Elliot Daly (England