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British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News


Sky Sports pundits Maggie Alphonsi, Sam Warburton, Sir Ian McGeechan and Bryan Habana picked the key points from the Lions and Springboks perspective after the first test in the series which saw tourists triumph 22-17

Last updated: 07/25/21 7:06 am

Maro Itoje impressed as Lions clinched victory over South Africa in the series’ first test

The British and Irish Lions took a 1-0 lead in the Tri-Test series against South Africa on Saturday with a 22-17 victory over hosts Cape Town.

However, they had to be tough, defending their 12-3 halftime delay thanks to a try from Luke Cowan-Dickie and a kick from Dan Biggar.

Here we look at what Air sports‘experts chosen as their key points of the game for the Lions and Springboks…

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

Lions return to beat Boks to go 1-0 in series

The British and Irish Lions made a brilliant second-half comeback to beat South Africa 22-17 to lead 1-0 in the Tri-Test series.

Alphonsi: Itoje deserved the man of the match

Hooker Cowan-Dickie and opening half Biggar might have been the men who scored the points for the Lions, but it was Maro Itoje’s inspiring performance that helped lay the groundwork for the victory.

Itoje’s work in the allocation to win crucial turnovers for tourists and her efforts in the line-up particularly stood out for Maggie Alphonsi, and the former England Women backline was undoubtedly worthy of the name. man of the match.

“His tackles, his commitment to the breakdown and his attitude in the game were on another level,” said Alphonsi. “I think he started the test match ready for it and finished above everyone else.

“Courtney Lawes also performed very well, but Itoje was the player who was particularly present in the roster and faced Eben Etzebeth on several occasions.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News 1:17
After the British and Irish Lions’ first Test victory against South Africa, Maro Itoje says these moments don’t come often and it’s a privilege to wear the jersey

After the British and Irish Lions’ first Test victory against South Africa, Maro Itoje says these moments don’t come often and it’s a privilege to wear the jersey

“On the breakdown he comes to an angle where you just don’t see him coming and when he gets a hit and goes through the breakdown he dissuades players like Faf de Klerk from getting a really good clean break.

“Everything he did was competitive, physical, he worked hard until the last game of the game and deserved to be the man of the match.”

Warburton: Lawes the obvious choice for No.6

There were a few raised eyebrows when head coach Warren Gatland picked Courtney Lawes ahead of blind-flanked Tadhg Beirne for the first test, but the Northampton Saints man more than justified his place to the side with his performance.

Sam Warburton, who played alongside Lawes for the Lions on their tour of New Zealand four years ago and against him for Wales on several occasions, felt his work in attack and defense against the Springboks pointed out why he was the right fit for the role.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News 1:53
Courtney Lawes says what’s exciting about this British and Irish Lions side is that they know they have more to give after their first Test win against South Africa

Courtney Lawes says what’s exciting about this British and Irish Lions side is that they know they have more to give after their first Test win against South Africa

“Some people weren’t choosing him for their Lions teams because he didn’t play for England in the Six Nations,” Warburton said. “I definitely had him on my team; playing with and against him is definitely a man I would always want on my team.

“The way Gatland didn’t pick him for the last two games kind of told him he was going to make Test 23, without a doubt. It’s a great roster option – I tried to jump against him and I had absolutely no chance of approaching him.

“He’s a brilliant lineup athlete in attack and defense, and he sets the tone defensively with the force with which he comes off the line. He carries the ball a lot more than he did when he started out.

“I just think he’s been a huge player for the Lions and when I heard he was playing No.6 I thought ‘what an obvious choice’ because he’s the most physically dominant player that we have among the four countries. “

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

Lions Notes: Itoje, Lawes, Super Furlong

Choose from player ratings for the British and Irish Lions’ 22-17 comeback win over the Springboks in Cape Town.

McGeechan: Lions tried to force him in the first half

Although they scored a crucial first victory in the test to gain a foothold in the three-game series, there were still several areas the Lions needed to work on ahead of the next game against South Africa in Cape Town.

Sir Ian McGeechan, who coached the team against the Springboks on their 1997 and 2009 tours, felt the tourists were forcing things into the opening 40 minutes, but was impressed with how they came back to what suits them best after the break.

“I think in the first half they forced it, they came into one-on-one contact and lost that contact, and lost all momentum,” said McGeechan.

“In the second half they did very well with their own half structurally, the kicking play was excellent, as was the pursuit of the kicks.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News 4:04
Warren Gatland said the first half between the British and Irish Lions and South Africa was incredibly physical, but was delighted his side improved to win the first test of the series.

Warren Gatland said the first half between the British and Irish Lions and South Africa was incredibly physical, but was delighted his side improved to win the first test of the series.

“Then when they got into the South Africa half, they were playing the phases and that’s where South Africa kept really giving penalties and giving the game away.

“But in the end, I thought they [South Africa] fell their game anyway. I don’t think South Africa had the energy and the physical form to raise their level and match the way the Lions were playing. “

Habana: Boks need to think about how to end matches

Conversely, the Springboks have everything to do as they aim to keep the series alive with victory in the second Test on Saturday, July 31 after leaving a nine-point lead at halftime.

Former South African winger Bryan Habana was frustrated with the way the Rugby World Cup holders strayed in the second half, but praised the Lions for regaining control of the competition.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After First Test Win Against South Africa |  Rugby Union News

Nienaber: TMO is right to exclude Le Roux’s trial

South Africa backed officials’ decision to call off Willie Le Roux’s potentially decisive try in Test’s 22-17 loss to the Lions.

“It was a really disappointing second half from a South African perspective,” said Habana. “Discipline is something the whole team will have to watch out for after the second test match.

“But the Lions are in the ascendant when it comes to tactical kicking play.

“They are playing extremely well, putting the Springboks under pressure, and the Springboks really have to watch how they end games because the turnaround in the first half was really disappointing.”

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