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British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News


Sky Sports pundits Maggie Alphonsi, Sam Warburton, Sir Ian McGeechan and Bryan Habana pick key points as Springboks come back in force to level the series against British and Irish Lions

Last update: 07/31/21 11:36 PM

Alun Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje appear disheartened after losing second test to South Africa

South Africa delivered the promised retaliation and flatly beat the British and Irish Lions 27-9 on Saturday to send their loaded streak to a third test decision maker next weekend.

The Lions, who edged out the first test and arrived in the second with momentum, had a chance to win their first series in the republic in 24 years, but surprisingly lost control after halftime.

Bryan Habana on Springbok Dominance

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News 5:14
Highlights of the second test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town

Highlights of the second test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town

The Lions’ fitness saw them finish stronger on tour, which concerned former Springboks winger Bryan Habana who would have liked the Boks to take the lead until the break, but they scored two stylish tries and their confidence soared in the second half.

“I was worried going into the hangars at half time with the Lions in the lead because we just haven’t won the second half in the last two weeks,” Habana said.

“But we saw the calm and clarity in the decision-making and saw them seize opportunities they weren’t rushing into last week.

“They also marked their authority on the game – their line-up mauls have become exceptional. They will take a lot of confidence from this performance in the second half.”

McGeechan on who has the advantage before the third test

The series will be decided next week and Sir Ian McGeechan believes South Africa has a slight advantage ahead of this decision maker.

“I think the momentum is slightly in favor of South Africa.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News

South Africa won the air battle in the second test

“I think Warren Gatland will take a close look at which team he forms next week. I think there will be changes. The set piece fell in the second half – I think Lood de Jager’s arrival gave South Africa an additional advantage in the roster and with weight in the scrum.

“South Africa was also more precise in the air battle – yes they got the bounce of the ball, the Lions got it in the first test – but they had control of all the key areas.”

“The air battle and then the set piece.

“What stands out is the air battle today – there must have been what, eight, 10 turnovers? Turnover is exactly what SA wants.”

O’Gara on Lions game plan

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News 3:51
Warren Gatland felt South Africa played with a lot of emotion as they beat the Lions 27-9 in the second test, setting up a third litmus test for the series that Gatland is excited about.

Warren Gatland felt South Africa played with a lot of emotion as they beat the Lions 27-9 in the second test, setting up a third litmus test for the series that Gatland is excited about.

Ronan O’Gara disagrees that the Boks have only a slight advantage and worries about the Lions’ style of play.

“For me it’s a big, big loss. I don’t agree with Ian because I think it’s a major advantage for South Africa,” said O’Gara.

“I say this because they have an established game plan. The Lions have to pick the last three that are good in the air – South Africa’s plan A is kick, kick, kick .

“They dominated the air and unless the Lions fix that it will be the same result in the third test. South Africa got their confidence and flow. They have a good scrum, a great maul and a really good kicking game.

“It won’t change.

“Where I’m scratching my head a bit is that the Lions don’t have an established style of play and it’s hard for me to see what style we’ll have to beat the world champions at home.”

Alphonsi on the changes for the third test

Lions coach Warren Gatland has hinted at changes for the litmus test and Maggie Alphonsi is leading the rule on who she thinks should be on the squad.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News

Maggie Alphonsi wants Liam Williams in the back

“I would definitely make changes. The perception is that Gatland will. The changes I would make is that I would take out Stuart Hogg and Liam Williams would start at the back. I think Hogg was targeted in this test and didn’t. not handled the ball well in the air.

“I would also change Courtney Lawes at No.6. He had a huge impact in the first half but didn’t really show it in the second. I think someone like Tadhg Beirne would offer something more.

“The problem is, these guys haven’t played a lot of rugby so will they be slightly undercooked as the third test approaches?”

O’Gara on bringing experience

O’Gara believes Gatland needs to look to his experienced operators if the Lions are to have any chance of winning the series. Like Alphonsi, he would go for Williams at the back in a real reshuffle from the baseline.

“People ask what experience is, experience is when you get the same situation and do it better next time. So for me you have to go with proven competitors.

“I took out the hedge trimmers completely and went for the baseline! I would watch Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw. I thought South Africa had a lot of space around the canal 13.

British and Irish Lions: What Experts Said After South Africa Wins Second Test |  Rugby Union News

Aside from being a tryout scoring machine, Josh Adams is also excellent under the high ball.

“I’ve had lots of people tell me that Josh Adams is great in the air, I think Liam Williams is world class in the air and Anthony Watson looks deadly every time he gets the ball.

Warburton on a big week for the Lions

Sam Warburton knows all about a Lions Series decider who led the Lions to glory in the third and final Test against Australia in 2013 and four years later in a draw against New Zealand.

“It’s going to be a huge week. What’s interesting is that the Lions are a team that always gets better as they play with each other. On this occasion, which is unusual, South Africa is improving.

“They were much better than they were in the first test.

“We are already looking at what changes the Lions can make to counter this Springbok aerial game. There will be plenty of debate this week, but the Lions still have a chance to secure a historic victory in South Africa.”

Watch the British and Irish Lions’ series decisive match against South Africa exclusively live on Sky Sports; Fans who don’t have Sky will be able to catch all of the action through the NOW TV streaming service, which offers daily and monthly passes.

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