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  • The 'Bomb Squad' had an impact this week, Loed made a tremendous difference. If PSDT is out then I won't be surprised if they continue with Mostert at flank. Sadly I don't think Duane is going to be fit, although if he was that would probably clinch the series.

    I reckon Kolbe, Itoje and Hogg could all have a trip to the citing commissioner this week.

    I think the series hinges on whether Gatland is brave enough to let the Lions play some rugby. I've never understood the NH obsession that you have to match the SA physicality to beat them, that method fails far more often than it succeeds. Having watched pretty much every SA test in the last 20 years they hate playing against high tempo fast and loose teams. Australia have often caused them issues and NZ have ripped them to shreds on occasion. A Lions team with Smith, Simmonds et al would be far more dangerous for the Boks.

    Re Rassie, the video was definitely a bit far but it did exactly what he wanted, took focus off the team, gave them a siege mentality and a sense of injustice. People also still fail to appreciate he's not the actual head coach anymore. Jacques comes across very shy and quiet and I imagine hates doing the press. Rassie took the pressure off him and allowed him an uninterrupted week on the training pitch. All the refs I've heard comment on the video say that they're common place the only new thing is that it was made public. Is that such a bad thing?

  • the only new thing is that it was made public. Is that such a bad thing?

    Having something like that public, rather than going through the proper channels, heaps on the pressure far more and he knew the media furore he’d spark with it (as well as the unwavering support he’d get from SA media, which would be hard for the officials to avoid). So yes. Plus this one was very personal. It’s overt intimidation.

    I feel sorry for the Lions water boy who now has to do his in French also...

  • So SA got fit then. They have got to be favourites for the final test.

    Some dodgy decisions again but I don't think they really affected the outcome.

    Good shithousery from the locks, always nice to see. There is a part of me that wants to see them throwing punches. Maybe world rugby should allow locks to punch other locks....

  • British and Irish Lions: Williams; Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, A Wyn Jones (c), Lawes, Curry, Conan

    Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beard, Simmonds, Murray, Russell, Daly

  • Thats a lot of changes.
    Glad that Adams is being given a shot, but only makes a difference if the ball actually gets to him...
    Hogg hasn't really been at his best, so makes sense to give Williams a shot
    Farrell not even on the bench, makes sense to me
    Harsh on LCD to be dropped, didn't think Owens was great when he came on
    Interesting to see Simmonds and Russell on the bench, could see a slightly more expansive game plan in the second half if we go behind.

  • Sinckler free to play

    Harsh on LCD to be dropped, didn't think Owens was great when he came on

    Definitely. He was also one of few carriers to make a yard or two.

    Interesting to see Simmonds and Russell on the bench, could see a slightly more expansive game plan in the second half if we go behind.

    I agree and contrary to popular opinion (and my own not-entirely serious moaning about it) - I think this was always in the locker, if they felt they needed it. But after plan A scraped home in the first Test, I think they must have thought it would do for the second.

  • LCD much more suited as an impact player though so can see the reasoning there.

    Russell and Simmonds inclusions are long overdue, as I've always maintained they're the kind of players SA don't like to play.

    From the SA perspective the bench feels a little light, there's an awful lot of faith in Mostert's ability to cover flank and then shift to second row when Loed tires. There's no second row or lineout options on the bench so much like last week when PSDT got injured it could leave the Boks short on options if they get an early injury.

    The inclusion of Morne on the bench also hints they feel they'll be leading and needing to close a game out rather than having to chase a game.

  • awful lot of faith in Mostert's ability to cover flank

    After last weekend, I can see why. He was an absolute nuisance.

    Morne on the bench

    Heard this hinted at last week and thought we'd see him on Saturday gone. He could be the difference for the reasons you say.

    LCD much more suited as an impact player

    I can get with this.

    Lions need to keep the tempo up. With the bench selection, that’s a must. Russell has been picked to take the ball to the line when the ZA defensive line speed has dropped and the legs are heavier. But we’ll see.

  • This is a really interesting piece of analysis, shows that the complexity and nuance of rugby is very easily missed when watching with terrible TV producers who seem unable to provide useful replays, with a load of mates and after excessive drinking...🥴­-van-der-merwe-keeps-getting-picked-for-­the-lions/

    I do think this whole 'play a wide/fast game, it's what SA struggle with' position is understandable but would be so high risk, coaching a modern, nuanced running game is much harder than coaching and aggressive defence and kick chase. For a scratch team to put that together in a cohesive way may be impossible - and certainly opens up the risk of a battering if a few pieces of your attack misfire. After keeping it tight and winning the first test the instinct to go again with the same strategy must have been impossible to ignore. It's also hard not to feel that Townsend and Gatland must have been having some very strong selection conversations as they're very different coaches. A real shame Finn wasn't fit and flying from the start of the tests, would have loved to have seen whether he was genuinely in WG's plans at all...

  • Is nobody showing Bledisloe this weekend? Ridiculous.

    Read about Aussie scrum talking about domination the other day. How the world has changed...

  • Congratulations South Africa. A cigarette paper between the sides. Not the best rugby ever played (and on occasion very little at all), but very tense. Sadly some pretty sour off-field rubbish may overshadow the actual sport. And I feel certain there’s a significant fallout to come afterwards.

  • It's a huge failure for Gatland's coaching. There's never been a tour so stacked in the Lions favour and he picked the most turgid side he could and tried to beat the Boks at their own game. The injury to Biggar massively helped them today as they were a lot better with Fin playing.

    Hopefully it's the last tour Gatland's in charge of and at least I've got 12 years to enjoy the result. A definite poetry to Morne closing things out again. It wasn't a great advert for the game but it was tense and went down to the wire so provided drama. I'm looking forward to the Rugby Championship and the Boks showing they can play a bit.

    The Lions definitely could have won the series though with a better coach and a bolder game plan.

  • A definite poetry to Morne closing things out again

    It was deja vu all over again...

  • (And a prop named Jones being taken out by a cheap shot)

  • Great to see Australia put one over South Africa and Quade Cooper back on the big stage.

  • As mentioned pre Lions, SA don't match up well against Aus. The Lions should have tried to play that style of game rather than the structured defence Gatland plays.

  • Why cant pollard kick... Ffs... 1 job.

  • Good to see Tigers back on form, last season they would have lost tonight but it's clear Borthwick and Sinfield are having a massive influence. George Ford being out of the England squad is going to be massive for them as he's started the season brilliantly in front of a pack that really is really starting to look formidable (bar his kicking from the tee, strangely). I said a while ago that Freddie Steward will play for England, but I reckon George Martin is a future captain in the making and with Van Staden and Wiese to come in they are looking strong.

  • SA NZ was a good game. NZ played like shit, giving SA a chance. To bad SA didn't capitalise. Well done NZ. Faff really needs to stop kicking straight into the air.

  • Good to see Tigers back on form

    Agree with the rest. But having Tigers fans crowing at me in Nottingham for a couple of decades, including my formative years, has led me not to be able to cheer on that particular club.

  • Bris poor again. No serious preseason games is coming back to bite them. Wrong call there, Pat.

    Worryingly, they just gave up at the end. Not good enough. Going to be a tough old season. They look the worst of the bunch at the moment.

    Missing Siale. Big mistake there.

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