Sport Lions v South Africa second Test exact scoreline predicted - our expert writers say what will happen amid fears of a backlash
Owen Farrell just handed the Lions 10 jersey to Dan Biggar, I was surprised someone of his experience floundered under pressure
Former Wales captain Gwyn Jones assesses where the Lions stand as the countdown begins towards the first Test with South AfricaThey looked stunned and overwhelmed by the ferocity of the Springboks and in that period, they yielded an advantage that they never regained.
There has been plenty of pre-match talk again, but once more the time is coming for the South Africa and Lions players to walk the walk as the second Test gets underway in Cape Town on Saturday.
The world champion Springboks were marginal favourites to win last time out, but Warren Gatland's side turned those odds on their head with victory in the first game.
This time the Lions are slight favourites to gain what would be an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three Test showdown.
What will actually happen? Can the Lions triumph again, or will the Springboks gain revenge, level things up at 1-1 and set up a win or bust final Test decider?
Lions v South Africa UK kick-off time, TV channel, live stream info and team news
The British and Irish Lions face world champions Springboks in the first Test on Saturday, July 24 in Cape Town: here's the kick-off time, how to watch on TV, confirmed line-ups and referee detailsWarren Gatland has sprung a few surprises for the opening fixture on Saturday in Cape Town.
Our rugby experts give their predictions for the outcome of the big match.
Matthew Southcombe - A Boklash is coming
The Lions did extremely well to right the ship last Saturday and get off to a winning start after a shocking first 40 minutes.
Neither side was perfect in the Cape Town curtain-raiser but I do believe that there is marginally more growth in the Springboks, which is why I think they'll go on to level the series.
They won't get fitter but I think there will be a lot more cohesion in their performance and they should be more disciplined.
South Africa is an incredibly proud rugby nation and they'll be hurting after last week's performance, particularly props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe. They were talked up as the best props in the squad last week, who were being sent on to finish off the Lions from the bench.
Fraser Brown: Lions tours are not just about winning, but showcasing the best of British and Irish rugby - that’s why this is an exciting team selection
I think it would be fair to say that not many would have correctly predicted the starting XV for this weekend’s first Test in Cape Town. The worry was that Warren Gatland would revert to players who had served him well on previous tours, and a game plan that looked to cancel out the Springboks’ low risk, territory-focused style of play. Not this selection. © Cheslin Kolbe produced a moment of brilliance to create South Africa A's second try against Lions. P... Lions tours are not just about winning, but about showcasing the best of British and Irish rugby. A turgid kicking battle is just not in their DNA.
But they misfired badly and the Lions grew stronger. I'd expect those two to have a big game and if the Lions can't handle them this week and the set piece goes South Africa's way, then the tourists are in trouble.
I'm expecting a Boklash simply because I think they'll tighten up their discipline and get on top in the scrum.
South Africa 26 - 16 Lions
Ben James - Gatland has the Boks' number
It might seem a bit premature to say Warren Gatland has South Africa's number, but the truth is he does to some extent.
Having beaten them fives times in four years between 2014 and 2018, he nearly saw off the eventual world champions in the 2019 World Cup semi-final with Wales, despite his side once again limping to that point of the tournament with numerous injuries.
And then, of course, he also helped the Lions shake off a bad start to beat the Boks in Cape Town last weekend.
Video: Agar praises Dwyer's impact (Sky Sports)
Lions Tour 2021: How Ali Price overcame nerves to win the biggest game of his career
Ali Price is fast emerging as one of the breakout stars of this Lions tour but the Scotland scrum-half admits he had to battle a bout of nerves ahead of his Test debut on Saturday. © South Africa's scrum-half Faf de Klerk watches as Lions opposite number Ali Price clears the ball. The Glasgow Warriors man, who described it as the “biggest game of my career”, delivered a controlled performance against South Africa, keeping a steady head during a difficult first period for the tourists. He then helped spark the second-half revival before making way for Conor Murray after 63 minutes.
The game plan to beat South Africa isn't pretty, but then Gatland has never been too worried about aesthetics.
For all the talk about how much more South Africa can improve, so too can the Lions. There's growth in each side and the tourists will be banking on the hosts throwing everything at them - hence the changes to the XV.
Survive that onslaught, get the aerial game right and starve the Springboks of what they desire - lineouts, stoppages, dominant defensive sets and, above all, control.
Do that, which the Lions did to great effect in that second-half in Cape Town, and a Test series win is there for the taking.
South Africa 16-22 Lions
Simon Thomas - Springboks' dangerous backs to seize day
It’s hard to know just how the extraordinary build-up to this second Test will affect the two sides, but we do know what to expect from the Lions, as Warren Gatland has told us.
The plan is to stay in the arm wrestle and keep it tight through astute game management and a pretty direct approach. Then it will be a case of more of the same from the second -half last week in terms of winning the aerial battle and the collisions and maintaining discipline.
The Lions team Warren Gatland is likely to pick for final Test as he shakes things up with six key changes
British and Irish Lions boss Gatland has plenty to mull over after South Africa squared the series with a 27-9 victory in Cape Town"What I do know is that Gats will make changes," the skipper said following the 27-9 setback in Cape Town.
So no frills, but if it works, who is complaining?
In contrast, the Springboks have to go for it and have the scope to do so with their dangerous outside backs, while the selection of a more traditional big, ball-carrying No 8 in Jasper Wiese should help provide more of a platform for the likes of Kolbe and De Allende.
So I’m just edging towards a home victory. I hope I am as wrong as I was last week!
South Africa 23-19 Lions
Who do you think will win? Have your say in our comments section below
Mark Orders - Lions to pay for not picking more Welsh players
As Oscar Wilde almost said, to lose one rugby Test playing badly would be unfortunate; to follow it up with another shocker would be careless.
Expect a hugely physical South Africa on Saturday.
They are always immensely powerful, of course, but with the series against the Lions at stake they are going to turn the dial on that front far to the right.
Pretty rugby shouldn’t be expected, but then this game is all about winning. The record books are not going to record who played more attractively. They are going to concern themselves with who won and lost.
Have the Lions picked the right XV? Debatable. There is an argument that the Welsh trio of Liam Williams, Josh Adams and Ken Owens should all be in Gatland’s first XV — Williams for his aerial skills and toughness, Adams because he’s a complete wing and Owens for his physicality.
Rugby morning headlines as Lions legend hits out at tour mistake 'that can't happen again' and Woodward blasts World Rugby
The loss of a midweek match between the first and second Test means that a handful of players have not seen any rugby in three weeksLions legend Brian O'Driscoll has called on organisers to bring back the midweek games between the first and second Test matches on future tours.
There is a case for arguing the vastly experienced Taulupe Faletau should be at No. 8, as well, as Gatland’s team look to close out the series.
South Africa, by contrast, look stronger, with a more orthodox No. 8 in Jasper Wiese than a week ago and their best two props, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe back in the starting team.
With their top scrummaging front row restored, the Boks are going to go after the Lions at the set-piece. How the tourists respond will be vital to the match outcome.
The kicking game will be key, too. Warren Gatland will hope Conor Murray, Dan Biggar and Stuart Hogg can pressure their hosts as they did in the second half last weekend.
There won’t be a lot in it, and discipline and conceding the fewest penalties will be major priorities, but fear of losing the series may just see the Boks over the line.
South Africa 25-19 Lions
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Lions Tour 2021: Finn Russell attacking intent shows the Lions what they could have had .
He was on the pitch for 70 minutes on Saturday and Finn Russell injected more creativity into the Lions play than had been shown in the previous two Tests combined. © Finn Russell and Ali Price take a moment to reflect on the Lions' narrow defeat by the Springboks in... From the moment he stepped off the bench to replace the injured Dan Biggar, the Scotland stand-off played with an attacking intent that had hitherto been missing from the series.