Sport Gatland in familiar place before Lions series decider

05:08  06 august  2021
05:08  06 august  2021 Source:   afp.com

Lions' criticism of TMO 'blatant intimidation' - former Test ref

  Lions' criticism of TMO 'blatant intimidation' - former Test ref A former South African Test referee told AFP on Friday that British and Irish Lions' criticism of local Marius Jonker being the TV match official for the first Test against South Africa is "blatant intimidation". South African Jonker stepped into the role after original choice Brendon Pickerill from New Zealand was unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. English newspapers reported that Lions head coach Warren Gatland was furious that Jonker had been chosen, believing a neutral should be used for the clash with world champions South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.

Warren Gatland is in familiar territory as he prepares the British and Irish Lions for the third Test against Rugby World Cup winners South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.

a group of people playing football on a field: British and Irish Lions prop Tadhg Furlong (C) runs with the ball during the second rugby against South Africa in Cape Town last weekend © RODGER BOSCH British and Irish Lions prop Tadhg Furlong (C) runs with the ball during the second rugby against South Africa in Cape Town last weekend

It is Gatland's third tour as Lions' head coach -- and the third time the final match will be the series decider.

A repeat of the try-scoring romp that was the Lions' 41-16 victory over Australia in Sydney in 2013 is unlikely.

More probable is the sort of hard-fought battle that ended with the Lions and New Zealand locked at 15-15 in Auckland four years later.

Springboks aim to defy history after first Test defeat

  Springboks aim to defy history after first Test defeat The Springboks will be seeking to defy history after losing the first Test against the British and Irish Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. Gatland said the Lions could possibly make changes ahead of the second Test at the same venue on Saturday. "We may look at some different combinations," he said.South African pundits pointed to the small margins that decided the game.Former captain Jean de Villiers pointed out that the Springboks had crossed the Lions line three times, with only one try being awarded. "But we didn’t apply pressure with the mauls," he said. "They deserved the win.

With six changes in his starting team after the Lions lost the second Test, Gatland is seeking a repeat of the drastic surgery that succeeded in Sydney.

Key, though, will be whether the Lions find space to launch attacks.

Defences and tactical kicking dominated the first two Tests.

The Springbok defence was brutally effective in the second, which the hosts won 27-9.

According to the Opta sports analytics company, the Lions' total of 105 running metres –- an average of 1,24 a carry –- was the lowest by a tier-one rugby team since the company started measuring this statistic in 2010.

"That's where the game is at the moment," Gatland said. "It is about territory and kicking and putting kick pressure on, not playing too much rugby."

Gatland said the Lions wanted to play more expansively but admitted, "There's not a hell of a lot of space for both teams".

David Blough, Lions rooting on Melissa Gonzalez will warm your heart

  David Blough, Lions rooting on Melissa Gonzalez will warm your heart David Blough and theDetroit Lions threw a watch party to see his wife Melissa Gonzalez qualify for thewomen's 400m hurdle semifinals on Friday. While Melissa Gonzalez competes in the 2020 Tokyo Games for Colombia, her husband David Blough and his Detroit Lions teammates are rooting her on ba ck in the United States during their training camp. Gonzalez and Blough are high school sweethearts from Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas. Blough went on to play quarterback for the Purdue Boilermakers in the Big Ten, while Gonzalez stayed in-state to run track for the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12.

- Injuries hit Springboks -

A challenge for the Springboks will be to repeat the intensity of last weekend.

They have been hit by injuries to two key players, flanker and 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit and scrum-half Faf de Klerk.

They have also had to play the entire series without Duane Vermeulen, their hugely influential No. 8, who was man of the match in the 2019 World Cup final.

The injuries have caused the Springboks to rethink their strategy of bringing on a so-called "bomb squad" of tight forwards to inject power and energy in the second half.

With Franco Mostert switched from lock to flanker to replace Du Toit, Lood de Jager will start at second-row after being highly effective off the bench last week.

The Springboks have changed from a 6-2 forwards-backs replacements split to 5-3, with an entire front row and two loose forwards joining three backs.

De Klerk's tactical kicking will be missed.

The Springboks' solution to what must have been a selection headache was bringing in Cobus Reinach to partner Montpellier teammate Handre Pollard instead of promoting Herschel Jantjies from the bench.

As in the two previous Lions deciders, a French referee will be in charge, with Mathieu Raynal succeeding Romain Poite, who had the whistle in Sydney and Auckland.

Both sides have ramped up pressure on the officials.

South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is in trouble over his video which criticised first Test decisions while Gatland blamed the Springboks for slowing down play in the second.


Lion That Killed and Ate Three Children From Same Family to Be Relocated .
Tanzania relocated 36 Serengeti lions in 2020 after incidents involving the big cats with humans and cattle the previous year.The lion, part of the Kope Lion project at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area—a protected wildlife site home to lions, wildebeests and zebras—killed the three children and injured another on Tuesday night, according to local newspaper The Citizen.

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