Sport Gatland wants bolder, faster Lions in Springboks series decider
Rugby pundit sacked for 'Oompa Loompa' comment about Lions star Smith
Former Ireland international Neil Francis was sacked from his role as a newspaper rugby pundit on Friday after making an apparently racist remark about British and Irish Lions fly-half Marcus Smith who he described as having an "Oompa Loompa tan". Discussing the prospects of Harlequins stand-off Smith, who is of mixed British and Filipino heritage, playing in the upcoming Test series against South Africa, Francis told the Irish Independent'sDiscussing the prospects of Harlequins stand-off Smith, who is of mixed British and Filipino heritage, playing in the upcoming Test series against South Africa, Francis told the Irish Independent's 'The Left Wing' podcast: "A Harlequins out-half with a David Beckham haircut a
Head coach Warren Gatland is hoping for a bolder, faster showing from his British and Irish Lions on Saturday when they face world champions South Africa in the series-deciding third Test in Cape Town (1600 GMT).
"Let us hope we don't have that niggly stuff that spoilt the second Test," he said, referring to a stoppage-saturated match won 27-9 by the Springboks last weekend.
"I want to see a high-tempo game of attractive rugby," he said in a TV interview less than an hour before the kick-off.
Open thread: Which Lions player could be a surprise cut?
Could we see some big names miss the team?With so many changes to the team, nearly every position has competition, whether for the starting role or for a depth spot. We will likely see some surprises make the roster and some surprises miss the roster. In 2020, the Lions decided to cut fifth round pick Jason Huntley, a shock to many. Linebacker Elijah Lee made the initial roster despite the minimal fanfare during camp. The Lions new coaching staff also means there’s no loyalty towards players from the previous regime.
Gatland said the losses of scrum-half Faf de Klerk and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, who were injured in the second match, will be blows to South Africa.
"Faf and Pieter-Steph are significant players, but the Springboks do have incredible strength in depth," said the New Zealand-born coach.
South Africa have won eight of the previous 13 series in a 130-year rivalry, the Lions four and the one in 1955 was drawn.
South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Jasper Wiese, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (capt); Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse
Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)
British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Jack Conan, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Maro Itoje; Tadhg Furlong, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly
Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (FRA)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (AUS), Ben O'Keeffe (NZL)
TV match official: Marius Jonker (RSA)
Springboks set to replace All Blacks as Rugby Championship leaders .
Siya Kolisi-led world champions South Africa are poised to replace New Zealand as Rugby Championship leaders on Saturday by defeating Argentina for a second time in eight days. "While we were pleased with the victory and starting our Rugby Championship campaign on a winning note, there is a lot of room for improvement," admits South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber. "We have identified a few areas we need to work on if we want to defend our title successfully, and we worked on those aspects of our game at training this week."Argentina will come hard at us, so we know we need to perform much better than last weekend to get the desired result.