It is perhaps a sign of the times that so little of the pre-match hype for an occasion as august as the opening Test between SA and the British & Irish Lions has focused on the rucks, mauls, scrums, kicks, tackles – the actual building blocks that make ...
It is perhaps a sign of the times that so little of the pre-match hype for an occasion as august as the opening Test between SA and the British & Irish Lions has focused on the rucks, mauls, scrums, kicks, tackles – the actual building blocks that make a game.
Image:Ashley Vlotman/Gallo ImagesIt is perhaps a sign of the times that so little of the pre-match hype for an occasion as august as the opening Test between SA and the British & Irish Lions has focused on the rucks, mauls, scrums, kicks, tackles — the actual building blocks that make a game.
The pandemic and its affect has commanded almost all the attention and even before a ball is kicked it has ensured a Test series like no other.When the Springboks and the Lions emerge from their respective bio-bubbles on Saturday and dispose of the sideshows, they will provide answers to many of the teasing subplots that have emerged in the build-up to this series.
Given the limited time they have spent as a group in recent combat the question that Springboks have had to contend with most is their state of readiness.You got the sense in the pre-match online media conference that assistant coach Mzwandile Stick had been asked this before. “We had three years with these guys. People must make peace with that. headtopics.com
“I think 13 of these players started the World Cup final. Ox Nché is the only starter who was not with us at the World Cup.“If you say we are underdone, jeez, we have been with these guys for three years. It is something people must make peace with, and the fact that we are living in challenging times. Other teams as well,” reminded Stick.
The Springbok who will perhaps be the poster boy for the measure of his battle readiness is captain Siya Kolisi, who completed Covid-19 protocols and complied with fitness tests.He is not the only one to return in the nick of time. “After the guys (who had to isolate) came back into the squad you could feel the vibe and energy. They know what it takes. They are pro enough to know when to switch on,” said Stick.
Kolisi declared himself ready and raring to go and the Springboks as a collective had better be too. They need to hit the deck running.Opening Tests against the Lions tend to determine the series winners. In this matchup, the last time series honours were in the balance as deep as the third Test was in 1968 after the second Test was drawn in Port Elizabeth. When the Boks play the Lions 1-0 tends to translate to 2-0.
It is perhaps for that reason too familiar faces and hands were called on in the Bok ranks. There is no time to ease into the series. Read more: Times LIVE »
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