NWR 2021 Lions

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UK
I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but Price

The build up and the talking about it is almost better than actually watching the match!
 
The Boks have gone with their stronger front row on the bench. Gats - stick or twist? Must have Wyn Jones on the bench to counter Frans Malherbe I think. LCD v Malcolm Marx? Tasty!

It might mean that they start Mako as well.
 
I personally would pick the strongest, hardest front five to soak up the intensity.As the game moves forward introduce the skill and pace
I can’t help feeling the back row and half backs wins the game.I can’t pick the half backs.
the best back three on tour easily has been Beirne,curry and Watson.
it is a great SA team and despite a great effort I think the lions will come up short in the first two tests.
 
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I agree with your point on the front row Ian. You can't start with half measures as the visiting team.

For the rest I think Gatland knows what he's doing. By the way Peter, if the Boks have gone with the stronger front row in the reserve, perhaps it's an acknowledgment that the Boks are less able to last 80 minutes
 
So,
The starting 15 are picked. It’s a very physical side.
im happy with bigger and price At half back
credit to WG he’s gone hard and physical with lawes at 6
I think Sutherland,beirne,watson coming off the bench can add to the intensity.
I just hope AWJ shoulder goes well, if not lawes moves up and beirne comes in at 6
 
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It looks a very strong side. But personally I wouldn't have picked AWJ. The Springboks will relentlessly target his shoulder

Not many people are talking about Lawes. This must be the pinnacle of his long career - great credit to him
 
Team for reference:

Lions team to face South Africa: Hogg; A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe; Biggar, Price; W Jones, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan.

Replacements: Owens, Sutherland, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.


I am surprised Lawes gets the start, as much as I am a fan, just didn't see it coming. No LRZ or Faletau near the squad? I think Price was probably the right call. I've never had much confidence in Murray - when he's on, he's on, but when he's not, it's a miserable day out.

The 5-3 split on the bench gives an idea of what they expect to happen in this game....
 
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It's going to be fascinating. Gatland is obviously determined that the Springboks are not going to do to the Lions what they did to England, that'll be why Mako doesn't feature. Conan is an interesting pick, too. It seems that Gatland has an idea that a mobile number eight can be effective against SA - presumably why he also brought Simmonds along. So this has for a long time been his plan and he's just picking players in form to execute it
 
I'd say lawes is on the the full 80 as well. AWJ will be replaced with Bierne who would be a far better replacement in the back row. That makes for an exciting last 20 with the saffas hopefully gasping for air.

I agree with Murray. He only seems to spark with one person outside him. Also Price fully deserves his place. It was a head scratcher making Murray captain whilst AWJ was injured with Hogg there.

The only poser imho is Daly at outside centre.
 
while I think there are some unlucky not to play - and to be honest I don't know a lot of Conan - but the picking of Lawes presumably is to increase pressure on the Boks lineout and secondly I guess while others might be better on the floor trying to win turnover ball, with Itoje able to add a bit of that then having someone able to not just chop opposition down relentlessly but knock them backwards in defence must be part of the thinking I suspect.

With VdM on the wing it's nice that Gatland didnt just go with Henshaw, Aki and him - but still has someone with some size to run hard at pace at the defence while Daly gives him an extra boot and covering pace where line breaks happen.

He does also seem to like to show England coaches who he thinks ought to be playing for them rather than the current incumbent - which I quite like.. George over Hartley, Ben T'eo, Sinckler,
Smith over Ford, Cowan-Dickie over George, Simmonds, Smith over Ford.... I like that because quite often its let to a positive change where it seems to me that Jones can be blinkered in loyalty to some players.
 
All fair points Tim but the one I cannot agree on is Hartley - Jones developing him was a master stroke. He captained the England team into one that wins, and is by far their biggest loss of the last 5, maybe even 10 years. Beyond that, Hartley was a more skilled individual than George will ever be, sadly cramped by anger issues meaning he did not reach the heights of Lions test glory primarily through bans - he missed his moment, and if the word on the street is true, he was unjustly punished as a consequence of his reputation. I will never forget watching him pitch side on his Saints debut, coming on to replace Steve Thompson, elbowing my Dad and uttering “this guy looks pretty bloody good” after his first line out throw. I concede - I am an unabashed fan of what he brought to the game, and accept his lows in exchange for his unparalleled highs within that generation of player.

Anyway - Lions today did the job. Lawes played maybe the test of his life, showing the saffers how to play true aggressive flanking rugby. A class act and I’m so glad he delivered. Overall I think Gatters will be pretty pleased, the second half domination felt very controlled and deliberate. It broke down the springbok plan almost perfectly. Will they be able to repeat it is the bigger question.

I thought there was a standout poor performance in Daly. He is not a crash ball player and from thirteen, I just cannot understand why he kept going for it. Lots of good momentum lost through that channel and were there a more dynamic runner I think the Lions would have closed that out a lot earlier. Never mind. I think Sean your point was made today - he can be so bang average at critical moments. Very frustrating.

On to the next one - not sure they’ll be so indisciplined this time!
 
How nice it is to be wrong.
I never thought the SA would fall short but tactically they did.Why they chose to kick instead of running at the lions midfield?
well done WG
a few key observations
Lawes,price,Cowan-Dickie were all outstanding.Price kicking was excellent.
priceless moment when the SA coach brought his strongest “full front row” on and they were turned and destroyed …..Oh dear …..what to do now ….
The strength of the lions bench was very noticeable.
I think WG will strengthen the midfield for the next test.
 
How nice it is to be wrong.
I never thought the SA would fall short but tactically they did.Why they chose to kick instead of running at the lions midfield?
well done WG
a few key observations
Lawes,price,Cowan-Dickie were all outstanding.Price kicking was excellent.
priceless moment when the SA coach brought his strongest “full front row” on and they were turned and destroyed …..Oh dear …..what to do now ….
The strength of the lions bench was very noticeable.
I think WG will strengthen the midfield for the next test.
Talking if being wrong, I was about Lawes, who as Julian said had the test match of his life (for most but not quite the whole game). Itoje shut the Boks up with his towering performance !
Number 8, possibly the half backs and midfield might need change too, Daly leaving his many fans uncomfortable. I agree he was misused. Hogg zippy but a bit iffy as usual in defence.
Still what a thrilling second half performance !! Even against a tiring SA to win the first test with so many untested combos was a real achievement. Their defence is quite magnificent !
 
Is anyone else worried about the play acting going on? Whilst there is a great need to consider player safety in rugby, it increasingly feels like players are looking to milk penalties for the slightest of things.

Biggar is an embarrassment in this regard. The theatrics are nauseating, even from a number 10.
 
What a frustrating game. The tactic from the start was clear, but a game that involves kicking for territory doesn't work if you knock it on everytime you contest it. I'd love to see the statistics on how many high balls we actually caught, both offensively and defensively. Butter fingers all around.

A part of me wants to be grumpy for the disallowed Robbie Henshaw try *and* the reluctance to look at the no-arms tackle off scrum from De Klerk, but I suspect RSA fans would fairly point at similar issues from the 1st test.

In truth, RSA have grown into this game and deserve the win. The Lions will have to bring something different to the 3rd test. Trying to beat a South African team at an arm-wrestle, once they're up to match condition, is a very bad idea.
 
Awful. Never caught a ball pretty much, I’m sorry but drop the Scots from the back line. VDM and Hogg stood out as hopeless.
the back line was less than inspiring but despite that at half time the game was there to be taken. SA took it and utterly dominated.
 
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