Live Streaming of Lions vs South Africa Third Test on Sky Sports in UK & Ireland with Rugby VPN
After the jubilation that followed their victory in the first test, the Lions felt the crushing pain of defeat in last weekend’s second test as they suffered a 27-9 defeat to the Springboks. It’s time for the Lions vs South Africa 3rd Test.
🏉 British & Irish Lions vs South Africa (3rd Test)
Saturday 7 August 2021
1700 UK Kick-Off
Sky Sports Live Streaming
It won’t so much have been the defeat itself that stung, more the manner in which it was suffered. The Lions were outfought, particularly in the second half. At times it seemed like men against boys as the Springboks pack had it’s way with the Lions who had gone into the half time interval holding a 9-6 lead. Failing to score a single point in the second half, the Lions felt the full force of the mighty Boks as the reigning World Champions were able to enforce their will on the game, dominating the breakdown and mauling the tourists in the set pieces.
The first half had been a close affair, with the Lions able to disrupt the Boks line-out and hold their own in the scrum with Tadhg Furlong as their anchor. Conor Murray was able to get the ball out early and the Lions were able to methodically get through their phases, eating up the clock and forcing the Springboks into mistakes. With Dan Biggar kicking well, they took advantage of the hosts discrepancies to tack on three points at a time whenever a South African hand or foot found itself somewhere referee Ben O’Keeffe deemed unlawful.
Both sides spent 10 minutes playing with 14 players as first Duhan van der Merwe, the South African born winger who’s become a Scot, was sin-binned for a flagrant trip on Cheslin Kolbe. The Lions did not have to worry about being overwhelmed while playing a man down for long though, as just two minutes later Kolbe himself was awarded 10 minutes on the sideline for taking out Conor Murray while the Irishman was in the air. The pace of the first half made the game a difficult watch but was perfect for the Lions who went about their business in near perfect fashion.
There was nothing perfect, near or otherwise, about the second half from a Lions point of view though. With Faf de Klerk orchestrating behind that powerful pack, the Springboks began to find holes in the Lions defense and were quickly in the lead as Makazole Mapimpi scored the games first try just four minutes into the second half. Lukhanyo Am would add a second 15 minutes later as the Springboks ran away from the Lions. The visitors might have felt a little bit hard done by to have Rob Henshaw’s try overturned for lack of control, but despite the game being in the balance at the time there was no point in that second half when the Lions felt like they might win the game.
With the teams tied one victory apiece, it’s all down to the third test this weekend in Cape Town. Once against the Cape Town Stadium, previously known as Soccer City, will play host to the game and while it is a magnificent stadium it must once again be pointed out that Cape Town is home to the historic Newlands Stadium. An actual Rugby stadium, designed and built specifically for the game of Rugby with a pitch that is also designed for Rugby, rather than for Football. There’s no question that the pitch has caused problems in the last two test matches because of the type of grass on which football is played, and the way the pitch is laid. With no fans in the stands, the extra capacity that Cape Town Stadium offers makes no difference and these game would just feel a bit more authentic at Newlands.
That aside, the two tests have been enjoyable and they lead to this weekends showdown. All or Nothing. For the Lions, a win would cement this group of players as Lions legends, and mean that Head Coach Warren Gatland would go undefeated across his three tours at the helm having defeated Australia 2-1 in 2013, before the drawn series with New Zealand in 2025. Gatland seems unlikely to return as coach when the Lions head back down under in 2025 so victory here would mean a joyful farewell for the Ireland and Wales coach.
Ahead of this game, there’s been some bad news for South Africa as Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit have been ruled out with injuries. Both are huge parts of the Springboks team but they did recover well after losing du Toit early in the second test. The Springboks have actually made two changes to solve one issue, introducing monstrous lock Lood de Jager into the second row, and dropping Franco Mostert back to the backrow to replace the 2019 World Player of the Year. With de Jager leaving a vacant spot on the bench, the ageless fly-half Morne Steyn has been given the opportunity of a farewell appearance before he retires from international Rugby.
The injury to de Klerk might be harder to overcome, such is his importance to their tactical set-up. Cobus Reinach steps in at scrum-half, and while he is a vastly experienced player he does only hold 15 caps for the Springboks and won’t have the sort of instinctive understand with the pack, or fly-half Handre Pollard that de Klerk enjoys. It’s an unexpected move, considering Reinach hadn’t made the bench for the two previous tests, and Herschel Jantjies has played a bigger part in the teams recent success.
The Lions have made more drastic changes, with no fewer than six new starters coming into the mix. In the backline Liam Williams comes in at fullback to replace Stuart Hogg, fellow Welshman Josh Adams replaces Anthony Watson on the right wing, Bundee Ake comes in at inside centre with Rob Henshaw moving to outside centre to replace Chris Harris, and Ali Price returns at scrum-half to replace Conor Murray.
The changes don’t stop there though, as Ken Owens comes in at hooker to replace Luke Cowan-Dickie and there’s a third loosehead prop in three tests with Wyn Owens preferred to Mako Vunipola. There are further changes on the bench with Adam Beard preferred to Tadhg Beirne, Sam Simmonds getting the nod over Taulupe Faletau and, perhaps most surprisingly, Owen Farrell left out entirely in favour of Finn Russell.
Whether these nine total changes are a reaction to the poor performance in the second test of certain players, or just an attempt to give an opportunity to players who are yet to feature in a test match for the Lions is something only Gatland and his staff can answer but one thing we do know is that the Lions team that takes the field this Saturday in Cape Town will be drastically different to the team the Springboks have faced in the last two tests. Will those changes work and propel the Lions to a series clinching victory? Will it destablise the group too much and result in another defeat? We’ll have to wait and see.
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