Finn wins hearts and minds | Lions Weekly Round-up #7
The British & Irish Lions Weekly round-up, brought to you by The Famous Grouse
South Africa secured their second successive Lions tour on Saturday with a 19-16 win in Cape Town, as Warren Gatland’s side let a half-time lead slip for the second week in a row. The Springboks completed the World Cup and Lions series double just as the squad of 2007/09 managed, with Morne Steyn kicking the winning points as he did twelve years ago. The visitors will rue a match full of missed opportunities and will have to wait until 2033 to gain revenge and secure what would be their first series win over the Springboks in 36 years.
Saturday’s loss brought an end to skipper Alun Wyn Jones’ Lions career, as the Welshman earned his twelfth cap at Cape Town Stadium in his fourth tour and now stands alongside Graham Price and Mike Gibson as the third-most capped Lion. “I’m never going to put this jersey on again, I am never going to have this chance again,” the 35-year-old said.
OFF THE PITCH
English, Scottish and Welsh members of the party will arrive in Jersey on Monday to spend their isolation period as South Africa is on the UK’s red list of COVID-19 countries, while the Irish contingent will arrive in Dublin. Although the squad were originally based in Jersey before flying to South Africa, Jersey’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell (STAC) said it could set a “dangerous travel precedent”.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The Springboks’ turnaround after half-time from a 10-6 deficit meant that all three Tests were won by the team trailing at the break. That is the first time such a feat has been achieved in a Lions series.
2 Tests won this series by the team trailing at HT. Hasn't happened 3 times in a Lions series before
— Russ Petty (@rpetty80) August 7, 2021
TOURIST OF THE WEEK
Finn Russell answered plenty of questions when he came on for Dan Biggar after eleven minutes on Saturday to win his first Lions cap. After he was named on the bench last week, queries were raised over his big-game temperament, his kicking from the tee and whether his style would work against South Africa. The Scot was not put off by the occasion, playing a brand of rugby that was not previously seen in the Test series, offloading, using runners inside and outside him and producing some of his trademark attacking kicks as well as a faultless performance from the tee.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Wallabies legend Matt Giteau produced the Tweet of the week following Finn Russell’s display. Giteau, who won MLR with the LA Giltinis last week at the age of 38, said “When I grow up I wanna be Finn Russell… Plays with great freedom.”
When I grow up I wanna be Finn Russell.. Plays with great freedom#LionsRugby
— Matt Giteau ?? (@giteau_rugby) August 7, 2021
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