First blood, injuries and a new threat | Lions Weekly Round-up #5
The British & Irish Lions Weekly round-up, brought to you by The Famous Grouse
Warren Gatland’s Lions got their Test series against the Springboks off to an ideal start on Saturday at Cape Town Stadium, bouncing back from a first-half onslaught to come away 22-17 winners. The head coach will be prepared for a backlash next week though, as the world champions will be back stronger.
Wyn Jones is the latest injury in the Lions camp and was a late withdrawal from the first Test, where he was due to start at loosehead prop. The Welshman picked up a minor shoulder injury in training last Thursday, but Gatland is confident about his recovery. He said: “We’re confident he’ll be back in training next week and have no plans to bring in anyone else at this stage.”
OFF THE PITCH
It may have been a coincidence, it may have been a masterclass in mind games, but Gatland’s objection to South African Marius Jonker being appointed as TMO may have been crucial. Jonker replaced Kiwi Brendon Pickerill, who was ruled out due to coronavirus travel restrictions, and ended up ruling out a Willie le Roux try despite Nic Berry’s on-field call as a try.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Having been trailing at half-time 12-3 to the Springboks, the Lions went up a gear in the second-half and were quickly able to close the deficit to two points thanks to a Luke Cowan-Dickie try. Despite conceding a try, the Lions continued to amass points, eventually winning 21-17, securing their second biggest Test comeback and biggest since 1938.
That's the 2nd biggest comeback ever to win a test by the @lionsofficial. The only bigger deficit overturned was 10 points at the half-time break against @Springboks across "town" at Newlands in 1938 to win 21-16.
— Stuart Farmer (@Stu_Farmer) July 24, 2021
TOURIST OF THE WEEK
There were plenty of standout performances at the weekend from the likes of Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and Jack Conan, but Mako Vunipola’s display from the bench was particularly noteworthy as the England loosehead was not in the original match day 23. Vunipola stepped up after Jones’ late withdrawal, but that in no way affected his performance.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
After the Home Nations spend four years hating one another, nothing sums up the unique nature of a Lions tour than this Tweet from a Wales supporters after Itoje’s performance against the Springboks:
How weird is it cheering turnovers by Maro Itoje? #LionsRugby
— Dan (@DanS258) July 24, 2021
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