Lawrence Dallaglio: 'Whether he meant it or not, Rassie got what he wanted'
Former British & Irish Lions no.8 Lawrence Dallaglio believes that Rassie Erasmus’ video helped the Springboks to second test success – through an impact no-one anticipated.
South Africa’s World Cup winning director of rugby took to Twitter following their first test defeat to make public a 62-minute video which analysed every refereeing decision.
Speaking on behalf of Land Rover to South African website Independent Media’s Mike Greenaway, BT Sport pundit Dallaglio said that the officials’ desperation to avoid a repeat then caused the second test to be played at a funereal tempo perfectly suited to a home side short of game time.
“Because of what happened during the week with Rassie’s video, every incident was analysed in minute detail,” the former Wasp said.
“Whether he meant it or not, Rassie got what he wanted.
“The first half was 64 minutes (instead of 40) – the constant analysis slowed the game down and that suited the Boks more than the Lions. Whatever Rassie’s reasons for his video, they worked.”
Erasmus was heavily criticised for his use of the bench during the Lions’ first test win, but Dallaglio highlighted this as a key area that the Springboks got right seven days later.
“This week the Boks made the better substitutions after Gatland had won that battle in the first Test,” the 48-year-old said.
“Each new player the Boks brought on increased their momentum.
“Their lineout with three locks (after Lood de Jager came on) was much better. He is a heck of a player and sorted out their lineout problem instantly.
“It also meant their scrum had more weight plus they could be more physical at the breakdown. The South African scrum just got better and better and by the end of the game was completely dominant.
“The Bok bench helped them win all the key areas, but I think it is important to point out on the other side of the coin that they kept their best players on the field for as long as possible.
“Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk, for instance, were massively influential deep into the game. The Boks won the second half 21-3 and that tells the story.”
The former England skipper acknowledged that the home side improved significantly between the first and second tests and said Warren Gatland must address his team’s defence of the high ball if they are to clinch the series this week.
“South Africa were substantially better than the Lions who in the first test stood up to the physical confrontation well but could not do it a second time,” he said.
“The Boks were never going to reinvent the wheel in the space of seven days but there was always the feeling that they would be slicker having cast off plenty of rust in what was only their second outing since the World Cup final 20 months ago.
“They won all the key areas that they lost in the second half of the first test, especially the aerial battle.
“The Lions were peppered with high balls — as they were the previous week – but this time did not cope, and thus conceded control of the game. They dropped the ball six times and each time that meant lost momentum.
“The Boks have a habit of bouncing back from a loss on home soil and now they have the momentum going into the third Test.
“It is one-one and everything to play for. The Lions will have to go away and lick their wounds and come up with more than they did in this match because they were played off the park in the second half.
“Gatland knows which buttons to press to get his players up for this one. More than anything, they have got to get their aerial game sorted out.”
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