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Springboks will 'come for' the British & Irish Lions at scrum time

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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The British & Irish Lions first hit out on South African soil against the Sigma Lions was a powerful display full of high tempo rugby, bashing over the gain line and swinging the ball wide with success.


Despite notching 50-points against the hapless Lions, South African journalist AP Cronje has not been impressed with the Lions at set-piece time, predicting that the Springboks ‘will come for the Lions’ at the scrum.

The set-piece was an important part of the Springboks’ World Cup final win over England, dominating them there after they lost their tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler in just the second minute.

Despite the Lions having vast front row resources to pick from across four nations, Cronje predicted that they would be ‘annihilated’ by South Africa.

However, it was the Sigma Lions whose scrum was as fragile as wet paper against the British & Irish Lions, conceding three penalties to zero while having six collapsed scrums and four resets.

Despite the frailty, the home side’s platform aided them by stalling for time to prevent the visitors from piling on the points.


The slow pace of the game on Lions’ scrums allowed the clock to dwindle and allow the players to get a breathe as they completed just six of 11 formed scrum attempts.

The stability was on the tourists side, with no resets and coming away with a clean sheet of no penalties conceded. The power of the British & Irish Lions pack gave the visitors complete control, although they did not rely on the scrum.

They had just four scrum feeds compared to 21 lineouts. What’s more, the British & Irish Lions forced two penalties on their four attacking scrums, a rate of 50 percent.

This was similar to their effort against Japan the week before, where they forced two penalties from just five attacking scrums, a rate of 40 percent.


The potency of their set-piece is beginning to show however some believed they will look for quick feeds, recycling the ball quickly, to counter the Springboks’ pressure during the test series.

The Lions have three Number 8s with the ability to pick up the ball quickly, in Sam Simmonds, Jack Conan and Taulupe Faletau and have picked fast loose forwards for a mobile game plan.

Cronje stuck to his assertion, claiming the Springboks possess depth in the front row ‘that no international side’ can match or come close to, and that the selection of two entire front rows in the matchday 23 will act in tandem to ‘clean up’ the Lions.


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