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The forward battle which could decide Lions series - Siya Kolisi v Tom Curry

Siya Kolisi /PA

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The British and Irish Lions and South Africa meet for the final time in a seismic series decider at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.


At the heart of a forward collision that will have a decisive say on who comes out on top will be the back row clash between Siya Kolisi and Tom Curry.

Here, the PA news agency analyses both players ahead of the third Test.

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Siya Kolisi – South Africa

Club: Sharks

Position: Flanker

Age: 30


Caps: 52

Debut: v Scotland, 2013

Height: 6’1?

Weight: 16st 10lbs


Points: 30 (Tries – 6)

South Africa’s figurehead is a courageous and effective flanker who can play either side of the back row. Although less of a fetcher and more suited to the hard-grafting role of a six, he is deployed at openside by the Springboks. Struggled for form coming into the series and then endured the setback of being diagnosed with coronavirus, resulting in a spell in quarantine that only ended on the Sunday before the first Test. However, the nation’s inspirational World Cup-winning skipper was a force of nature in the second game and was single-handedly responsible for denying Robbie Henshaw what would have been a crucial try. In a divided country, South Africa’s first black captain is seen as a unifying force.

Tom Curry – England

Club: Sale

Position: Flanker

Age: 23

Caps: 35 (including 2 Lions caps)

Debut: v Argentina, 2017

Height: 6’1?

Weight: 17st 3lbs

Points: 20 (Tries – 4)

Curry made his debut against Argentina in 2017, but it was in South Africa a year later when the Sale flanker truly rose to prominence. Starting all three of England’s Tests against the Springboks, the 19-year-old went toe to toe with some of the most ferocious forwards in the game and marked himself out as a star of the future. Fast forward three years and he is one of the most accomplished back rows with his stellar performances at the 2019 World Cup earning a nomination for the player of the year. Good over the ball, a formidable carrier, powerful in defence and with a high work rate, he is the complete package who has yet to truly fire in this series.


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