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The Lions concerns Gatland will raise at this week's refs meeting

By Liam Heagney

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Warren Gatland has outlined he will be speaking to the referees at this week’s pre-Test meeting about the stop-start nature of play in the Lions versus Springboks series ahead of the third-game decider in Cape Town this weekend. French official Mathieu Raynal, a touch judge for the opening two Test matches, will be on the whistle for the series decider and Lions boss Gatland is hoping that his team isn’t put through the wringer in the same frustration fashion that unfolded in their dreary 27-9 defeat last weekend.

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According to Opta, the ball in play time for the opening half was just 16 minutes and 28 seconds, a figure reduced to 14 minutes and one second in the second period. The halves, though, took a respective one hour, two minutes and 30 seconds and 53 minutes and 26 seconds to play.

Asked about how long last weekend’s Lions match took to reach its conclusion and how limited the ball in play time was, Gatland said: “There are two things there – one is keeping the ball and also talking to the officials about making sure we keep the game flowing.

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Springboks lock Lood de Jager on the niggle that existed in last weekend’s second Test
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Springboks lock Lood de Jager on the niggle that existed in last weekend’s second Test

We found every scrum there was an injury slowing the game down, there were something like 14 minutes TMO time in the game and it was really stop-start and that made it frustrating for us. We want to keep the tempo of the game up to get the ball quickly out of scrums and lineouts to play and to get a flow and South Africa at the moment don’t want to do that. Everything is so stop-start that it does make it frustrating.

“I know Alun Wyn Jones was talking to the referee on a number of occasions about keeping the game flowing. We had stud changes, we had TMO reviews, we had the referee stopping the game for cramp. That will be one of the things I will talk to the referees this week when we discuss how we need to make sure that we can’t have 60-odd minute halves. It’s important that we keep the flow of the game from a spectator point of view. We want to see some pretty good rugby and we didn’t see some great rugby played at the weekend.

“It would help if there weren’t players going down for injuries on a regular basis, stopping,” added Gatland, who has named a starting XV containing six changes. “You want that flow in the game and we have seen from other games where we have had tempo that we have played some really good rugby, and it was very frustrating for us and particularly Alun Wyn on the weekend. He was talking to the referee on a number of occasions asking to speed up and you could hear the ref through his mic encouraging both teams to keep the flow of the game going because it was so slow.

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“We definitely want some tempo. How long the halves have been, how little minutes in play that we are actually getting, it’s definitely something that is not to our advantage and we need to work on that and make sure we definitely try to keep that tempo up this weekend.”

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The Lions concerns Gatland will raise at this week's refs meeting

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