The hype surrounding the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa will step up another notch this Saturday when UK-based Sky Sports replays the entire three-match series from the 2009 tour. Next year’s clash between Warren Gatland’s tourists and the country that Rassie Erasmus guided to 2019 World Cup glory is keenly anticipated – and if it’s in any way as epic as what happened when the Lions last toured South Africa, it will be fantastically received. 

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Ex-England and Lions midfielder Will Greenwood has been doing his bit to ramp up interest ahead of the re-run of the ’09 series and a tweet showing footage of Brian O’Driscoll’s concussive collision with Danie Rossouw has sparked much reaction on social media.

In the TV commentary, pundit Stuart Barnes claimed at the time that the game-stopping second-Test tackle “is the sort of hit from one of your players that lifts players. That’s brilliant play from O’Driscoll.”

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Eleven years on, Greenwood said: Holy S*** – Remember this hit!!! One of the most brutal test series you will ever witness!!”

Irishman O’Driscoll wasn’t inclined to agree, though, tweeting a reply emphasising how he doesn’t remember the collision that so excited Greenwood. “Not so much,” he said. 

The 61st-minute clip from a match the Springboks went on to dramatically win to clinch the Test series sparked huge debate on Twitter about the legality of the tackle and whether it would be carded today, whether O’Driscoll was onside when he first started his run-up towards Rossouw, and how in the current climate of player safety it is wrong to be ‘celebrating’ an incident that left two players injured with concussion.

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