KSA Shark ©

‘Do not underestimate Lions’


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :2009 Lions Tour, In the news, Springboks on 25 May 2009 at 07:47
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Former Springbok captain and legendary lion tamer Morne du Plessis has warned of the dangers of underestimating the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa.

Stephen Nell writes for Sport 24 that Du Plessis was the Bok skipper in 1980 when Bill Beaumont’s Lions were beaten 3-1, but also tasted defeat in 1974 when Willie John McBride’s side won their series in South Africa 3-0.

South Africa were the overwhelming favourites to win the series in 1997, but Carel du Plessis’s team lost the series 1-2.

“I think the big lesson is never to underestimate the Lions,” said Du Plessis, who played in the first two Tests in 1974 and captained South Africa in all four internationals in 1980.

“My concern is that South Africa’s heads may be in the clouds after the Super14. I would not like to see us underestimate the Lions and go into the series thinking we are favourites.

“We have to approach the series as if we are fighting for our lives. That is of the utmost interest.

“The other big thing I learned from the series’ in 1974 and 1980 is that it’s important to be consistent in team selections. It’s very important, therefore, to make the right selections for the first Test.”

In 1974, South Africa made numerous changes, and lost in Cape Town, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth before the Springboks managed a 13-all draw in the last test in Johannesburg.

This year, the series starts on June 20 in Durban, where the Lions clinched the 1997 series with Jeremy Guscott’s drop goal in their 18-15 victory. The match followed South Africa’s 16-25 defeat at Newlands in the first test.

The modern day programme of only three Tests places an enormous value on the first Test.

“If you fall one behind, you will really struggle to get back. It’s hugely important to win that first Test, especially if you play at home,” said Du Plessis.

The Lions have six games to find their rhythm before the first Test, while the Boks will not play together before then.

However, Du Plessis does not necessarily view that as a negative for the Boks.

“I think Peter de Villiers (coach) will stick to what he knows. How many more times does John Smit or Bismarck du Plessis have to throw the ball in at Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha? They have done it a thousand times,” said Du Plessis.

The manager of South Africa’s triumphant World Cup campaign of 1995 described a Lions tour as one of sport’s “great traditions”.

“New legends will be born on both sides. There is more meaning attached than to other Tests, which are played more regularly,” said Du Plessis.

“If you win these Tests, your name goes down in history.”



12 Comments

  • i’ll bet that most teams will lose against the Lions, the Sharks and Boks are the tricky ones.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.05.09 08:44:51 by JarsonX Reply
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  • He is so right, and with McGeechan at the helm you can be sure they will have a trick up their sleeve, I still remember the 1980 lions targeting Morne, with Derek Quinnell punching him in the face from the first kick-off in the WP game, they recognised his importance and tried to neutralise him. Same with the infamous “99″call. They sorted us out before we knew what hit us and they will be doing the same this year, you can be sure. Watch out John Smit, they know how important you are to the cause!! I think we are in for some serious 10 man rugby from them; I would be very surprised if they passed the ball wide??

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.05.09 08:48:15 by Whindy Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 1) : but those will be the ones most depleted for the sake of boks. so i reckon it will be difficult, much dependant on whether lions send A or B team.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.05.09 08:50:21 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 2) :

    If only the Sharks and PDV knew how important Smit is to the cause… :twisted:

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.05.09 08:57:35 by wpw Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 3) : I don’t understand your comment, they have sent the best they have??

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.05.09 08:58:11 by Whindy Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 5) :what i meant is whether the first choice XV plays. I would imagine they have such.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.05.09 09:09:07 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 6) : Got You :grin: It will be interesting to see the development of that team, it has to happen in a hurry though this is the shortest tour ever undertaken by the Lions. I imagine the management have a fairly clear idea of their team already.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.05.09 09:56:23 by Whindy Reply
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  • “The manager of South Africa’s triumphant World Cup campaign of 1995 described a Lions tour as one of sport’s “great traditions”.

    “New legends will be born on both sides. There is more meaning attached than to other Tests, which are played more regularly,” said Du Plessis.

    “If you win these Tests, your name goes down in history.”

    So true, and the reason why you pick only your best, even if it means selecting a 34 year old fullback.
    Take the “building for the future” and “gaining experience” mantras and textbooks and trash them. Its all about the here and now that is important.

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.05.09 09:57:20 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Whindy (Comment 7) : they must. though I think a lot of it is still to be tested – i mean how combinations will work in practice. I am interested in seeing what team they will announce for the Royal XV.

    on other note – looks like O’Driscoll’s shoulder is a worry.

    @Salmonoid (Comment 8) : read somewhere in passing that JP may feature as fullback. That could mean Fourie on a wing. Perhaps PdV wants to accomodate all his stars in starting XV. kinda make them all happy :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.05.09 10:33:50 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 3) :

    I have a feeling we will play a shadow A side.

    http://www.sharksworld.co.za/2009-b-i-lions-fixtures/

    With them Playing the Boks on 20 June i think they will field sides as follows.

    10 June Sharks – Shadow A (Call it their final trial match)
    13 June WP – A
    16 June Kings – Midweek side
    20 June Boks – A

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.05.09 10:56:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Agree with your thinking, but I reckon he will give both sides a run in the first two games, after all he is only playing Province :mrgreen:

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.05.09 11:19:35 by Whindy Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 9) :
    No JPP at full back, PLEASE. I cant believe that the coach dislikes him that much.

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.05.09 12:35:52 by Salmonoid Reply
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