The British and Irish Lions do not believe the internal problems in the Golden Lions camp will make them easier opponents in their clash in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Rugby 365 reports that the British Lions backline coach Rob Howley, speaking to the media on Sunday ahead of his team’s second tour match, said that, despite their rather poor form in the Super 14, the Golden Lions still had some very good players.
“I would be surprised if the [Golden] Lions were down against us.
“They didn’t have the best Super 14, but they have good players. Their centres [Jaque Fourie and Doppies la Grange] are good ball carriers and Willem Alberts [No.8] accelerates from the back of the scrum.
“Their No.9 [Jano Vermaak] is also an intelligent player and he was involved in the Bok warm-up game,” said the former Wales scrumhalf, who was here last year with the Wales team and has a very good knowledge of the South African game.
Like head coach Ian McGeechan and captain Paul O’Connell, he put the B&I Lions’ rather average tour opener – against a Royal XV in Rustenburg at the weekend – down to a number of factors.
“Temperature, altitude, the fact that half the side hasn’t played in five weeks and the new combinations resulted in a disjointed affair. It drained the players.
“But there were some positives no-one speaks about such as the scrums and line-outs. We are disappointed with the number of turnovers because if you want to stress the opposition you have to keep the ball much longer.
“The Golden Lions are a strong outfit so we have to improve our ball retention.
“We wanted to have a crack with the back three [on Saturday], but they found it hard to regenerate because of all the factors I mentioned.
“Wednesday is a new bunch of players. We want to give everyone a go. We are looking to Wednesday to get over some of the disappointment from Saturday.”Tweet