Here’s the one we’ve been waiting for all week. The second test takes place at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria.
Will the Boks be able to build on a completely dominant opening stanza in the first test – and apply the same sort of pressure for the full 80 minutes this week? If so, it’s going to be a long afternoon for the Lions. Schalk Burger will have a key role to play, knocking the Lions back at the breakdown and getting in the way of their impressive midfield. Adi Jacobs, given something of a lifeline by the coach, will also need to put in a vastly improved showing, particularly on defence.
For the Lions, the coaching staff will be holding out for a radically improved showing in the scrums and at the breakdown. A number of changes up front, as well as two changes in the back three might just give them the edge that they need to turn last weekend’s superb final half-hour into a performance capable of upsetting the World Champions at Loftus.
Altitude, of course, should play into the hosts’ hands as well.
All-in-all, a cracking match. Kick-off is at 15h00 SA time.
South Africa: 15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (captain), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Andries Bekker, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Heinrich Brüssow, 21 Jaque Fourie, 22 Morné Steyn.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O’Connell (captain), 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees , 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Sheridan, 17 Ross Ford, 18 Alun Wyn Jones, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Harry Ellis, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Shane Williams
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)