The Springboks stand on the cusp of claiming the remarkable scalp of the British and Irish Lions like their predecessors did in 2009.
If the reigning World Champions beat the Lions in the hugely anticipated third and final Test match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, the Boks will win the series 2-1 and the achievement will be remarkable given the fact that they did not have a good preparation.
They go into the last match with the series tied on 1-1 after the Lions won the opener and the Boks replied in ferocious style last weekend to level this series that has seen its fair share of action on and off the field.
The Boks went into this Lions series having played only one Test against Georgia since they won the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and a win on Saturday will go a long way in solidifying their place at the top of the World Rugby’s rankings.
There is a lot to play for the visitors and their coach Warren Gatland as a win on Saturday will see him register consecutive unbeaten Lions’ series to Australia‚ New Zealand and South Africa which will take him to the pantheon of coaching overachievement.
Looking ahead of the clash, Gatland said the Springboks will feel the absence of “world class” scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit in the series decider who have been ruled out due to respective injuries.
Springboks VS British and Irish Lions
Damian de Allende will become the third Springbok players during this Lions Series to reach the career milestone of 50 Test caps when the Springboks take on the British and Irish Lions in Saturday’s decider at the Cape Town Stadium.
Even more significantly veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn, who kicked the penalty goal that sealed the series victory in 2009, is in line to earn his first Test cap since 2016 and he will also achieve an important milestone of playing in back-to-back Lions Series tournaments.
In team news, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made three changes to his starting team, two of which were personnel changes and one positional switch, mainly due to injuries to the influential flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit scrumhalf and Faf de Klerk.
With Du Toit having took a knock on his shoulder during the second Test last weekend, Franco Mostert moves from lock to the side of the scrum, while Lood de Jager has been promoted to the starting team to start alongside Eben Etzebeth in the second row.
The other change is at scrumhalf where Cobus Reinach replaces De Klerk who has been ruled out of the match due to a muscle strain in his leg and Nienaber has opted to name three backs on the bench with Steyn joining scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and utility back Damian Willemse.
For the Lions, head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the starting XV which lost to the Springboks last Saturday in Cape Town.
The tour’s leading try-scorer Josh Adams makes his Lions Test debut on the right wing joining Duhan van der Merwe who has kept his place on the left and Liam Williams has been added at full back to complete the back three.
Bundee Aki is included at inside centre to win his first Test cap joining Robbie Henshaw who has switched to 13, Dan Biggar is retained at fly-half with Ali Price starting at scrum half having been named as a replacement last weekend.
In the pack, there are two changes to the front-row with injury-free Wyn Jones taking his place on the loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens who has been promoted from the bench to start his first Test of the Tour at hooker.
Tadhg Furlong continues on the tighthead to win his sixth-successive Test cap, Alun Wyn Jones is named as captain to win his 12th consecutive cap moving him alongside Graham Price (1977 – 1983) and Mike Gibson (1966 – 1974) in the list of most Lions Test appearances.
The iconic Welshman is again partnered in the second row by Maro Itoje and the back row remains the same with Courtney Lawes at blind side flanker, Tom Curry on the open side and Jack Conan at No. 8.
Pick: Springboks Wins by 0.65 at BetXChange