The British and Irish Lions will be looking to return back to winning ways when they take on the Stormers in their tour match at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
The British and Irish Lions 17-13 lost to a strong South Africa ‘A’ during the week in what was their first real test since they arrived in South Africa where they played tour matches against local franchises the Sharks and the Stormers.
Looking ahead of the clash, Stormers head coach John Dobson said his team is well-aware of the honour and prestige of facing off with the British and Irish Lions.
“Any match against the British and Irish Lions is a historic occasion and we will be doing everything we can to do justice to the magnitude of this game.
“The team has been highly disciplined in our bubble this week and now it is about doing everything we can on the field for 80 minutes,” he said.
Visiting coach Warren Gatland said the match is important for them because it is the last one before they start the three Tests against the Springboks.
“It’s an important game as it’s the final chance for the coaching group to see the players perform prior to the start of the Test Series. For the matchday 23 it’s their last opportunity to stake a claim for a Test place, so I expect to see a highly motivated group of players.
“It is particularly pleasing to be able to name Stuart Hogg in the squad. He’s not had much luck on Lions Tours to date, so it’ll be great to see him cross the whitewash again with the captain’s armband. I’m also delighted that Marcus Smith will get his first start in a Lions jersey. I’ve been really impressed with his attitude since coming into camp this week and he’s been like a sponge for information.
“Obviously it’s a tight turnaround from Wednesday’s game but we’re in pretty good shape. The South Africa ‘A’ game was a physical encounter – we always knew it would be – but we’ve come out of it pretty much intact and ready to go again. Liam Williams will begin his return to play protocol following his HIA.
“We learnt a lot from Wednesday’s game and I hope the defeat will serve us well. There’re still some areas of the game we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate.
“Time and again on this Tour we’ve had to adapt in the face of the challenges created by COVID-19. I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and the players for the role each of them has played to get us to this point on the Tour,” he concluded.
Lions VS British & Irish Lions
The Stormers will be led by former SA Schools and Junior Springbok captain lock Ernst van Rhyn where the home team will be wearing limited edition heritage jerseys that will be used for this match only.
Van Rhyn will be partnered in the second row by JD Schickerling, backing up a front row which features Neethling Fouche, JJ Kotze and Leon Lyons and the loose trio will see Nama Xaba and Johan du Toit pack down on the flanks with Evan Roos at No.8.
Godlen Masimla and Tim Swiel form a relatively experienced halfback pairing, with Dan du Plessis and Rikus Pretorius in midfield and there is a lot of pace to burn among the outside backs with Seabelo Senatla, Edwill van der Merwe and Sergeal Petersen making up a speedy back three.
For the Lions, Stuart Hogg of Exeter Chiefs in Scotland was named captain of a brand new starting XV from the one that went down 17-13 to South Africa ‘A’ on Wednesday evening following a period of isolation in Johannesburg.
New recruit Marcus Smith of the Harlequins in England will make his Lions debut at fly half while Robbie Henshaw of Leinster in Ireland returns from a hamstring injury to take place in the midfield alongside Elliot Daly of Saracens.
Josh Adams of Cardiff in Wales also returns to the starting line-up following the birth of his daughter last night and Alun Wyn Jones of Ospreys in Wales is named among the replacements.
Pick: British & Irish Lions Wins by 0.84 at BetXChange