South Africa: Rugby’s Brutal Battle – the Delicate Art of Choosing a Test Team

Boks show their teeth ahead of tactical arm-wrestle against British & Irish Lions. DM168 unpacks the battles that will determine the outcome.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Rassie Erasmus and Warren Gatland were in agreement on a number of points following South Africa A’s 17-13 win against the British & Irish Lions. Where they differed was on the importance of the midweek result.

The Lions coach felt the game amounted to little more than a physical and mental warm-up. Erasmus, by contrast, praised the local team’s character as they held on to claim an unexpected win against a more fancied and battle-hardened Lions outfit.

We should expect more mind games from Gatland in the lead-up to the first Test. Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber – who recently rejoined the Bok squad after a Covid-enforced hiatus – are also likely to oblige with a few pre-game barbs.

Behind the scenes, both sets of coaches will prepare their charges for an intricate and brutal chess match. DM168 unpacks the battles that will determine the outcome.

Setting the platform up front

The Lions should be mindful of what transpired the last time the team toured South Africa. Coach…

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