South Africa 17 – 22 British & Irish Lions: 1st Test

An incredible final quarter from the tourists saw the Lions *I’m not saying ‘come roaring back’* score 19 unanswered points as they piled on the forward pressure to win impressively in Cape Town.

The opening minutes were breathless, and although it may have gone as predicted, you could only admire the near faultless execution.

Both sides kicked accurately whether to space or deep, and hit breakdowns – and each other – with the ferocity expected; Elliot Daly received a particularly warm, Springbok welcome to the ribs from Lukhanyo Am.

Stuart Hogg was a touch unfortunate to see a clearing kick just roll out of the Boks’ goal-area with Anthony Watson in hot pursuit, in what was a minor blip in an otherwise solid performance for the Scotland captain finally making his Lions’ Test day-boo after 8 years of touring.

Quality sides pounce on the slightest errors though, and once given territory, the predatorial world champions took the lead through the boot of Handre Pollard after Tom Curry conceded his second penalty in the opening stages.

Curry then led with the shoulder as he hit Faf De Klerk while the luscious-locked scrum-half put a teasing kick in behind the Lions’ defence, so Pollard struck again, only for Biggar to quickly reduce the arrears when De Allende jumped out the line too early trying to stop Price’s rapid-fire service.

A break from Siya Kolisi nearly saw the first try of the game, only for Maro Itoje to clutch onto the ball – and not for the first time in the match – at the breakdown.

Further breakdown infringements allowed Pollard to take his and the Boks’ tally to 12 by the half-hour mark, and 5mins later when the Lions had managed to win a penalty at the scrum despite initially going backwards, the usually reliable Biggar pulled his effort left.

A contentiously awarded high-tackle on Alun-Wyn Jones gave the thunder-booted Daly a shot at goal on half-way, but his effort dropped just short.

South Africa kicked clear rather than run out the last few seconds, and the Lions made one last line-break as they shipped the ball right, but Willie Le Roux did enough to prevent Robbie Henshaw from freeing Price or van der Merwe who were trying to support.

Half-time: South Africa 12 – 3 Lions

The second half got off to an encouraging start for the Lions when Curry’s thumping tackle and van der Merwe, of all people, got in over the ball to win a turnover pen.

It was the Lions’ third visit to the Bok 22, and when they had another penalty advantage, they went for the jugular rather than the sticks.

Biggar went to the side-line and then converted after Luke Cowan-Dickie had mauled his way over to reduce the deficit to two points.

South Africa were denied a breakaway try by the TMO when Le Roux was judged to have been just ahead of the kicker when chasing down Mapimpi’s kick after another error in midfield by the Lions.

In the #Spririt Of The Lions, I’ll try to be more balanced than usual, and you may have heard me saying that I admire his attacking play, but Elliot Daly was having an absolute howler, and a defensive misjudgement by him helped the Boks cross the whitewash from distance.

His slip allowed a gap down the Lions’ right, and despite Hogg doing well to initially hold Am up, De Klerk caught the loose ball as it popped out and flopped over the try-line.

South Africa’s lead on the scoreboard was then eradicated by their lead on the penalty count, as whenever the Lions entered the Bokke 22 they seemed to win a penalty.

A high tackle on AWJ brought the first one, a break from Lawes led to the second, and soon a third came from a maul. Biggar went 3 from 3 and the Lions had gone from 17-12 down, to 19-17 ahead.

Hamish Watson had come on with the score at 16-17 to the Lions, and the first penalty he had given away for nigh on 2 years nearly saw him also take a yellow card just after the Lions had taken the lead, but Pollard again missed his effort.

Owen Farrell’s 79th minute penalty took the lead out to 22-17, but Daly was beaten in the air from the restart to give the Boks one last chance to attack from around the 22.

But with fresh and strong legs on the pitch in the pack it was the 80min-man Maro Itoje who turned the ball over, Conor Murray fed the ball back to Stuart Hogg who had the honour of gleefully thumping the ball over the side-line to ring the end of the match.

Tries may have been a little hard to come by, but this was an entertaining battle with both sides showing an array of skills through pack and backs.

Of the starting Scots on show, Rory Sutherland – a late replacement for Wyn Jones – was arguably the weakest due to giving away a scrum penalty or two, but that’s more because the other Scottish representatives played so well.

Price definitely proved his worth at scrum-half; his box-kicking was consistent, and it was one of them that led to that early turnaround in the 2nd half from which Cowan-Dickie scored from.

Hogg and van der Merwe showed more than enough to silence their critics – you know the ones, the type who saw them make a defensive mistake in 2018 once and base their entire opinion on that time they slipped – being defensively sounder than most, and also excelling at the skills we know they have.

They played a major part in this win, and if anything, the final Scottish back in the Lions squad: Chris Harris, may be eyeing up a starting jersey after Elliot Daly’s harem-scarem performance.

Referee: Nic Berry (RA)SRBlog Player of the Match: As the SRB “home” team is the Lions, the award goes to Maro Itoje. His discipline has been exemplary so far on tour, and when Itoje’s good, he’s probably the best lock in the world.

SRBlog Scottish Lion of the Match: it’s wafer-thin between the lads in the 9 and 11 jerseys, but Duhan van der Merwe gets it. The first couple of times bombs were sent his way, he claimed them; when he first put Kolbe under pressure, it was Curry who had erred and put an end to the attack; he chased kicks, he won a turnover, he FENDED EBEN ETZEBETH! The lock who has to get his dumbbells custom built, got fended by a winger: but Duhan’s no ordinary winger.

Lions: Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun-Wyn Jones (c), Courtney Laws, Tom Curry, Jack Conan

Replacements: Ken Owens, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Liam Williams

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Warriors season ticket holder and widely renowned ne'er-do-well, Iain has been watching rugby from a young age, but developed a true passion for the game whilst in the rugby hotbed that is New Zealand. Like Tommy Seymour, his hair-style icon, Iain does not like chickens.
Follow Iain on twitter @iainhay82

67 comments on “South Africa 17 – 22 British & Irish Lions: 1st Test

  1. Tom Simpson on

    “Hogg and van der Merwe showed more than enough to silence their critics – you know the ones, the type who saw them make a defensive mistake in 2018 once and base their entire opinion on that time they slipped – being defensively sounder than most, and also excelling at the skills we know they have.”

    Excellent comment – which perfectly summarises the prejudices in many posts I have read in the Times and Telegraph.

    • Ben F on

      Does DVDM have any critics ? I am sure the selectors at Exeter will be noting Hogg’s flawless performance and wondering what he could have done for them in the final (Midweek captain and Test certainty). I am proud of the pair of them, particularly DVDM who has transitioned from Club to Lions starter in such a short period of time. My friends at Worcester are overjoyed he is joining them.

  2. Stuart on

    Great team performance and all five Scots did themselves proud. Some of the press is bizarre eg Telegraph ratings. Price was outstanding. Also huge credit to Itoje and Lawes and you have to tip your hat to AWJ for his 80 minutes. As discussed, Daly was poor so Harris must come into the reckoning. I saw a picture of Finn training – does anyone know if he is in contention? Would love to see him involved and to see the Lions play more rugby.

    • Jock in Paddyland on

      Yes, some of the Telegraph ratings are bizarre: Price 6 and Murray 8, and they make it sound like Murray came on and saved the day! Hogg 6, the same as Daly. Fortunately, these ratings are irrelevant and the only “ratings” that count are those of the coaches.

  3. Brian Rollo on

    “They played a major part in this win, and if anything, the final Scottish back in the Lions squad: Chris Harris, may be eyeing up a starting jersey after Elliot Daly’s harem-scarem performance.”

    Finn Russell?

    Great win, pretty solid performances all round, even Sutherland who I thought recovered well from the early angst of a couple of dodgy scrums. It’s almost fascinating to see how Stuart Hogg polarises opinion – whatever you thought of him before the game must massively influence how you interpret/see what he does during the game. e.g. Welsh and Irish fans commenting on how “scatty” “Hogg-Lite” or “dodgy” he was and simply MUST be replaced by L Williams (who has done nothing on this tour at all, but still sends everyone dreamy from his 2017 form); whereas us Scots fans, and most fair-minded journos, see that yes, he made a couple of minor errors just like everyone else on the team (some made more than a few – ahem Currey, Daly etc) in a scrappy game, but appreciating all the good stuff he does as well. It’s like our guys just aren’t allowed to shake their unjustified reputations even if they do 90% good, 10% bad. REALLY annoying, but hey, hopefully Gats saw the good and will retain the bulk of them for next week.
    Particularly Price and Hogg (suspect DVDM as good as he was could get replaced for Josh Adams or L Williams – for no reason than I’m Scottish and paranoid!)

  4. pragmatic optomist on

    Decent performance for the Lions in a tight intense game. A bit fortunate with one or two 50-50 calls which went our way. Well done to Gatland for applying some pressure on the TMO by making a ‘hue and cry’ about non neutral officials. Itoje won a deserved Mom for me. The man is an absolute irritant and must be difficult to play against. Lawes had a great lineout performance and played very well in second half. Of the Scots, I think Sutherland must be under some pressure. The problem seemed to stem from the scrums turning clockwise, which left him running after them or falling flat. This might suggest that the problem was on Furlongs side, but Sutherland likely to carry the can in this regard. Price played and kicked well and I enjoyed seeing him driving at the maul where the Lions scored their only try. Hogg and VdM were solid but had limited opportunities. I’d expect to see Wynn Jones starting next week, with Vunipola on the bench. Ha rris might have a chance of starting. Would love to see Fin on the bench, but Townsend would need to persuade Gatland which won’t be easy.

  5. Saint4805 on

    It’s amazing how Sutherland’s scrummaging was solid at the start of the tour while Mako’s was very poor and they now seem to have swapped places. I’m not sure if Rory is carrying a niggle but he looked vulnerable yesterday while Mako looked solid. I don’t see Mako starting but he’s earned his place on the bench with Wyn Jones likely to come in for Rory. I think Finn’s involvement might depend on the outcome of Biggar’s head injury. As much as I’d love to see a Finn – Henshaw – Harris axis I think it’s more likely to be Farrell – Aki – Henshaw or Farrell – Henshaw – Harris.

    • Alanyst on

      Hopefully not Farrell at 10. He has been dreadful and the game plan relies on a skillset he doesn’t really have – he kicks high balls like a 1950s wind up robot. Neither guile nor style…no defensive uncertainty is induced.

      • NewHavenBoy on

        I think a new Farrell level of Farrelldom is his poor tackle technique contributing to Biggar going off for an HIA.

  6. JohnMc on

    Hogg can’t tackle, pass properly or field a kick. Needs to be dropped.
    Price was no better than Murray would have been and so he needs to be dropped and Murray reinstated.
    VdM lost the kick-chases, can’t field a high ball and needs to be dropped in favour of someone else.

    This is a rough summary of majority journalist and social media post-match opinion. Makes me sick to the back teeth.

    • Scottie on

      You forgot to add Mish should have had a yellow and was thrown around like a ragdoll.

      The only poor Scots performance was Rory Sutherland, he will dropout the 23.

      • Ali G on

        The other one is

        ‘Hogg/Price/VDM played brilliantly but next week the Boks will be 50% better so we should drop them and pick test match animals instead’


        Sure, Murray/Farrell/Williams hasn’t been playing great but he’s a test match animal so he should be picked ahead of the form player

  7. Thin Russell on

    I see one man Hogg hate squad the Times so called reporter Stephen Jones is claiming Liam Williams as the new messiah, I’m starting to think he’s got shares in him.

  8. Scottie on

    In fact, let’s add Zammit in there, a full Welsh back 3. That’s what is required to win. We are all delusional fools to believe the Scots made any positive contribution, must have SNP TV!

    • Rob on

      You are being silly now 😁 Watson is English so OK to stay …. but then again the ardent Welsh supporters 🤯

  9. Sam Laycock on

    yeah reading and listening to so much about how good murray was he came on in what? the 66th minute by which time the pack was dominant and the Saffas were out on their feet, unreal.

    One of the best things Price did, which seems to have gone totally unnoticed was the part he played in the maul that scored the lions try. he saw LCD was exposed on his left side so joined the maul to protect his left side which stopped both Faf De Klerk and Kwagga smith both of whom tried to enter the maul from the side to stop it going over the line.

    • Alanyst on

      Indeed he made that try, and was still bound at the final moment.

      But never forget the impact of Murray’s key skill of pointing at rucks and whining at the ref. 🙄

  10. Andyc on

    To be fair to jones, and I don’t normally think this ! He has credited Hoggs performance. I just don’t get the ratings !! So wildly different. Price close to MOM for me. Think Sutherland will drop out. But injuries may ensure 3rd test start, or bench? I have a feeling we might see. Murray/Ali ,FInn, Farrel and he shaw next week. Think adams might come in for VDM

  11. Ardent on

    Amazing some of the distorted views of the match from the various countries.Wearing my “British/Irish” specs and not tartan ones:
    1.Conan was terrific.The calls for Falataui are ridiculous!
    2.Murray played well in his 20 mins.Exactly what was needed,a cool experienced head to protect the lead. And yet some still suggest the scrum halves be dropped.Ali Price was superb and just what was needed to up the tempo.Even more important in the 2nd Test.
    3.I like Daly-a great all round player-but not really a test starter. Going to be close as to whether its Aki/Henshaw or Henshaw/Harris.Quite understand if they go for the Irish combo given they have played together so often.
    4.No paricular issues with Sutherland but Vinapola played so well that if Wynn Jones is fit can see him being left out of Saturday’s 23.
    5.LW did nothing-dropped 2 high balls?-yet apparently “has to” play on Saturday! If anything Adams might replace watson on the right wing as he was poor in the air.
    6.Oh and Itoje and Lawes were just awesome.Take a bow guys,wouldn’t have won without their enormous contributions.

    • Sam Laycock on

      Agree with all your points Ardent.

      But what of Finn? back in training and should be available for selection.

      Don’t you think Daly would have performed a lot better with Finn at 10 who can keep the blitz honest with his short kicking game and faster passing?

      Daly was hung out to dry because Biggar and Farrell are too predictable, SA defense can just fly up knowing nothing will go in behind them.

  12. Ting on

    As a general assessment of Scottish players, I think some are a bit guilty of overstating to try and compensate for what they perceive to be critique.

    I am pretty close in terms of what BOD said re Price, I thought he was OK, outstanding is a bit farfetched for me, he did enough to start next week, but he wasn’t one of the Lions stand out performers, no back on either side really was, it was a very restricted game given how intense the breakdown was but his kicking game was good, a lot were contestable. I would still see him start over Murray as the balance of what Price bring works better earlier in the game I feel against SA as they look like they are going to tire.

    Sutherland, he was good, holding up the SA scrum and getting them on even ground is something to be content with, it is very easy for a scrum to be ripped to bits against them, more so factoring in how late he came in.

    Duhan – again, fine, nothing hugely wrong, nothing great, it wasn’t really a backs game, Kolbe caused very little issues but SA did very little to release him, he done a number of Smith

    Hogg – totally fine, nothing too wild, nothing great, some excellent kicks to space to release the tension

    Watson – he was lucky not to get a yellow, other than that he did look slightly on edge, seen him play better even in limited time.

    They were all fine, there was few outstanding performers for the Lions, Lawes, Itoje and Conan showed up, game was played in their area really.

    • FF on

      John Smit (100+ SA caps): “Ali Price, it was all about how he was going to play. His pinpoint accuracy on his kicking game is what allowed the turnovers to come [for the B&IL], just an incredible display for a guy on his first test for the Lions.” Also said MOTM for the backs.

      • Ting on

        I’m not really sure why you have added this comment here…,it isn’t really going to swing my view on it, albeit I respect the view… I mean I have literally said I would start Price in my post, but just didn’t think he was “outstanding”

        I have listened to the likes of Barclay, Laidlaw and Sean O’B on Podcasts talk about the display of Price and generally tended to agree with their view on things, which wasn’t quite as extreme as that shown by Smit, he isn’t to me the definitive and final landing point on how to view things, to me his view is a bit OTT given the display of Price, I have seen Price play far better for Scotland than he did on Saturday TBH rather than a display from him I would class as “incredible”.

      • Not science on

        If Smit doesn’t help, I thought Itoje and Price were best players on the pitch, does that swing it?

      • Not science on

        Oh ting, not even slightly 😂

        Don’t you think he’s looking good though, more chiselled, carrying less bread?

      • Ting on

        I have always thought Price was an excellent player and a player capable of putting in a shift – see 6 Nations, never been much wrong with his conditioning.

    • FF on

      ‘Mega-wing Duhan van der Merwe was key in negating the Springboks’ renowned bench as the British & Irish Lions stunned the world champions in the first of a three-Test series in Cape Town, writes ZELIM NEL.’
      SA Rugby Magazine

      • Ting on

        Again, same views were shared re how I thought of the game and the involvement of the backs from Laidlaw. You might want to follow House of Rugby on Twitter and take it up with Greig….

        I wouldn’t though to be honest, as he is a grown man (ish) who has dealt with high level environments when people don’t simply blow smoke up each others arse or universally praise players based solely on their Nationality.

        I can both like Scotland players AND share my views on how I think they have played without having to go out my way to go OTT on it, the two things aren’t conditional.

      • FF on

        Ting – I was just sharing those takes on the game as they came from SA pundits and they ran counter to your suggestion that the reason people might be praising performances by Price or DVDM is because they share their nationality (or at least support the team they play for), which I think is off the mark as they both put in creditable performances. You should try being less defensive – it’s a blog FFS.

      • FF on

        Ting – I think the forum you are looking for is the BBC Have Your Say. That’s where the most embarrassing posters tend to hang out.

      • Ting on

        Oooft head shot… it….is it….nah it’s not a head shot, move on FF, it’s just a blog FFS…. :)

  13. Saint4805 on

    The kicking performance of Finn in Paris would have been ideal on Saturday. As soon as the Lions started to pin them back with kicks they started to get joy and the Boks just ran out of steam. Biggar is a solid FH who does the basics well but doesn’t have the vision and guile of Finn. I really hope he is back this weekend and is able to play with Henshaw at 12.

  14. King of Fife on

    @ting I think this is the best summary I’ve seen of the Scots performances. Just wasn’t a backs game at all.

    Feel sorry for Watson. Curry played pretty well aside from two glaring errors. A good performance and Mish could have snagged the test jersey. Unlikely now barring injury.

    Was completely wrong on Lawes. Him and Itoje were colossal. Though still harsh on Beirne.

  15. NewHavenBoy on

    I see Rassie is kicking off about some dangerous Lions play. Seems not to have noticed the clearout on VDM dropping him onto his face or the no arms hit on Daly. Feels like the Boks are surprised to see a team give it back and are a bit rattled.

    I suspect they will go even harder on plan A this weekend. Replace Kwagga Smith with a man mountain, go with a 6-2 split and go even more straight and kick more.
    If the Lions can weather the storm though I think they should win the series.

    Harris or Aki for Daly, and otherwise same again lads.

  16. PunkyPar on

    Just seen the news that Daly has won a meddle for diving….I did see him fall off a couple of tackles on Saturday and don’t really think he should have been rewarded for it

  17. Rob on

    My gut feel for 2nd test is that Hogg and VDM will be replaced by the press’s choice of LW and JA. Ally may also be replaced by CM. Hope not but ………. Just feeling pessimistic tonight 😞 We will know tomorrow

  18. Skeletor on

    A twist for the second Test

    Stuart Hogg – Anthony Watson – Chris Harris – Robbie Henshaw – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Dan Biggar – Ali Price – Jack Conan – Tadhg Beirne – Courtney Lawes – Alun Wyn Jones – Maro Itoje – Tadhg Furlong – Luke Cowan Dickie – Wyn Jones

    Liam Williams – Finn Russell – Connor Murray – Tom Curry – Hamish Watson – Kyle Sinkler – Ken Owens – Mako Vunipola

    • Rob on

      Interesting! Going for an arm wrestle in the forwards and heavy weight backs. No Josh Adams so if I was you, don’t go to Wales 😄

      • NewHavenBoy on

        Wyn Jones is out is seems. And I would not back Biggar to come out if the HIA clean.

        Mako at 1, Sutherland on the bench. And if I was going with a no 7 backrow id pick Navidi. Boys a psycho.

        But if Biggar does not make it back and with Finn now back training it could be the biggest call of the series for who goes to 10.

  19. Saint4805 on

    Mish dropped from the 23 entirely with Faletau coming on to the bench which makes little sense to me given Curry could cover 8. Looks like Gatland has been listening to Warburton. Bit harsh on Price but at least he can still come on and make an impact.

    • NewHavenBoy on

      Not delighted with it but I suppose the logic is that he wants an 8 on the bench not a 7. And he wants the biggest units available.

      Price is unlucky but its going to be a box kickathon

  20. Ting on

    Curry isn’t yet “great” at covering 8 to be fair, he got a going over doing it against France in the 2020 6 Nations when his footwork was a mess in a scrum going backwards, that is probably the most comparable test in the NH he will face pack wise compared to SA.

    Faletau is pretty excellent working off the back of a scrum, can see why they would look to use him as an 8 option over Curry to be fair.

    I’m not massively shocked by Watson moving to the bench, it’s not to say he did much wrong, it is just that the options to replace him are players the standard of a Faletau, against SA I could see why they would feel OK with a Lawes or Conan having to do work at 7 if Curry went off.

    • Saint4805 on

      I don’t think Curry is any worse at 8 than Faletau is at 7 which is where he will have to play if Curry doesn’t last 80 mins. Faletau must have impressed in training because he’s done nothing in the warm up games to merit selection.
      Have a feeling the Boks are going to nick this one and take it to a decider.

      • Ting on

        I overlooked Beirne to be fair, would expect he will be the go to 7 option, he can poach, excellent over ball, loves a turnover.

  21. Andyc on

    Not really suprised with Watson decision, think FInn will make squad as bigger touch and go. If that does happen, already is I guess with no Williams, or adams. Wales online will be in melt-down !!!!!

    • NewHavenBoy on

      To be fair if a Scot had done what Adams has over the last few years and on tour I suspect this blog would be going off a bit too. ;-) A couple of rumours on WOL that Adams may have broken a team protocol.

      Dont get the love for Williams though.

      • Alanyst on

        Sympathies for Adams as he’s given up more than most to be there, was in good nick and not getting picked must make him think he’s made an error in going. Still Garland and co can’t let this get in the way.

  22. Thin Russell on

    For me this looks like a team which is expecting to contain a SA backlash, with Murray and Biggar playing slowly, playing the percentages a huge number of kicks and looking to win it in the last 20 with price etc coming on to speed things up.

  23. Andyc on

    Worry about mako tbh. I think the refereeing was eccentric at weekend. Next ref New Zealander may referee scrum completely differently and boks will target him. As always expect big role for bench. The choice of daly over Williams and adams makes me think biggar struggling

    • Sam Laycock on

      Maybe, but the SA’s have reversed their front row again so Mako gets another go at Malherbe who seems to be badly out of form.

      as a side, what exactly has Furlong done on this tour? not much in the loose and not much in the scrum?

      anyway, I see the rational with the changes but i think it’s a mistake, overly cautious, sure playing wide early you get smashed a few times but what you don’t see is how much your taking out of the SA’s by moving them around and forcing them to maintain such line speed and counter rucking. SA using a 6-2 bench they will be coming hard all game and if you keep it slow and kicky you just play into their hands I think this could spell trouble. Gatland has stuck when he should have twisted, Finn should have been on the bench at least.

  24. Sam Laycock on

    It’s harsh on Price, i watched the game back last night and I think Price was even better on second viewing, we’ll see how Murray contrasts against a fresh Springboks defense he wasn’t great in the A game.
    prediction, Murray 3rd charge down of the tour will gift SA first try.

    Also harsh on Mish he seems to be carrying the can for the tip tackle although that has been blown out of all proportion as he put him back down safely. Faletau has done nothing all tour I’d rather see Simmonds or Navidi on the bench if not Mish. No consequence for Curry and his first half penalty extravaganza which put the lions in a hole.

    Great for Harris, I wanted to see a Henshaw Harris midfield in the first game so i’ll look forward to that.

    So pleased Hogg and DVDM keep their starting positions.

  25. Alanyst on

    Nienaber: rock
    Gatland: paper

    I don’t really like all the selections but I can see the idea to absorb S.A. physicality, frustrate them, make them win it, and hopefully force errors in the last 30.

    • NewHavenBoy on

      Indeed. I think even the Murray selection is on that basis. Murray is not better as a scrum half but he is a bigger chap and the South Africans are going to run very hard and very straight. Price would not shirk a tackle but he’s likely to give up front foot ball making one.

      I slightly wonder if Gatlands selections in May were based around a plan that is now being abandoned? I bet he wishes CJ Stander was available for example.

  26. Merlot on

    Murray over Price is the only selection here I would disagree with – and possibly Daly over Williams on the bench.
    Obviously with a win you have to have a good reason to change the line-up.
    #1 – Sutherland was penalised at scrum time, and Mako won a penalty when he came on. Personally I think Rory was unlucky but I think he’ll make an even bigger impact than Mako did.
    #9 – Price did most things right and nothing wrong, IMHO. Maybe Gats thinks a faster ball and faster runner will be more effective in the last 20.
    #13 – There wasn’t enough space to utilise the speed of Daly, and his penalty count was abysmal for a flanker, never mind a centre. Looking forward to see if Henshaw-Harris was always the right partnership – as I think it might be.
    #20 Faletau for Watson – Hamish didn’t do enough positives to outweigh the nearly disastrous tip-tackle. Maybe it’s a slap on the wrist but equally Faletau may be just what we need in the last 15 to smash it up the middle and give our outside backs some quick ball. Curry’s penalty count in the first half was dreadful, but he more than made up for it with his tackle count, chases and link play.
    #23 – gotta feel for Williams. Although all the talk of Hogg being bad under the high ball when he took 3/4 and Williams took 0/2. Even DVDM won 1/2 and another 2/4 attacking high balls. I’d still pick Williams over Daly on the bench, though.

    • Fraser on

      Yes, Price is a bit unlucky, the other changes are fair.

      I would say Watson getting kept out of the spotlight after the tackle controversy – hopefully will see him back next week (as well as Russell).

      Overall still got 5 in the 23, just one less starting so not too bad from a Scottish point of view.

      Will have to wait and see if Biggar passes the protocols.

    • Rob on

      I get his thoughts for the game. Runners come on in 2nd half. Daly covers more positions than LW. Falatau gives different perspective that Watson doesn’t

  27. Andyc on

    I think it’s more of 23 man game. The focus on being dropped etc. Not so certain. At No.9 for instance it’s role reversal in my view all the subs will make a big contribution I think. Certainly don’t see it as price being dropped due to performance issues . May see back three more involved this weekend hopefully

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