I had the British & Irish Lions to win by 40 points. They won by 42 points and showed their class against a local Lions team that were brave in patches but clueless against the class of the visitors, writes Mark Keohane.
There was nothing surprising about the tourist’s victory, nor the manner in which it was achieved. They were well-organised in defence, lethal on attack and looked capable of scoring every time in the way they used the width at Emirates Airline Park.
Left winger Josh Adams got four tries and it seemed like he got the ball four times. Had he been given double that he would have scored double that.
Lions coach Warren Gatland made 14 changes to the starting XV that beat Japan 28-10 a week ago for Saturday’s slaughter and by Wednesday, when the Lions play the Sharks, everyone would have enjoyed an outing. Expect the near Test team to play the Bulls on the 10th of July and from there Gatland will build continuity with his preferred match 23 to take on the world champion Springboks in a three-Test series.
The Lions won’t lose a provincial/regional match on tour and they should average 30-plus point wins because they are too good to be troubled against South Africa’s domestic teams missing their Springboks, although the local Lions couldn’t use that as any excuse.
The local Lions were down one player from the team that is playing in the Currie Cup and played in the Rainbow Cup, so this is as good as currently gets for the Gauteng side and against a Lions team with 10 England internationals starting, the local Lions best was only ever going to be a fight for respectability.
They didn’t get that as they folded in the second half and it was the touring Lions who looked like the team that plays at altitude every week.
The local Lions have now lost six of their last eight matches.
There is a lot of class in the Lions backs, but it is difficult to read too much into any performance when the result is a foregone conclusion and unfortunately for Gatland his Test Lions will only really be tested when they play the Springboks.
Individually, every tourist advanced his claims for a Test place and none would look out of place in a Test team, but I’d be surprised if more than a third of Saturday’s starting team start against the Springboks on the 24th July.
Disturbingly for South African supporters, these local Lions beat Western Province (read the Stormers) and also edged the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup, so don’t expect anything but a beating when the real deal Lions use the next fortnight to push for a place in the Test match 23.
FOUR tries for @JoshAdams951 this afternoon, you read that right 🤯
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 3, 2021
SA Rugby Magazine’s recap of the British & Irish Lions 56-14 win against Lions