Mark Keohane has the Springboks to win the first Test against the British & Irish Lions – and the series 3-0. Legendary Lions centre Scott Gibbs is picking the Lions to win comfortably in Cape Town. SA Rugby Magazine’s Zelim Nel also has a Lions first Test win. WTF Zel!
Keohane said: ‘I always love chatting rugby to Scott Gibbs and Zelim Nel. Gibbs is an icon of Welsh and Lions rugby and St Helens, Wales and Great Britain rugby league. He was the player of the series in the 1997 Lions win against the Springboks. He bounced Os du Randt on the run, speared Andre Snyman into the Newlands turf in the first Test win and was the most inspirational player in the Lions winning the first two Tests. He is, to quote many a South African afrikaner, a ”MENEER’.
‘Nel, an astute analyst of the game, is also among SA Rugby Magazine’s executive leadership and very sought after in the world of rugby when it comes to analysis. We got down to business on SA Rugby Magazine’s Betway Lions Tour Special in dissecting the Lions tour so far, assessing the the Lions and Springboks match day 23 squads and previewing the outcome of the first Test and the significance to the series result.’
Keohane was emphatic that the Boks’ toughest Test would be the first one, given one Test in 21 months and a build-up characterised by Covid-enforced isolation and a lack of game time preparation. But it was a Test he still felt the world champions would win, even if marginally.
Gibbs felt differently, saying that the Lions were good enough to score three tries and that the Boks ill-discipline was worth five penalties (15 points) for Dan Biggar and the Lions.
‘Do the maths,’ said Gibbs. ‘I think it will be more comfortable than many are thinking.’
Keohane countered that with his belief in the quality of the Boks, crowd/no crowd, Test match preparation/no Test match preparation.
Nel, typically unemotional, was not convinced with the Springboks’ starting XV and said that if the Boks won, given the make up of their 23, the Lions would get smashed in the rest of the series. But his disclaimer: They would not win.
Gibbs felt the series could be decided by halftime, such was the significance of the first 40 minutes and Keohane felt that the Boks would only get stronger for playing and could still come back from losing the first Test to win both, but that the Lions wouldn’t be able to.
This said, Keohane, added that the Boks would not have to come back from a Test down and that they would win all three Tests at the Cape Town Stadium.
He applauded the quality of the Lions squad but said he based his prediction on the quality of the Springboks and his belief in this squad.
Nel wasn’t as convinced and neither was Gibbs.
Take a listen, have a watch and be the judge of what each one has to say. It is 54 minutes, but it is a cool 54 minutes.
Kick-off is 18.00 Saturday (SA time).
Keohane picks Boks; Gibbs and Nel pick Lions.