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Thursday, June 11, 2009

British & Irish Lions win well against the Sharks in Durban

British & Irish Lions win well against the Sharks in Durban

The British & Irish Lions put on a strong second half performance to beat the Sharks 39-3 in Durban on Wednesday. The Sharks defended manfully for the first forty, but the experience and class of the Lions was too much for them in the second.

Coach Ian McGeechan had chosen a side that looked close to what the possible Test team will be, but despite huge pressure, they were unable to break the Sharks defence early on.

The home side had a strong forward pack, but were missing ten Springbok players in total, lacking firepower in the backs when they did get some rare possession.

In fact, the Lions had almost 80 percent of the ball in the first half, and only managed one try. That rustiness will need to be sorted out before the first Test.

The Lions center pairing of Brian ODriscoll and Jamie Roberts continues to impress though, with Roberts making inroads seemingly every time he gets ball in hand.

There was some concern after he possibly injured his shoulder, but McGeechan has said its simply bruised after a big knock and hell be fine.

In the end, the Lions scored five tries against a traditionally strong South African side. Theyve now won four out of four, which would have been their goal so far.

"I am very pleased," said McGeechan. "We showed very strong discipline and patience - it was a very strong performance."

"We didn't panic. We just kept building a performance and reaped the benefits in the second half, he added.

Are there still worrying signs at this stage of the tour, or are you confident that with the correct combinations in place, the Lions are strong enough to take on the World Champions?


Time: 05:33

Posted at 11:35 am | 48 comments

Viewing 48 comments

Anonymous June 11, 2009 11:38 am

F1RST!
looked good, really killed them off in the 2nd half,
williams was rubbish 1ce again

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themull June 11, 2009 11:44 am

Terrible refereeing at the breakdown again...I mean it doesnt seem to matter anymore whether the people are on their feet or not they seem to be able to just throw their hands on the ball and just take it...Also the scrum was very poorly referreed also whenever it went down he just gave the free kick to the team with the put it....

Decent performance form the lines, but nothing spectacular...Saturday will be the last chance for any players to impress for a test spot as next weeks midweek team will likely be a 2nd string team to rest the starters....
My Team so far-
15- Byrne
14- Bowe
13- BOD
12- Roberts
11- Monye
10- Jones
9- Phillips
8- Heaslip
7- Wallace
6- Williams
5- POC (C)
4- AWJones
3- Jenkins(can he play no 3)
2- Rees
1- Sheridan

Subs:
16- Kearney
17- O' Gara
18- Croft
19- Meers or Adam Jones
20- D'arcy/Flutey

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Hackney Griffin June 11, 2009 11:45 am

Good score. It's almost as though McGeech had some kind of plan! Build a real, tangible spirit and let everyone know that Test places are there to be had... and who'd have thought it? The team seems to be pretty much picking itself. The antithesis of Woodwards approach - the only way the Lions stand a chance.

Missed the game. Read Jenkins didn't have it all his own way at scrum time. And have not read anything about Croft. How'd people think they went?

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Hackney Griffin June 11, 2009 11:52 am

@ themull

Is there any point picking Williams at 6? Would have thought it's between him and Wallace for 7. If you're looking for a prop who can switch sides then you need to look at Vickery - who for my money has been better than Jenkins so far. While I don't see that Sheridan has done anything in the loose to be in the team. Don't think the team can afford to carry a player just because of what the offer at the engage. Jones seems to be more likely to me to force his way in.

I'd have:

1. Jenkins
2. Mears
3. Murray

with Vickery and Rees the replacements. Hard on Vicks but, as noted, he covers both sides.

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Hackney Griffin June 11, 2009 11:52 am

@ themull

Is there any point picking Williams at 6? Would have thought it's between him and Wallace for 7. If you're looking for a prop who can switch sides then you need to look at Vickery - who for my money has been better than Jenkins so far. While I don't see that Sheridan has done anything in the loose to be in the team. Don't think the team can afford to carry a player just because of what the offer at the engage. Jones seems to be more likely to me to force his way in.

I'd have:

1. Jenkins
2. Mears
3. Murray

with Vickery and Rees the replacements. Hard on Vicks but, as noted, he covers both sides.

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Flooz June 11, 2009 12:05 pm

i don't know how to judge Lions performances as their opponents are very physical but without their best players.

I think there are good practice
This team seems to love attack than woodward selection

BOD - roberts is a good combination

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Del Boy June 11, 2009 12:27 pm

Roberts is playing out of his skin and its absolutely brilliant to see!

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Ted June 11, 2009 12:27 pm

Not sure that answered the big questions:

Who in the front row?

Who in the back row?

Who plays on the other wing to Bowe?

I guess it cemented Mike Philips' place.

On another note, as themull said, I am a bit concerned about the refereeing so far on the tour. I don't think it's SA's fault but I do think there needs to be more consistency between the hemispheres or one side or the other will always be whining.

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ConnachtFan June 11, 2009 12:32 pm

These games are a joke,playing 2nd XV sides i spointless while the Boks sit all comfy warpped in cotton wool, very disappointed with the spirit of the tour, empty stadia etc,,,keep it up and future Lions tours will be 3 Game test matches only,,,,remember 1997 now THAT was a Lions tour, every game hard fought; Boks do a complete disservice to the spirit of the game in my opinion. Not really ecited to watch Western Province put out a 3rd XV and get hammered (yawn)... will watch NZ v France instead.

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cheech June 11, 2009 12:36 pm

I thought it was a good performance. I thought Luke Fitzgerald showed spark when he had the ball. I never really rated him as a test starter but he definatley needs to be considered along with Moyne over Williams. I thought it was a good performance in the second half however we need to start converting pressure into points.

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Wasp1 June 11, 2009 12:36 pm

Concerned by the the number of free kicks/pens given against the Lions at the scrum when they appeared so dominant in that area.
Other than that a decent game with a couple of names cementing their places in the test side.

PS I'm there for the next three games GET IN

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Hayden June 11, 2009 12:41 pm

What did Vickery do to merit a yellow?
Elbow in the back?
Couldnt catch it on the replay

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Gavin June 11, 2009 12:47 pm

connachtfan, i agree with u
these lions series are a bit redundant, devaluated and under-passion by SA crowd

i will watch NZ - France to watch game, constest and entertaining rugby

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Huh!! the 3rd June 11, 2009 12:50 pm

Lets be honest, Mike Philips is too slow to release the ball. He wasted several good rucks by taking too long. He had his hands on the ball for too long and the sharks D was able to smother any attack. Why do you think ROG kicked so much, coz he didn't have time to pass. In saying that, Philips will start the tests, no question. Blair too shakey,and not enough game time and Ellis is a lesser version of Philips. Better defender though.

People keep selecting Martyn Williams even though he's played 1 game and was poor, he has said the alltitude affectd him more than he realised. Granted he can get down and dirty, but at this stage of the tour, unless he plays out of his skin against Western Prov or next Wednesday his best chance is a bench spot. David Wallace can cover all 3 back row positions and has had 2 big games after his poor showing against the Royals.

Much as I hate to admit, as I'm Irish and usually hate him, Vickery has had a great tour so far. Has been hugh in scrum and work rate round the park streets better than either Murray and Jones.

If SA do go with Smit at tighthead, then Jenkins is better option than Sherdian because he offers more all round and as shown last night if the refs aren't blind can do a job in the scrum, Du Plessis better Tighthead than Smit. Although Smit has played there all season and is still very effective.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 1:39 pm

Connachtfan:

I think you have been living under a rock. No sotuhern hem side has played their test players in the provincial games against the Lions since the 1993 tour to New Zealand.

In 1997 the Boks did not allow their test players to play in any provincial games versus the Lions. In fact, I am sure one of the reasons they lost the 1st test in 1997 was that they were underdne compared to the Lions. Resting your players for weeks, while perhaps lessening the chance of injury is not a great preparation for a test series.
+++++++++++++++++++++

These games are a joke,playing 2nd XV sides i spointless while the Boks sit all comfy warpped in cotton wool, very disappointed with the spirit of the tour, empty stadia etc,,,keep it up and future Lions tours will be 3 Game test matches only,,,,remember 1997 now THAT was a Lions tour, every game hard fought; Boks do a complete disservice to the spirit of the game in my opinion. Not really ecited to watch Western Province put out a 3rd XV and get hammered (yawn)... will watch NZ v France instead.

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ryebye June 11, 2009 1:45 pm

I can not understand what these refs are doing at the breakdown thought AGAIN the ref had a real shocker, and i dont know WHAT he was looking at in the scrums,

that aside happy to see all that pressure turned into points in the 2nd half as always im sure the lions coaching team will be happy as there are lots of things to work on for sure!

_____________________________
ConnachtFan said...
These games are a joke,playing 2nd XV sides i spointless while the Boks sit all comfy warpped in cotton wool, _____________________________

Im pritty sure they did that in 1997, didnt do them much favours.

RyeBye

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Owen June 11, 2009 1:48 pm

Good result but the Lions really should be beating provincial / club sides by this margin if not more.

There were still too many errors from the Lions which cannot be repeated against the Boks. Whilst the defence was much better, attack did look short of ideas and O'Gara seemed to be too eager to put boot to ball.

Flutey should be getting more game time. Agree Roberts is no.1 option at 12 but Flutey is a more than capable understudy. After taking a knock Roberts should have come off earlier to give Flutey a run at them.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 1:55 pm

test team
1-jenkins
2-mears
3-vickery
4-AW jones
5-o connell
6-worsley
7-wallace
8-heaslip
9-philips
10-jones
11-monye/fitzgerald
12-roberts
13-o driscol
14-bowe
15-byrne

16-rees
17-murray
18-callaghan
19-williams
20-harry ellis
21-fitzgerald/monye
22-hook/kearney

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 2:09 pm

The ref angerd me in the scrum area, I wasn't really sure what he was banging Jenkins for? Heard the ref say "taking it down" etc, perhaps he thought Jenkins was slipping his binding.... thats the only thing I can think of.

The ruck area is a bit of a dodgey area as well, I thought the players at times, fought for the extra 6 inches of turf, just for the hell of it, and this stopped them having clean ball placement for Phillips. I can see why Phillips seems to be slow getting the ball away, he got caught with the ball at the base of the ruck twice. But I also think its down to this poor placement of the ball after contact.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 2:17 pm

Thanks for putting these up!! Really appreciate it.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 2:29 pm

I can't believe no-one has really given Kearney much of a chance, i reckon if he does enough in the next game (or the one after that) he is more than worthy of at least a place on the bench for the first test, a solid performer who can play anywhere in the back 3.

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Adedayo Adebayo June 11, 2009 2:51 pm

Lions Test XV:
1 Jenkins
2 Mears
3 Murray
4 Hines
5 O'Connell
6 Croft
7 Wallace
8 Heaslip
9 Philips
10 S Jones
11 Monye
12 Roberts
13 O'Driscoll
14 Bowe
15 Byrne

Bench:
16 Ford
17 Sheridan
18 Wynn-Jones
19 Worsley/M Williams/Powell
20 Ellis
21 Flutey/Hook
22 Kearney/Fitzgerald

No Vickery because he gives away silly penalties time and again, which will be punished by the Boks (See the Steyns). Sheridan on the bench because Murray and Jenkins have been better in the scrum and loose, and Jenkins can cover both sides as previously noted by everyone. Fitzgerald did himself no harm yesterday, and although probably won't make the starting lineup, will be ample competition with Kearney for the last bench spot. It's hard to make a decision between Flutey and Hook for the bench. I wouldn't have both as it could prevent options, and ROG is just a bit stale at the moment, his kicking game doesn't suits the opposition but not really the Lions. Worsley/Williams/Powell is great because they all offer something different, it all depends on Geech's gameplan as to who gets the bench spot. William's hasn't had enough game time to warrant a start, and Worsley and Powell are impact men, plus Powell's been turned over too much. I think Hines may have it over Wynn-Jones for the start as he's more brutish and beefy than AWJ, and a fired up AWJ on the bench could be a real bonus. Shane Williams has played himself out of contention, he's not the same as he was in SA a year ago. Ellis gets the nod over Blair because he's a bit more of a rounded scrumhalf than Blair. I wish people would see Cusiter is better than Blair, but that's an argument for another day. I'm going for Ford over Rees as Ford is by far the better thrower, and is better round the park. Croft is to this set of Lions what Ryan Jones was to the Lions in NZ. The man's earnt that 6 shirt, though if Ferris were still there, it would be a much tougher call, and Croft would probably be on the bench. O'Driscoll is performing immensely without the burden of captaincy, whereas with O'Connell, his need to be captain fantastic is visible and appears to dull his usual game execution. But we shall see what the Province match throws up on Sunday, as on Tuesday the Test team will be told to the players (not sure when the public's told). WP match will be the hardest yet, may even see a Lions loss, but can't be sure.

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Stand up for Simon E June 11, 2009 2:55 pm

How was David Wallace playing? Given the problems they've had with the breakdown they need him or Williams in god form.

Also, where the hell are the fans? We had loads of build-up about how much the South africans were looking forward to this tour, and now the stadiums are half-empty.

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Elliot June 11, 2009 3:07 pm

Why is Mike Phillips behind every scrum looking like he just had his handbag stolen? Get in there and fight for it if you're losing, you tit. That was a problem in the first half, anyways.

I'm guessing Williams won't start. It's a shame, because he is/has been such a great winger (IRB player of the year), but he just wasn't in it. You could tell he wanted to be, but he just never found a way to really help out and make himself useful.

I might also consider putting Jones ahead of O'Gara if I were Geech - he doesn't kick it away every chance he gets.

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Roger Dodger June 11, 2009 3:19 pm

"The Lions would have had 40 points at half time if the ref wasn't so awful."

---

The Lions would have had 40 points at half time if they didn't fuck up so much. The ref did ruin a couple chances by (mistakingly, IMO) pinging Jenkins in the scrum, but he didn't really get bad about everything else until second half. The Lions just sucked at the break down.

That Byrne-Williams effort a few minutes before half was definitely a backwards pass and a try...but maybe that's why I'm not a professional TMO.

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BTesco June 11, 2009 3:21 pm

just to everyone complaining about the lack of fans. the tickets for lions games are coming in at three times the cost of a super 14 ticket. it's the SARFU thats killing the test series, not the fans

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Back Line Boy! June 11, 2009 3:42 pm

how can people think of putting Fitzgerald infront of Monye, i don't understand?

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 4:36 pm

I'm not sure who would be in my test pack yet especially as the best forward, Ferris, is now injured but my backline would be:
9.Phillips
10.Jones
11.Monye
12.Roberts
13.O'driscoll
14.Bowe
15.Byrne

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 4:41 pm

Lions played well but they were too vulnerable at the breakdown. They will need to improve this to challenge the Springboks

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themull June 11, 2009 5:05 pm

Back Line Boy! said...

how can people think of putting Fitzgerald infront of Monye, i don't understand?

Because Fitzgerald is a better winger than Monye...he proved it in the H Cup and in the 6 nations....However because of Monye's dominating performace in the trashing of the golden lions I'd say he'll get the nod ahead of Fitz

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No1No2 June 11, 2009 5:31 pm

is it just me or is scotland the only country not to score on the tour yet? :( i'm scottish as well :(

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Sinenomine June 11, 2009 6:00 pm

O'Driscoll plays a risky game running up like he does, but it pays off like 90% of the time.

He stops the quick ball out to their wing and also sets himself up for an interception like the great one he got this last game. No one else was there for support or it would've been a try for sure.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 6:17 pm

why does everyone have a problem with mike phillips? its not like he didnt just score us a fucking try, and set one up....and i believe ronan o'gara is a bit more of a kicking flyhalf anyways? so mike phillips is probably wasting his time passing it too him. considering he likes to up and under to fucking adam jones whenever he gets the chance. lol
(elliot)
and personally if everyone was diving over the ball all game id say fuck the ball and wait for the ref to blow it up.

lee mears for hooker!

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 6:22 pm

yeah i think Moyne will get the nod over Fitzgearld just based on tries scored they are pretty much even at this stage electric players beautiful to watch Williams is shocking!! Ferris is a big lose but i think Croft has looked very promising and so has Worsley. Front rows could be a tricky one as well.

Conor

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fattflyhalf June 11, 2009 7:19 pm

am i the only one thinking that rucking people out of the ruck should be tolerated?

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Matt June 11, 2009 9:10 pm

To Huh the 3rd.
Philips distribution of the ball is quite good, he makes up by having his hands on the ball with a fast fluent and accurate pass.
And doesent kicking take time too? If ROG doesent have any time to pass, why doesent he take the ball into contact and try and pick a line to run? Dont think Iv seen him breaking the line many times.

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Anonymous June 11, 2009 10:08 pm

Byrne
Roberts
BOD
Bowe
Phillips
O Connoll
Mears

I think they are the only test certainties so far.

With AWJ nearly there.

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keithxv June 12, 2009 3:45 am

haha, rory kockott with a slap in the face...
love that man

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Anonymous June 12, 2009 4:41 am

Good stuff, the full lions squad isn't a bad teamat all.
The Roberts, BOD midfield looks really dangerous.

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Steve June 12, 2009 6:18 am

Is it just me or is the Lions allways but always offside in the defending fases? That is the only reason why the are so good in the defence.

Hopefully the refs for the test series will notice it.

I cant see the Lions beating the world champs on form.

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kieth June 12, 2009 12:42 pm

this game meant nothing! You cant say they played well against the sharks when 9 of their best players were training for the springboks. This tournament is pointless, its not worthy enough to fill the stadiums...but then again if they were the all blacks or the wallabies it'll be a different story!

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David June 12, 2009 2:42 pm

I hate to say to say it as i'm a huge fan of his, but i really don't think Shane has done enough to earn a place on the wing.
He's hardly been coming off his wing at all, which is something he's famous for, taking his chances and having a go. It looks as if he might of lost a bit of confidence.
Don't think he's quite over the hill yet, but the best he can hope for on current form is a place on the bench. Until he gets his head back in the game. Bowe and Fitzgerald for the test spots.

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themull June 12, 2009 4:03 pm

Keith what in the name of God are you talking about....Stop making blind and ignorant statements....

Tickets for these games are 3 times that of super 14 tickets so it is nothing to do with the people of the country and given the fact that we are in the grip of a worldwide depression and the fact that SA could nearly be classed as a third world country you can hardly expect them to be paying out that amount of money for tickets...Blame SARU not the south africans...

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andy June 12, 2009 4:26 pm

Ref was shocking.

Good win

I'd say SA are the best team in the world at the moment (better than NZ). They have some freakishly good players and it's going to be another 3 levels tougher when it comes to the tests. I think our boys/BOD single handedly can do it though.

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Kieth June 13, 2009 2:15 am

Hey "THEMULL" i don't think you understood what i was saying! Where did i say that it was SAs fault that theirs no one at these games!?!? I said that this competition is worthless because the Lions team is worthless! Nobodys watching it, nobody cares for it and yet by winning against a tough 2nd string team like the Sharks its a sign of good things to come against the Springboks...according to all the Lions fans! I should remind you all that its clearly not, SA are the favs for the tri-nations if and when they take the Lions out you will all realise how pointless these tours are!!

Love England!

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John F McDonald June 13, 2009 6:43 am

I can't understand why Phil Vickery is captaining a Lions side and Steve Borthwick isn't even in the touring party. After all, England did come second in the 6 nations, behind an on-form Ireland and in front of an on-form Wales. What have McGeechan and Gatland got against Borthwick? I know there's competition for second row places, but Borthwick is performing as well, if not better, than any in the Lions squad. Paul O'Connell's captaincy of the Saturday team has been shakey, to say the least. Borthwick could have been brought on for him in the 2nd half last Saturday to add stability at a crucial time in the match.

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Paul Gormley June 13, 2009 9:50 am

steve borthwick is the biggest wadte of space in the game! he is a terrible captain, and an awful player! this isnt an anti english comment and i mean i know england scored more tries in the 6 nations but they NEVER looked like they were in the title race, and yes they finished second but they could EASILY have finished 4th like. also wales were not "on-form" and the fact borthwick wasnt even on the reserves for the lions says it all really

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conor877 August 25, 2009 5:57 pm

In a different, but possibly similar event, is there anything to be said for the suspicious activity in the 76th min of the 1st test in the B&I lions series? The lions were looking very menacing and it wouldn't have been the biggest shock if they had have scored that last try and won the match. The influential defensive leader and captain John Smit was substituted off the pitch in the 69th minute as springbok coach Peter De Velliers thought the match had been wrapped up and wanted to save the energy and endeavors of his captain for the 2nd text the following week. Though with the match hanging in the balance and the world cup winning captain off the pitch, Smit was suspiciously allowed back onto the pitch for the apparently injured Deon Carstens, thought he didnt appear to have any injury whatsoever. Could it be that Carstens was instructed to fake an injury to allow Smit back on? Perhaps an event of indescribable magnitude occurred because if smit wasn't allowed back on maybe the springboks would have lost the first test as they had smit for those crucial scrums and lineouts in the dying minutes of the test. And therefore maybe they could have lost the second test and the series subsequently.

Anyone care to comment on this?
Agree or disagree?

I maintain that something along the same lines as the harlequins incident has occured here although without the use of blood. And that Smit was allowed on because Catstens faked an injury and permitted the South African skipper to lead his team to defend the 5 point lead and win the match. If Smit wasn't allowed back on the pitch, i bet my life savings the lions would have won the first test.

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