British and Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan would not be drawn on what has been described as an overly-physical approach by the Southern Kings in the tourists’ sixth match which they won 20-8 in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
“They obviously wanted to make a game of it,” McGeechan said of the physicality.
“We had to keep our composure and I’m proud of the discipline we displayed,” he said.
“That shows the focus of the players,” he replied, when asked whether the home side had crossed the boundaries with their physical approach.
McGeechan said he and his coaching team “will sit down seriously tomorrow (Wednesday) and go through every position” in selecting the side for Saturday’s first Test in Durban.
They will work through the various combinations which they think are best for the Test.
On the physicality, Kings coach Alan Solomons said that the Lions came to South Africa expecting a physical approach from the home side and with the intent of playing physical rugby themselves.
“We didn’t want to disappoint them,” he said – and added that the approach by the Southern Kings and the possible unhappiness of the tourists on this issue should not have any effect on either side in Saturday’s Test.
“There was nothing untoward today,” he emphasised, and added that Saturday’s clash will be a “massive physical confrontation.”
Like his captain, Derick Kuun, he felt that the Springboks could derail the British side if they dominate up front.
“If they get knocked up front, it will make it difficult for the Lions to win.”
“They simply have to win on Saturday against the Boks, who have not played together, and if they lose, they have a very difficult road ahead.”
Solomons felt that the Lions selectors will have to select an out and out open side flanker for the Test.
The selection of Heinrich Brussow for the Boks made this even more of a must.
On the selection of Brussow, who was not initially part of Peter de Villiers’ Springbok squad, McGeechan said the Lions were “pleased they think we might be effective at the breakdown and brought him in.”
Brussow had a huge impact in the match the Cheetahs lost 26-24 to the tourists ten days ago, and the Lions again turned over many balls against the Southern Kings, mainly because they didn’t play as a unit.