June International Tours

Lions vow to fix set pieces for 2nd Test


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British and Irish Lions defence coach Shaun Edwards said on Wednesday that there was no point in drawing inspiration from the past as the side prepares for Saturday’s second Test in Pretoria.

Edwards told the media in Cape Town that there were Lions sides who have gone on to win a series after losing a first Test as the Lions did on Saturday.

In 2001 when the Lions toured Australia they won the first test convincingly at 29-13.

At half time in the second Test in Melbourne they were leading the Wallabies and only had to win the upcoming half to win the series. Instead of winning that half they lost the remaining three halves and the series.

“I know that Geech (Ian McGeechan, the Lions’ head coach) has been a tour where the Lions lost a first Test and then won the series 2-1,” said Edwards.

“But there’s no point in drawing inspiration from the past. We have to live in the here and now.”

And Lions scrummaging coach Graham Rowntree has vowed that the side’s scrum, which took a battering at the hands of Springboks at various stages during the Durban Test, will be “fixed”.

“The way we (the Lions) handled the driving mauls from line-outs was embarrassing,” said Rowntree.

“We’ve had a good honest, hard training sessions on Monday and we saw that the (forward) replacements who came on in Durban already made an improvement.

“The spirits are high and the guys are very positive that we’ll fix up those set-pieces (scrums and line-outs).

“I did say that there is a possibility that we’ll make changes in all three sections of the scrum when we sit down to select the team.

“I was pleased to see Phil (Vickery) made a good impact last night (against the Emerging Springboks at Newlands) and we’re not going to hang him out for what happened last week.

“It was a collective effort. After what happened in Durban I could see on Monday that it hurt the players and during training I could see the pain of their faces.”

The Lions have decided to remain in Cape Town after Tuesday’s match against the Emerging Boks and round off their preparations for the Loftus Test.

“Of course we’re preparing at sea-level and Saturday we’ll we playing at altitude and we must make the most of it,” said Edwards.

“The (wintry) conditions were horrific at Newlands and it won’t get much better in the next day or two but at least it will be drier in Pretoria where we’ll be able to play our multi-phase game and an attacking style of rugby.

“The dry ball at Loftus will also allow us to run the ball more and that’s one area where we made an impact in Durban and I have no doubt that the Springbok coaches will be concerned that they conceded so many line breaks in their frontline defence.”

Rowntree said the inclusion of flanker Schalk Burger at the expense of Heinrich Brussow will give the Boks momentum at drive time.

“Burger is bigger than the guy he replaced so you can expect his hits will be heavier,” said Rowntree.

“He has a weight advantage and of course he’s a world-class player as well as a former IRB Player of the year.

“Brussow was very good on the ground and I’m sure if he does come on (as a replacement) he’ll be just as good again.”

Edwards said the Lions were looking forward to the prospect of playing at the home of the Super 14 champions, the Bulls.

“It is the hardest place in the world to play rugby at this moment,” said Edwards.

“Firstly, it’s so because of the altitude, and secondly anybody who went there for the Super 14 final would have seen why it is the hardest place to play rugby.”

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