Lions must avoid 'scrapping' ahead of SA decider

9 months ago 3566
Courtney Lawes runs with the ballCourtney Lawes has been named in the starting XV for all three Tests in South Africa
Venue: Cape Town Stadium Date: Saturday, 7 August Kick-off: 17:00 BST
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Flanker Courtney Lawes says the British and Irish Lions cannot get caught up in "scrapping" with South Africa in Saturday's decisive third Test.

The series is level at 1-1 after South Africa claimed victory in a second Test that has drawn complaints because of the number of stoppages in play.

Tensions boiled over between the two sides, further slowing down the game.

"They can throw their handbags around, as long as we can get the ball out and play some rugby," he said.

South Africa assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said: "We don't go into a game intentionally trying to slow things down.

"If the British and Irish Lions want to play touch rugby that would be nice for us and they're more than welcome to do so.

"We're not going to decide what they must do and also they're not going to tell us how to play the game."

Lions head coach Warren Gatland is one of those to have commented on the "stop-start" nature of the 27-9 defeat in the second Test..

The ball was in play for the shortest time so far on the Lions tour, with numerous stoppages for refereeing decisions.

Gatland said he would speak to the officials to try and speed up play for the decider and Lawes agreed that a faster game would suit the tourists.

"We can't get too caught up in the niggle of stuff, scrapping," continued the 32-year-old, who has started the two previous Tests in the back row.

"It just slows down the game and it doesn't help us. We like a high-tempo game.

"They came with a clear gameplan last game and that was to slow the game down. We're a really fit team and we want to move the ball.

"It's obviously going to be tough and it will be a conscious effort to stay out of that dogfight because I imagine that's what they're going to bring again."

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi adopted a different stance saying: "If there are niggles we can't leave a man behind. That's our system and what we believe in."

'We have got to create more' - Townsend

Finn Russell prepares to catch a ballFly-half Finn Russell returns from injury and may offer the Lions more creativity from the bench

Gatland has made sweeping changes for the final Test in Cape Town, bringing hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, centre Bundee Aki, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams into his starting XV.

Attack coach Gregor Townsend says the Lions have got to "create more" if they want to claim a series win against the world champions.

That creativity may come from fly-half Finn Russell, who is named on the bench in place of Owen Farrell after recovering from an Achilles injury.

Townsend says the Scotland 10 "can ask different questions than any fly-half in the world" and also backed compatriot Price, saying: "He's got the pace to go through gaps".

"If you create opportunities, you have more chance of winning the game," Townsend continued.

"You may create more through pressure. We know we have to control the game more by moving South Africa around, draining them of energy whenever we can."

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