All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has hit out at the British and Irish Lions’ series against the Springboks, labelling it a “low-risk slugfest”.
South Africa won the second test to set up a series decider with the Lions this Saturday, but both games so far have been slow, forward-dominated affairs, in which the officiating performances have taken centre stage.
Foster was speaking at a press conference ahead of New Zealand’s first Bledisloe Cup game against Australia, and admitted he was bored to sleep by the second Lions test.
Highlights from yesterday’s 27-9 loss to South Africa ⬇️
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) August 1, 2021
‘Teams are almost afraid to play.’
“I watched it between 10pm and 1am last night, it put me to sleep,” Foster said, via RugbyPass.
“The Lions series, the one we had here [in 2017], the one over there, it’s become very tight, almost risk-free type of series, aren’t they? Teams are almost afraid to play, they are just relying on a low-risk strategy.
“So we are seeing two teams who desperately want to win a big series playing low-risk, highly-effective rugby.
“Both of them are good at the close contact stuff, the close quarter fighting, the kick and chase, and the pressure game. Two teams playing a similar style, it’s a bit of a slugfest.”
Lions and Springboks have one last chance to entertain.
While the series is still in the balance, this year’s Lions tour has been a largely forgettable affair so far, with very few exciting moments to choose from.
The Lions warm-up matches were all high-scoring but one-sided, except for the South Africa ‘A’ game, and while the test series has been far more competitive, it has been no more entertaining.
The two tests, as well as the aforementioned South Africa ‘A’ warm-up game, have all been cagey, turgid affairs, in which both backlines have had few opportunities to show off their attacking abilities.
Unfortunately, there is no real reason to believe that will change in the deciding test, as the pressure and desire to win by any means necessary will be more suffocating than ever.