Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has called on the British and Irish Lions to play South Africa ‘A’ a second time this Saturday.
The Lions will play a South Africa ‘A’ side which is loaded with Springboks who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup final on Wednesday, in what should prove to be the toughest game for the tourists yet.
Rassie Erasmus was speaking at a press conference after the South Africa ‘A’ team was named and argued that the Lions should play the same side again on Saturday, in an effort to reduce further covid cases.
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‘My view is that this will be the safest.’
“This game is very important, and we’d like to have another game on Saturday to give ourselves the best choice, and to give the Lions an opportunity to play against the best possible Springbok side,” Erasmus said.
“I don’t think they want to play against a team that didn’t have an opportunity to give our guys another chance, so we’re hoping for another game on Saturday.
“If we were in a position of being so powerful that we can just change it then we would just ask Warren [Gatland] and the team to have another SA ‘A’ game on Saturday.
“My view is that this will be the safest. We’ve been tested negative now two days in a row. We don’t have a positive case in our squad currently. We are sitting in our Cape Town hotel, we have a totally hard bubble with nobody moving anywhere.
“Everybody is negative, the British and Irish squad is negative, and my honest opinion is that if they are going to play against the Stormers or the Sharks, or we play against the Sharks coming in, the chance of infection is as good as we had when we played Georgia.”
Warren Gatland turns down Rassie Erasmus’ offer.
While Erasmus is clearly keen on a second warm-up game with the Lions for his South Africa ‘A’ side, the tourists’ head coach Warren Gatland has already turned down the offer.
Instead, the Lions will play the Stormers on Saturday as originally planned, in what will be the final warm-up game before the test series with the Springboks kicks off the following weekend.
Although South Africa won’t be getting their second warm-up game against the Lions, Wednesday’s game will act as great preparation for a number of senior Springboks players who haven’t gotten any game time in recent weeks.