Ronan O’Gara believes South Africa are the strong favourites to win the third test as the British and Irish Lions don’t have an established style of play.
The Lions looked to be on their way to winning the test series at half time, but the Springboks came firing out of the blocks in the second half and ground their way to an 18-point victory to set up a winner-takes-all final test match.
Former Ireland and Lions fly-half O’Gara was speaking on Sky Sports after the game and admitted that he believes the test series is now firmly in the Springboks’ favour.
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Ronan O’Gara on the Springboks’ dominant performance.
“No complaints. It’s ended up a big, big defeat. I would disagree with Ian [McGeechan] in the fact that I think it’s major advantage South Africa,” O’Gara commented.
“Why do I say that? I say that because I think they have an established game plan that they have huge trust in. As Sam [Warburton] alluded to in commentary, it’s one thing knowing that the ball is coming in the air.
“They don’t select wingers or back three players who are good at counter-attacking. I think they select people who are good in the air.
“The subject matter is about winning the ball in the air against South Africa because their Plan A is kick, kick, kick.
“They scored two tries from attacking kicks but they ruled the air this afternoon. Unless the Lion sort that out it will be the same result again.”
Winner-takes-all in third test.
After the South Africa ‘A’ warm-up match and the first test, the general consensus was that the Springboks were unable to maintain their intensity levels for 80 minutes, but they put that theory firmly to bed today.
Today’s game was a mirror image to the first test in a number of ways, as South Africa were dominant in the air this evening, having come off second best in the aerial battle last Saturday.
The Springboks stuck to the game plan which delivered them a Rugby World Cup in 2019, in a game that was reminiscent of that final against England in Yokohama almost two years ago.
South Africa will employ the exact same game plan next Saturday, which leaves Warren Gatland and the Lions to figure out how to deal with their suffocating style of play.