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First Test: ROG on the challenges facing the Lions this Saturday

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:47 21 Jul 2021


Ronan O'Gara joined Wednesday Night Rugby to discuss the Lions' prospects ahead of their first test against the Springboks.

O'Gara believes that a lack of game time among the combinations does not augur well for the Lions ahead of the first test.

"I think it will be difficult for this group of players to excel on Saturday because they've not had enough time together to establish a style of play, cohesion, or relationships among them.

"When you look at it: a Scottish nine, a Welsh 10, an Irish 12 and an English 13."

O'Gara believes that a single entity side like Ireland or England would stand a better chance than the select best of the four nations.

"I'm of the opinion that you need a few weeks. I was asking myself whether Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales as a single entity have a better chance of beating South Africa - I probably think they would.

"The difference between a settled side that have established relationships, trust, systems of play - I have a suspicion this looks like a Barbarians side or a World XV playing South Africa because of the limited time.

"There was some very interesting data online today with the lack of combinations of this current test Lions team going into battle, it seems the advantage is very much with South Africa."

Lions: Murray or Price?

O'Gara had his say on the number nine situation for the Lions also.

"I would have played Conor, but I understand it as I think a lot of people don't understand that potentially you want to finish with your best XV - that is very evident nowadays.

"You are hoping that away from home for the first 30 minutes will be an arm wrestle, and your half-backs are going to be changed after 50.

"When you have someone the calibre of Murray and Farrell - and I think that Farrell is the key to the whole test series, personally.

"Any time there is an injury or something that isn't going well, I think that the lineup is stronger from a backs point of view."

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