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Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber expects the coaching continuity and experience of Warren Gatland to pose a massive challenge during next year’s British & Irish Lions tour.

The first Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions is scheduled to take place exactly a year from today in Johannesburg. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, speaking on the SA Rugby Podcast, said he is expecting more of the same from Gatland and his touring team when they arrive in South Africa in 2021.

Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row
Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

It will be Nienaber’s second encounter with the British & Irish Lions after he was involved with Western Province in 2009. The tourists won a tough tussle in torrential rain 26-23 at Newlands in Cape Town.

Gatland has not lost a series since being appointed as Lions head coach in 2012. The New Zealander was involved in the 2009 Tour as a forwards coach and has since coached the invitational team to a 2-1 series win against Australia – which included a massive 41-16 victory in the final Test – as well as a 1-1 series draw against the All Blacks after the final encounter ended in a 15-15 stalemate.

‘Warren Gatland’s coaching ability and experience, and the teams he assembled on their two previous tours to Australia and New Zealand, speaks for itself,’ Nienaber said.

‘The series victory in Australia was their first in 16 years since they beat the Boks in 1997, and we know how tough it is to get a win or a draw in New Zealand.

‘Warren and his coaching staff are very experienced in the Lions set-up, what is needed to fuse players from four teams and four different styles of play, and what buttons to press to unlock the emotions, skill sets and grunt from various countries.

Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row
Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

‘They will certainly have all their ducks in a row and it will be a massive challenge for us.’

Gatland returned to New Zealand after finishing his 13-year tenure as Wales coach last year and is busy coaching the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

A concern for Nienaber is that he does not know what to expect from the Lions, but the Springbok coach says he is taking note of what Gatland is doing with the Chiefs.

‘The negative for us is that we don’t know what type of playing style they will bring to South Africa,’ Nienaber admitted.

‘We’re watching Warren with the Chiefs at the moment, to see what direction they are taking as he might bring some of that over to SA next year. There certainly is enough intrigue and storylines involved that makes for one massive clash next year.’

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British Lions Rugby tour 2021 – Springboks think to meet well-drilled

According to Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, next year’s tour of the British and Irish Lions to South Africa will pose a massive challenge to his team.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has offered effusive praise for the British and Irish Lions and their coach Warren Gatland. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Gatland will coach the Lions for the third time when they tour South Africa in 2021, completing the traditional set having already taken the team to Australia and his native New Zealand.

British Lions Rugby tour 2021
British Lions Rugby tour 2021

Formerly the coach of Wales, Gatland has taken up a position with the Chiefs who will grant him leave to mentor the Lions. His time in Waikato has made a rough start with the team failing to win a match in Super Rugby Aotearoa to date.

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS WILL BE READY TO FACE SPRINGBOKS

Nienaber expects Gatland’s Lions to be a different prospect though and is relishing testing himself against the veteran coach.

“Warren Gatland’s coaching ability and experience, and the teams he assembled on their two previous tours to Australia and New Zealand, speaks for itself,” said Nienaber.

“The series victory in Australia was their first in 16 years since they beat the Boks in 1997, and we know how tough it is to get a win or a draw in New Zealand.

“Warren and his coaching staff are very experienced in the Lions set-up, what is needed to fuse players from four teams and four different styles of play, and what buttons to press to unlock the emotions, skill sets and grunt from various countries.

“They will certainly have all their ducks in a row and it will be a massive challenge for us.”

British Lions Rugby tour 2021 - Springboks think to meet well-drilled
British Lions Rugby tour 2021 – Springboks think to meet well-drilled

ONE EYE ON THE CHIEFS

Nienaber said that he and his technical team had one eye on what Gatland was doing at the Chiefs to perhaps glean some insights.

“The negative for us, is that we don’t know what type of playing style they will bring to South Africa,” said Nienaber.

“We’re watching Warren with the Chiefs at the moment, to see what direction they are taking as he might bring some of that over to SA next year. There certainly is enough intrigue and storylines involved that makes for one massive clash next year.”

The British and Irish Lions are set to play eight matches in all in South Africa with five tour games augmenting the three Tests.

The first Test in the three-match series is slated to take place on Saturday 24 July 2021 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. A week later they will face the Springboks again at Newlands before the series wraps up back in Johannesburg at Ellis Park.

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British Irish Lions Tour – Decision spurs fresh concern for the player benefit

The British and Irish Lions have been given the go-ahead to tour South Africa next summer – sparking fresh concern for player welfare.

Weeks of uncertainty ended when organizers confirmed that the eight-match trip, culminating in three Tests against the world champion Springboks, will take place as originally scheduled. Both parties had been prepared to push the tour back into the autumn. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British Irish Lions Tour
British Irish Lions Tour

If it freed up a summer slot for global rugby to at least make a start on repairing its parlous financial situation. But with club and country unable to agree on a route out of COVID crisis, the Lions have chosen to go ahead as planned.

Starting in Cape Town on July 3 and running through to August 7, when the final Test is staged at Ellis Park The fortnight-long series clashes directly with the Olympics but of greater concern to players will be that it leaves next to time for rest from the moment the English Premiership resumes next month.

Just this week former England star Freddie Burns launched a scathing attack on rugby bosses in these pages over the ‘brutal’ Premiership demands being imposed on the country’s stars.

He condemned as “madness” the revised schedule, which sees clubs play seven times in 28 days to finish this campaign in time to start the next one less than a month later.

“Player welfare is a term we hear a lot about,” said the Japan-bound fly-half.

“But I don’t think it’s quite backed up by anyone in the game.”

Elite players in England are limited to 30 full games – or 35 matches ‘involvements’ of 20 minutes or more – under the agreement between clubs, country, and players’ union. Yet the top players face the prospect of up to five Tests in the autumn and a Six Nations Championship in the spring.

British Irish Lions Tour
British Irish Lions Tour

Add to that two European Cups and one and a half domestic league campaigns before the Lions even set off on safari and difficult conversations are looming.

Days after Premiership Rugby boss Darren Childs claimed “every single club is absolutely on board and supportive” with the schedule, Damian Hopley revealed that the players’ union he leads are still discussing the small print.

Whatever the state of the Lions when they finally assemble, South Africa has vowed to lay on a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for their fans – while challenging home supporters to “ensure the army of red does not dwarf our sea of green and gold”.

Seven players and two non-playing staff, from a pool of 856, have tested positive in Premiership Rugby’s second round of COVID testing.

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