How B&I Lions will 'negate' Boks' midfield threat
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Damian de Allende’s performances in the last two Tests has made him a target.
The powerful centre will become the third Springbok in the Lions Series to reach the career milestone of 50 Test caps in Saturday’s decider in Cape Town.
The Munster centre was integral during the second Test – making 11 carries, 23 metres, eight tackles (missed one).
The 29-year-old along with partner Lukhanyo Am have not put a foot wrong.
Both have been imposing figures on defence, while their attacking prowess has caused major problems for the tourists.
The Springbok centres have not enjoyed much fanfare, however, since the 2019 World Cup the pair have shown that there are very few centre pairs that can get the better of them.
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British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland will be hoping his plan will nullify the pair’s impact.
Gatland has opted to employ the ‘familiar combination’ of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw for the final Test.
The New Zealander paired Henshaw with Elliot Daily and Chris Harris for the first two Tests.
Aki comes in at the inside centre and his Ireland teammate Henshaw moves to the outside.
“The midfield has always been a bit of a discussion and a debate for us,” Gatland told reporters on Tuesday.
“Looking at the physicality that Bundee brought during South Africa ‘A’ [versus B&I Lions] match and the combo of him and Henshaw working together will add much-needed physicality,”
He added: “The Boks used De Allende a lot off nine and I think Aki will negate that and get some go-forward himself,”
The Lions face a major task as they set out to secure only a third series win in South Africa since the beginning of the 20th century.