Predictions: Why All Black sits on the fence on Boks v B&I Lions
INTERVIEW: Three of New Zealand’s biggest names were asked by @rugby365com for their predictions for the upcoming British and Irish Lions series in South Africa.
The Lions are scheduled to start their eight-match tour on July 3 with the first of three Tests against the Boks coming three weeks later on July 24.
The Springboks have not played a Test since their World Cup Final victory against England in November 2019, which is seen as a concern by many Bok fans.
It is also something All Black scrumhalf TJ Perenara and lock Brodie Retallick thought about when they were asked who they think will take the series.
The issue of fans attending the games was something that influenced star flyhalf Beauden Barrett’s prediction.
“Is there going to be a crowd?” Barrett asked when he was pushed for an answer.
After sharing a report from England that the B&I Lions’ famous ‘Red Army’ will probably not be travelling to South Africa, the All Black flyhalf said it will be “2-1 to the Boks”.
(Article continues below video …)
‘Sea of red’
Barrett knows the significance of the B&I Lions fans as he felt their presence during the series in New Zealand back in 2017.
That three-Test series ended in a 1-all draw.
“I guess having that home advantage is important, especially if the fans from the UK can support their team. I guess that is a big part of it,” said Barrett.
“The sea of red travelling and the singing just adds to the significance of the Lions series. It’s exciting and hopefully, they can make this happen. It wouldn’t be the same if there were no fans, but it would be great to see the match.”
The other two All Blacks, Perenara and Retallick, were more on the fence when asked for their predictions.
“It’s hard to beat South Africa in South Africa no matter what team you are in the world,” said Perenara.
“What’s going against the Springboks is the number of games they played since the World Cup Final and the amount of time they have spent as a team.
“But it’s hard to bet against South Africa in South Africa. They are a really good team.”
Retallick echoed Perenara’s sentiments.
“It’s always hard beating South Africa in South Africa,” said Retallick.
“A massive part of the Lions experience for me was having their travelling supporters. They almost took over the stadiums with the singing and the chants which is massive support.
“It will be a tough one, but they [Springboks] probably didn’t have much rugby in terms of Test rugby. But it’s very hard to beat South Africa in South Africa.”
Barrett, Perenara and Retallick are all currently playing in the Japanese Top League.
Barrett plays for Suntory Sungoliath, Perenara for NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes and Retallick represents Kobelco Steelers.
- Interview courtesy of @JRFURugby