Gatland expects 20 minutes of 'hell' against Springboks

Cape Town (AFP) –


British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland expects 20 minutes of "hell" from the kick-off of the first Test against world champions South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.

Speaking less than an hour before the 1600 GMT kick-off, the New Zealander said: "We are going face 20 minutes of hell. It will be tough and hard, an arm wrestle, and we must maintain our discipline."

Pre-match media coverage has been dominated by the physicality the Springboks will bring to a match to be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Queried about the fact that only two Lions' combinations have played together on tour, Gatland said: "I do not foresee any problems. All our combinations have worked well during training this week."

The Lions have played five matches in South Africa ahead of the first Test, hammering four franchise teams severely weakened by the absence of their Springboks and losing narrowly to South Africa A.

South Africa have won eight, lost four and drawn one of the 13 previous Test series, with the rivalry beginning 130 years ago.

Teams (15-1)

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt); Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth; Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Rynhardt Elstadt, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Damian Willemse

Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)

Lions: Stuart Hogg; Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Jack Conan, Tom Curry, Courtney Lawes; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Maro Itoje; Tadhg Furlong, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Rory Sutherland

Replacements: Ken Owens, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Liam Williams

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

Referee: Nic Berry (AUS)