Saturday’s rugby makes headlines as Lions’ selection for today’s game is marked ‘spot on game’ by England international and Gatland reveals reasons for U-turn
Here are your rugby headlines for Saturday, July 3, before Wales and Lions kick in.
Bracken launches scathing Lions attack on Cowan-Dickie
Former England scrum-half Kyran Bracken attacked the British and Irish Lions over the selection of hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
The Exeter Chiefs star is expected to take his place on the bench for the British and Irish Lions’ opener on their South Africa tour against the Sigma Lions, although he apparently passed out in the final of Gallagher Premiership against the Harlequins last week on June 26. .
Despite return-to-play protocols, his return to action so soon after such a major head injury has sparked controversy.
Bracken, who leads a campaign against brain injury in sports and has spoken often about how concussions are treated in the game, was one of those dismayed by the selection.
“Luke is unconscious for over 20 seconds. Maybe 40-60 seconds. How can he play the next week? I’m absolutely disgusted that the powers that be is allowing this to happen. A stain on our big game,” he tweeted.
Asked about the inclusion of Cowan-Dickie earlier this week, Lions head coach Warren Gatland said: “When I first asked him how he was, he said he didn’t had never been hit like this before, so he’s done all the return-to-play protocols and he’s happy to be in training and he’s another real competitor. “
READ MORE: Lions v Sigma Lions kick-off time, team news & how to watch
READ MORE: How To Watch Lions On TV If You Don’t Have Sky Sports
Warren Gatland reveals why Lions train U-turn
Warren Gatland admits he had “an unfinished business” when it came to coaching the Lions again, although he swore he was done after the 2017 New Zealand tour.
The comic book series four years ago brought a sense of hollow satisfaction, and Gatland believed at the time that his successful association with the Lions had come to an end, his patience crunching at having been the target of a campaign. negative conducted in local media. .
“I hated the tour,” he later said, but over time he realized that after being part of Ian McGeechan’s coaching staff in 2009 who with the Springboks emerging as 2-1 winners in an epic streak, he wasn’t ready to go. the napkin.
“It was like there was an unfinished business. You realize that there is a lot of pressure and there are a lot of expectations,” he said.
“I have felt it on occasions when people disagreed with the decisions I made or when the New Zealand media criticized me like last time and tried to unsettle me. C was another challenge.
“But when you go and think about it, you realize what you’ve accomplished is pretty special, shooting with world champions.
“It’s pretty hard to turn down an offer to come back and coach the Lions and the opportunity you have to make special memories.”
South Africa overtakes Georgia in first warm-up
South Africa overcame a rusty start to the game to win 40-9 against Georgia in Pretoria in their first game since winning the 2019 World Cup.
In the first of two warm-up matches against the Georgians, the Springboks took their time breaking out the blocks and were half an hour behind after Aphelele Fassi’s early try was canceled by three penalties of Tedo Abzhandadze, while the visitors took advantage. of the indiscipline of the hosts.
However, the Springboks came back strong, taking advantage of a Georgian yellow card to take control of the game, with Bongi Mbonambi and Cobus Reinach performing quick tries just before the break.
The flurry prepared the hosts for the win, with Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies and Malcolm Marx adding more tries after the break.
The Springboks continue their preparations to face Warren Gatland’s men with another game with Georgia next Friday in Johannesburg.
Jonathan Davies names youngster he can’t wait to see against Canada
Welsh captain Jonathan Davies said Saturday afternoon’s clash with Canada is the perfect opportunity for the next generation of talent to show off on the international stage – and he’s delighted to see winger Tom Rogers in. action.
Davies is set to lead a Wales side who could give five uncapped players their debut against the Canadiens.
Winger Tom Rogers and lock Ben Carter are both expected to start, while Gareth Thomas, Taine Basham and Ben Thomas are all named from the bench.
And Davies believes the game in Cardiff is the perfect opportunity for the young members of this squad to make their mark.
Davies said: “We want to develop a team and bring more competition.
“One thing over the years that we probably haven’t had is strength in depth and with those opportunities now, that creates competition that then sets training standards, creates stronger and better teams. standards This is what will bring Welsh rugby.
“It’s an opportunity for these young guys. They played well for their region and now it’s an opportunity to show why they were selected and why they are good enough to play in the rugby test.”
Davies is particularly eager to see his Scarlets teammate Rogers in action, one day that will also see Leigh Halfpenny win her 100th Test draft including appearances for the Lions.
“Tom is a huge talent,” Davies added. “One of the things that impressed me is that this is his first year in senior rugby and he’s been in and around Leigh and Liam Williams at the club and picked their brains.
“You’ve watched his game grow and his work ethic has been great. He understands. He gets what it takes of him to be at the top level and he has two great mentors to Leigh and Liam.
“He took advantage of it and that’s what you need to do.”
READ MORE: Wales v Canada kick-off time, TV channel and full team news
Lawes Lions Warning
England’s Courtney Lawes has said the British and Irish Lions will not be drawn into a scuffle with the Sigma Lions when they kick off on Saturday night.
Lawes admits there is every chance the local side will be ready to offer a murderous welcome on behalf of the Rainbow Nation at Emirates Airline Park.
He thinks his team will have to be good if they want to keep a cool head.
“I’m not quite sure what we’re going to get in terms of the craic on the pitch and people trying to get us back, but we have a lot of fairly balanced players,” he said.
“We’re definitely not looking to start giving up in the first game of the tour. We’ll see what happens.
“No matter who you play, as a Lions team your opponents are always going to shoot you and they will always be ready to beat you.
“We’ll be prepared for that, but we’re always looking to impose our own physics on the game as well.
“This is our first game here, so it’s going to be important to take a good step forward and show what we’re going to do on this tour and – come the tests – what kind of a pack we’re going to be.”
Robbie Henshaw kicked out of Lions’ second game
Robbie Henshaw was excluded from the British and Irish Lions’ game against the Sharks on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury.
The Irish center impressed in the 28-10 victory over Japan which kicked off the tour at Murrayfield, but was overlooked for Saturday’s clash with the Sigma Lions and must now miss a second game.
“Robbie has a very slight hamstring strain that will prevent him from making the next game,” said a Lions spokesperson.
Owen Farrell and Chris Harris form the central partnership for the opener on South African soil, with Bundee Aki providing the bench cover.
Tom Curry is the only member of the initial Lions squad who hasn’t made it to the tour’s opening two matches due to a pectoral problem, but the England flanker has been training all week and is available to take on the Sharks.
“Tom suffered a minor injury when he arrived from Sale. He trains with the guys and competed today (Friday). We’ll see how he performs over the next few days,” the blows coach said. of foot Neil Jenkins.