Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is ready for the battle against the Lions. Picture: Willem Loock/BackpagePix.
Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is ready for the battle against the Lions. Picture: Willem Loock/BackpagePix.

Under-cooked Springboks could be really tough to digest for British Lions

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Bongi Mbonambi isn’t paying much mind to those saying the Springboks are undercooked going into the three-Test Series against the British & Irish Lions, and he didn’t have much to say on the matter when asked about it during a press conference, either.

Instead, the vibe he gave off was that he wants the Boks to do their talking on the field.

The Springboks will take on Warren Gatland’s group in the opener at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. The match kicks off at 6pm.

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During the team announcement press conference Mbonambi, who will start at hooker with Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane on either side of him, was asked about the lack of Test preparation the Boks have had since the World Cup, compared to the Lions, who gave had no shortage of international or club minutes.

The Boks have played just one Test since the World Cup final in Japan on November 2, 2019, against Georgia early July - exactly 20 months since their World Cup triumph.

And while it goes without saying that it’s a situation that is far from ideal for Jacques Nienaber’s group, the World Cup-winning hooker is confident that they have done everything they could to be prepared amid all the disruptions.

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“All the training that we have been doing has been geared towards starting on the front foot. It’s easy to start on the front foot, but you of course want to be on the front foot for 80 minutes.

“We are at a bit of a disadvantage and that is one of the realities of Covid, but we have been doing as much as we can on the training pitch and with reviews.

“Being in isolation was quite tough, we couldn’t get much physical stuff done, so most of the preparation we did was more mental and analysing other teams.

“When we stepped onto the training pitch on Monday we wanted to step it up and show that we are here mentally and physically and that we can match the intensity of the team.

“We have the whole week to prepare, so we are just going to make sure that we are as ready as can be and that we are ready for battle.

“There are a lot of talks about us being underdone, but I think that’s just throwing petrol on the fire, let’s see how it goes on Saturday.”


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