Springbok pack awesome but beware of Kolbe, warns Watson
JOHANNESBURG: British and Irish Lions wing Anthony Watson said on Tuesday that there is much more to the Springboks than huge forwards and brilliant tactical kickers, singling out Cheslin Kolbe as a huge threat.
The Springbok wing scored the try that wrapped up a decisive 2019 World Cup final triumph for South Africa in Japan over an England team including Watson.
Watson and serial Wales try scorer Josh Adams are favoured to start on the wings in the first of three Tests against the world champions at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
Speaking in an online news conference, Watson said: “Whoever is up against Cheslin will have to make sure they do their homework in order to nullify the threats he possesses.
“Everyone is aware of his skills and how much he can influence a game. You can also flip it on its head and try and look at where you can expose him on a one-to-one basis when he is defending.”
Meanwhile, Lions assistant coach Neil Jenkins says Wales full-back Liam Williams has successfully completed his concussion protocols ater being injured in a 17-13 loss to South Africa A last week.
He and Scot Stuart Hogg are in contention for the number 15 jersey with the Lions seeking a winning start as they eye a fith series victory in 14 tours of South Africa.
Another Scot, fly-half Finn Russell, is the only player ruled out of the first Test, due to an Achilles injury, but he could be considered for the other two.
“Everyone is good to go. Only Finn is missing out,” said Jenkins. “The players will be informed of the matchday 23 tonight (Tuesday), with the official announcement on Wednesday.”
The Lions team was originally due to be named on Thursday but, like the Springboks who revealed their matchday 23 on Tuesday 24 hours ahead of schedule, the tourists’ announcement was also brought forward.
“It could go either way on Saturday,” said Jenkins when asked to predict the first Test outcome. “The Springboks are going to be very good, we know that, and we are just looking for any slight advantage.
“We can assess their strengths and weaknesses, if there are any weaknesses in a side of such quality. We will look at individuals, from the point of view of the scrums and the line-outs,” he said.
“We will look at all aspects and every area where we can get a fraction of an advantage. Test matches like this will have a very thin line and there will not be much in it.”