One of the greatest British & Irish Lions of them all, Gareth Edwards, is expecting the Lions and the Springboks to stand "toe to toe" in this weekend’s first Test in Durban.
The man who helped mastermind the 3-0 drubbing of South Africa in 1974 was at the ABSA Stadium this week to coach youngster at the latest HSBC Rugby Festival in his role as an Ambassador for the Lions’ Principal Partner.
“The Lions have to stand up and be counted in Durban. I expect to see both sides standing toe to toe because that’s how games at this level are decided,” said Edwards.
“Provincial matches are good preparation, but the bar is raised significantly when you get to the Test matches.”
But Edwards believes the world champions might find it difficult to hit top gear straight away in Durban not having played together for so long. The last time the Springboks played as a side was against England in November, 2008.
“All the pressure is on South Africa because they will start as firm favourites in their own back yard. But will they come out and hit top gear, or will they struggle to find their feet for a while,” said Edwards.
“The big fear for the Springboks is they might be a bit undercooked going into the game. The great thing about the first Test is that everything is uncertain.
“The Lions need to put them under pressure and then see what happens. They have players who haven’t played a lot recently.
“One thing is certain, it is going to be a huge occasion and there will be a lot of tension, butterflies and expectation.”