Maro Itoje warns Lions to organize for a backlash from South Africa

Maro Itoje fired a warning shot from historical past to brace the British and Irish Lions for a backlash from South Africa as they give the impression of being to finish a well-known collection victory over the world champions.

Itoje insists “we all know they’re coming” in anticipation of the ferocity the Springboks will carry to Cape City Stadium on Saturday after the Lions confirmed resilience to battle again from a 12-3 interval deficit to triumph 22-17 within the first Check.

Distinguished in Itoje’s thoughts is the lesson of twenty years in the past when Martin Johnson’s males crushed Australia within the opening match solely to lose the collection 2-1.

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“There’s a lot development on this group and recreation by recreation we’re getting higher,” stated Itoje, who was named because the collection opener’s man of the match after a towering show within the Lions’ second-row.

“We’re studying classes so I feel there may be extra to return from us, however the onus is on us to have a look at what we’ve accomplished.

“Clearly this was an incredible win, however I’m a person who likes to have a look at historical past and see how different excursions have unfolded.

“Trying on the 2001 Checks in Australia, they received the primary Check fairly convincingly after which went on to lose the following two.

“Profitable a Check match with the Lions is uncommon. We solely play as soon as each 4 years and it’s distinctive, however this win will imply nothing until we exit and win subsequent weekend.

“So whereas it is a nice win I’m proud to be a part of, we all know that we have to do a job subsequent weekend. That’s when it actually counts.

“We’re glad however we all know that we should be higher and stronger. The Springboks….we all know they’re coming.

“South Africa are a really proud rugby nation. I do know they’re massive on evaluation, they’ll take a look at that recreation so much, choose up developments, choose up methods they’ll enhance.

“They’re simply going to return with the next depth, they’re going to come more durable on the scrum, more durable on the line-out, more durable with their kicking recreation.”

One of many nice comebacks in Lions historical past appeared an unlikely prospect as Handre Pollard punished their indiscipline from the kicking tee to propel South Africa right into a promising lead.

However in a flip of occasions that bodes properly for the vacationers’ prospects within the second Check, they emerged from the interval with a renewed sense of objective to reveal vulnerabilities on the earth champions, whose build-up was disrupted by a serious outbreak of coronavirus.

“The primary half we got here out with an honest depth however not in all probability the depth we would have liked to,” Itoje stated.

“However most significantly, or to our detriment, we had been freely giving a variety of foolish penalties, we weren’t actually being as disciplined as we would have liked to be.

“And the second half we simply flipped it on its head, we got here out with the next depth and we saved our self-discipline much more and in consequence we had been in a position to put extra stress on them.

“At half-time we simply needed to belief ourselves a bit extra, belief our methods and improve the depth.

“Typically while you’re in that scenario you’ve two selections – both proceed what you’re doing and simply watch the scoreboard get away from you or put up your sleeves and try to flip it round. We tried to do the latter and thankfully for us it was profitable.”

Itoje’s solely disappointment from the night in Cape City was the absence of Lions followers to witness an completed victory after the coronavirus pandemic dictated that every one matches in South Africa should be performed behind closed doorways.

“It’s in fact totally different, it’s plain that it’s totally different. If it was regular instances Cape City would have been completely bouncing. I’m fairly unhappy that there have been no followers within the stadium,” Itoje stated.

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