"I think it will be difficult for this group of players to excel on Saturday" - O'Gara

"I think it will be difficult for this group of players to excel on Saturday" - O'Gara

Former British and Irish Lions flyhalf Ronan O'Gara has expressed his concerns over Warren Gatland's combinations ahead of the first test against the Springboks on Saturday.

Speaking on Off The Ball's Wednesday Night Rugby, the La Rochelle coach compared Gatland's lineup to that of a Barbarians side or a World XV.


O'Gara highlighted the lack of game time among the combinations with the likes of Price and Biggar starting for the first time as a halfback pairing on Saturday. In fact, the only combination in the starting backline to start a test match together on the tour so far is that of Robbie Henshaw and Elliot Daly - who were the starting centres in the last preparation game against the Stormers.

"I think it will be difficult for this group of players to excel on Saturday because they've not had enough time together to establish a style of play, cohesion, or relationships among them." O'Gara said.

"When you look at it: a Scottish nine, a Welsh 10, an Irish 12 and an English 13."


This led to O'Gara to say that the cohesion from a single test team like Ireland or England would stand a better chance than the best of the four nations.


"I'm of the opinion that you need a few weeks. I was asking myself whether Ireland, Scotland, England or Wales as a single entity have a better chance of beating South Africa - I probably think they would.

"The difference between a settled side that have established relationships, trust, systems of play - I have a feeling this looks like a Barbarians side or a World XV playing South Africa because of the limited time.

"There was some very interesting data online today with the lack of combinations of this current test Lions team going into battle, it seems the advantage is very much with South Africa."

The first test between the Springboks and Lions kicks off on Saturday 24 July at 17:00 (BST) at Cape Town Stadium.

Latest News