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'Everyone is well aware Gats will make changes' - Lions skipper Jones

The tourists have big questions to answer mentally, tactically, and in terms of selection.

Alun Wyn Jones after the Lions' defeat.
Alun Wyn Jones after the Lions' defeat.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THERE’S ANOTHER NERVOUS wait for the Lions players as Warren Gatland makes up his mind around selection for the third and decisive Test against the Springboks.

Last night certainly left the Lions head coach with much to ponder and there are only a handful of players who can feel completely safe in terms of retaining their places.

Gatland will appreciate the need to maintain some element of cohesion but it also looks impossible for him not to make changes given that he has quality players to select from outside last night’s matchday 23.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones is one player who is certain to be retained in Gatland’s team but he recognises the nervy time ahead for others as the Lions look to bounce back from a humbling 27-9 defeat.

“We have got to get up and stay together, it’s still a squad effort,” said Jones last night. “Gats is notorious for making changes and we go again.

“There has been a lot said about a wounded Springbok, but I think the Lions have taken a dent today and we need to put it right.

“Everyone is well aware that Gats will make changes. There will probably be an opportunity for some and I have a feeling that people want to put it right. I could definitely feel that.”

With the Lions having faded badly in the final quarter yesterday as the Boks finished over the top of them, the likes of Jones and Gatland will have a big job on their hands around the mental side of the build-up to their third Test.

alun-wyn-jones-dejected-after-the-game Jones and the Lions were left dejected. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

On top of that, they have issues to resolve in the scrum, maul, aerial battle, and their attacking game. All in all, it was a worrying second half for the Lions.

“It was probably a momentum shift, wasn’t it?” said Jones.

“We probably came second best in the aerial battle and they got momentum from getting to the corners and the set-piece.

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“I think their maul turned up this week and put us under pressure.

“We did well at stifling the maul last week on the deck, probably something we need to look at. It was probably a by-product of the positive pressure we had early on in the game, but we probably just need to stick to the plan.

“Parts of the game that were prevalent and positive from last week weren’t there, particularly in the second half this week.

“We’re fortunate, we’ve got another week. It’s obviously going to be the biggest week of the tour now. It’s the last chance to put it right.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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