Former Ireland and British & Irish Lions wing Tommy Bowe has warned the visitors to expect a tough series against the Springboks during their 2021 tour of South Africa.
Bowe was a member of the Lions squad that last toured South Africa in 2009, when the tourists suffered a 2-1 series defeat by the Springboks.
He started all three Tests against the Boks, but Bowe most vividly remembers the thrilling second Test, when the hosts claimed a 28-25 victory at Loftus Versfeld thanks to Morne Steyn’s long-range penalty winner.
Speaking to the Lions website, Bowe recalled his feelings on that day and the incredible atmosphere created by the supporters.
‘It’s going to be an incredible series and it will be incredibly difficult for the Lions,’ Bowe told the Lions website.
‘My memories of that 2009 Tour are just that second Test – I will never forget the bus going to the stadium in Pretoria. I’ve never seen passion from a crowd like I saw that day going into the stadium in Pretoria – people were shaking the bus and shouting all sorts!
‘The reverberation of the crowd in the changing room of the stadium was just outrageous – you could just feel the supporters right outside.’
Bowe added that the World Cup-winning Springbok side with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Pieter-Steph du Toit will put the Lions through a tough series next year.
‘The Lions are going to be up against the world champions, and South Africa showed that they’re ruthless, physical and a match for anyone. The way they played against England in the World Cup Final, they just showed how difficult they are to play against.
‘I think Pieter-Steph du Toit is just an absolute machine, and of course they’ve also got Cheslin Kolbe, who’s at the opposite end of the spectrum size-wise but is just so gifted. He’s somebody who, the minute he gets the ball in his hands, can get the whole crowd on their feet to see what he can do. They have no shortage of talent in their team, so it’s going to be an incredible series.’
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images