Gordon D’Arcy believes the British & Irish Lions will be facing more than just the Springbok team when they tour South Africa next year.
The Lions, under the tutelage of Warren Gatland, will be back in South Africa in 2021 and, according to D’Arcy, it could just about be the elite team’s most challenging tour and Test series in recent history.
‘Once you start getting into the rugby country it’s not just you against the 23 South African players, it’s you against the whole country. It gives it that feel of being a really intimidating place to go,’ D’Arcy said.
‘You look at the pack South Africa have with Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is World Rugby Player of the Year. They’re a hugely, hugely physical threat and they’ve really rediscovered a passionate leader in Siya Kolisi.
‘The challenge for the Lions is always pulling players from four different countries together and getting them to work in a cohesive manner. But they’ve got the best guy possible in charge in Gatland, while they’ve got a big power base built from the young players,’ he added.
‘You’ve got players like Stuart Hogg who are going to add that dynamism, so there’s an awful lot there. The fact that they’re playing the world champions makes it a mouthwatering series.
‘We’ve seen what dynamics do to a group of players and if you look at what the South African side play for, they have a huge motivational factor.
‘They will have that again next summer after their World Cup triumph, so it’s going to be a really, really interesting series. There are few harder places to go, but I do think this is a really good, strong Lions group who are going there, so I can’t wait for it already.’
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