The SA Rugby magazine team provide their predictions for the third and decisive Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions.
Craig Lewis (editor): Boks by 7
In my view, Warren Gatland has finally settled on his best matchday squad selection of the series, while the Boks have lost two of their most influential players in Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit. My pre-tour prediction was for this series to be all squared up at 1-1 at this point, with the expectation that the Boks would always be vastly improved in the second Test. The fact the Boks won’t be at full-strength for the series-decider does suggest this third Test could go down to the wire, but in the second half of the second Test, they rediscovered the composure, confidence and qualities of a world champion side. On that basis, I’d back the Boks to pick up where they left off, while finishing off the Lions.
Zelim Nel (deputy editor): Boks by 9
My prediction: The boot of Handre Pollard puts the world champions into a half-time lead and Gatland responds to the mounting scoreboard pressure by injecting Sam Simmonds and Finn Russell with 30 to go. Initially, it seems like a masterstroke as Simmonds out-Kwaggas the Boks and Russell steps Vincent Koch to create a half-gap that goes to waste. But everything changes in the final 10 minutes when Franco Mostert rushes Russell and the Scotland flyhalf forces a flat pass that Cheslin Kolbe has spent his whole life waiting for – 60 metres later, Pollard converts the intercept try for the win.
Mariette Adams (senior writer): Boks by 5
I see all the talk of the Boks having been weakened by the injury-enforced absences of Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit, while at the other end Warren Gatland has supposedly selected his strongest lineup for this decider. Two factors which many believe make the tourists favourites to clinch a historic series win in South Africa on Saturday afternoon. But I raise you a Springbok squad (yes squad, not just team) that thrives under pressure, is dead set on dying the odds and one that produces its best when their backs are to the wall. Writing off these Springboks will only spur them on to perform at an even higher level than they did in game two. This will be a closely contested Test, but the Boks’ bomb squad will come on and make all the difference to win the game and the series for the hosts.
Dylan Jack (staff writer): Lions by 2
The Springboks will be without Faf de Klerk and Pieter-Steph du Toit, which could have a massive impact on their dominance. The Lions, on the other hand, have only strengthened with the return of Liam Williams and Josh Adams especially. That should prove the difference in what will be a very tight and tense encounter.