Lions want fewer stoppages in series decider

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland said on Tuesday he would be speaking to the referees about ensuring a faster tempo for this weekend’s series-deciding third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Gatland announced six changes to his starting team after the Lions were beaten 27-9 by the Springboks at the same venue this past Saturday.

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Four of the changes were in the backline and two among the forwards, with Gatland admitting that the Lions had lost the aerial battle in the second Test.

Prop Kyle Sinckler will be among the replacements this Saturday after being found not guilty after an independent disciplinary hearing probed allegations that he bit Springbok lock Franco Mostert.

Asked whether the Lions would change their approach to a match which Gatland has previously likened to a cup final, the coach said: “We definitely want to play some more rugby.”

Gatland said the slow tempo of Saturday’s match, which lasted 126 minutes, had been frustrating and contributed to the Lions being unable to impose themselves.

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“We felt like [at] every scrum there was an injury, slowing the game down. There was something like 14 minutes of TMO [television match official]. It was really, really stop-start.

“That made it frustrating for us. We want to keep the tempo of the game up, to get a flow.

“South Africa at the moment don’t want to do that. [Captain] Alun Wyn Jones was talking to the referee on a number of occasions about keeping it going.

“We had stud changes, we had TMO decisions, we had the referee stopping the game for cramp. So that will be one of the things that I will talk to the referees about this week. We can’t have 60-odd minute halves.”

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Dylan Jack