Former Springbok flank Francois Louw says England’s players will want to prove a point during the British & Irish Lions tour in 2021.
Louw – who recently retired from professional rugby after his contract with Bath expired – was speaking on the SA Rugby podcast, reflecting on his 14-year career which ultimately culminated in the Springboks’ World Cup win in 2019.
The Springboks’ next big mission will be facing the British & Irish Lions in the three-Test series when they tour South Africa in 2021.
Having spent the last decade in Bath, Louw has a good knowledge of the British and Irish culture and said that the England players, in particular, will have a point to prove after the events at the World Cup.
‘I think it is an exciting prospect for a British or Irish player,’ Louw explained. ‘Obviously to represent your country is huge, it’s a pinnacle. But then over here there’s that little extra stick of making the Lions squad – that you are part of the best of the best. You are good enough to play for your country, but you are also good enough to play for a team that’s made up of a collective of countries and you are the best of that group.
‘So, it is a level up. It’s a big motivation for the guys over here. They all want to be involved in that. They all want to be selected to play a Test match with the Lions shirt on.
‘I am sure they will be relishing the opportunity to play in South Africa. Obviously a big bulk of the team is made up of English players and with us having beaten England in the final, I think they will have a point to prove.
‘Those players become different when they have that Lions shirt on. They are a good outfit and have always been. It’s a tough tour for them, they play a lot of midweek games. To have it in South Africa is really exciting for the guys over here. Especially for the fans, everyone is talking about it. I believe it is going to provide for an awesome spectacle.’
The 35-year-old took part in three World Cups between 2011 and 2019 and opened up about what ultimately got the Springboks over the line in the latter tournament.
‘To really line up and compare the three tournaments and look at the differences, is quite difficult,’ said Louw.
‘In 2010, we had two teams in the Vodacom Super Rugby final, yet New Zealand ended up winning the 2011 World Cup – how does that work? It goes against what you think the momentum really should have been.
‘Looking at last year, what really stood out for me, was the process of alignment that Rassie Erasmus had instilled in us. There was a complete and utter belief that we could do this, albeit that we lost the opening Test against NZ.
‘The hope and belief, determination and attitude towards preparation was unwavering. That played a massive role in our victory in Japan.’
Photo: Getty Images