Former Wales and British & Irish Lions wing Shane Williams believes Warren Gatland’s team have enough to beat the Springboks in the upcoming Test series.
Both teams have named their squads for the series, which gets under way in July, with the Springboks announcing an extended 46-man contingent, including players that will do duty for the South Africa A side.
The Lions’ 37-man squad will assemble in Jersey for their training camp and face Japan in a warm-up match in Edinburgh on 26 June, before flying out to South Africa.
The Springboks, meanwhile, take on Georgia in a two-match series.
Speaking to the BBC, Williams, who toured with the Lions in 2005, 2009 and 2013, backed Gatland’s squad to beat the Boks.
‘I think the Lions have a strong enough squad to beat South Africa,’ Williams said. ‘They have players with confidence and I think the boys will do the business.
‘South Africa are the world champions and have some of the best players on the planet on that team and it’s all about the match-ups as well.
‘It is probably the strongest Lions squad in my lifetime. You have championship winners and players doing well for club and country, with some real experience blended with young talent.
‘The match-ups are fantastic, but I do think the Lions have them individually. Only time will tell and the Lions players have to play midweek games and prove to Gatland they are up for the job.’
Williams missed out on the first two Tests against the Springboks when the Lions last toured South Africa in 2009, but put in a man-of- the-match performance to help the Lions win the third Test.
He said that memories of the 2-1 series defeat will spur Gatland on, as he was the forwards coach of that team.
‘I was on the 2009 tour and it was the one that got away,’ Williams added. ‘It might have been 12 years ago, but it will be the same for Gats and he will be determined to go there and do the business.’
Photo: Getty Images