Rassie ref rugby

Ref Nic Berry. Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Springboks must avoid the sin-bin to triumph over the Lions

The Springboks must ensure that they do not incur the wrath of Nic Berry if they are to overcome the British and Irish Lions on Saturday.

Rassie ref rugby

Ref Nic Berry. Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images

The British and Irish Lions have set out their stall to emulate a formula perfected by Exeter to give them an edge against the Springboks.

Springboks must avoid the sin-bin

Much has been made of tackles and officials in the build-up to the first Test between the Lions and Boks, and unless it Warren Gatland is bluffing his team will look to get their opponents sent to the bin.

Not with the sort of theatrics practiced by French skipper Anthony Jelonche against the Wallabies, but with their plot to exploit quick taps to win a string of penalties in the red zone.

READ: Springboks vs British and Irish Lions – First Test preview

The Springboks should be primarily focused on not playing inside their own half, but should they get hemmed in by the marauding Lions discipline will be key.

Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber will be aware of what the Lions might do and will have planned for it, but planning and execution could be world’s apart for a team that hasn’t had the best preparation for a tough Test series.

It seems a rarity that a game of elite level rugby goes by without a sin-binning, but if the Springboks ensure they keep 15 bodies on the field for 80 minutes, they will give themselves the ideal base to build a challenge against the tourists.

Kicking key to avoiding yellow 

Faf de Klerk
Faf de Klerk of South Africa A during the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour rugby match between South Africa A and BI Lions at Cape Town Stadium on 14 July 2021 ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Outside of poor tackling technique, it is relatively straight-forward to avoid a sin-binning if your team’s kicking game is firing on all cylinders.

To that point, much will depend on the performance of Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux, the Springboks main kickers.

The Springboks trio will be up against equally adept kickers in the Lions ranks in Ali Price, Dan Biggar and Stuart Hogg.

Discipline is a word thrown around a lot in a sport where the margin for error when it comes to cards is often razor-thin, but everything about the build-up suggests the Springboks will need a super-human effort to keep players out of the bin.

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