To emphasize areas of concern from the perspective of the referee, issues can also be brought up subtly. As an illustration, if I were Steve, I may inquire about how many head injury exams South Africa requested during their victory over France.
I don’t doubt their legitimacy, but there have been some rumors about them, and if I were to bring it up, I would emphasize how out of the ordinary it appeared and raise concerns about the process.
Rassie is quite skilled at delivering remarks that are both complimentary and that also raise a point or message that he wants to get through. He has already made fun of France during this World Cup by claiming that their players practice simulation.
I used to believe that I got along with him very well. We went out for beers together following Wales’ first game under his leadership, against South Africa, in June 2018 in Washington.
And in 2019, after they defeated us in the World Cup semifinal in Japan, I walked inside their locker room to congratulate him and his team on their victory and wish them luck in the championship match.
But after the Lions tour, everything was different. I suppose that when it comes to the Lions, I am a bit of a romantic.
I see it as a time to celebrate rugby, to allow the game speak for itself and to engage the crowd. Due to the Covid epidemic, we didn’t have any fans on the tour of 2021, and in light of the situation, I felt the more strongly that it was our duty to make it a trip that glorified rugby and gave people something to cheer about at home.
Additionally, they have players who are very experienced and who, in my opinion, have a few huge games left in them. The fact that they will be playing the Boks won’t intimidate guys like Owen Farrell.
Getting through the pool stages may not have been at their peak, but I believe the bigger games will bring forth their finest performance. They are also physically strong enough to face the Springboks in set pieces and with their kicking.
I believe England put on a strong showing despite the apparent expectation that South Africa will win the match handily.