South Africa vs British and Irish Lions: Who will impress as Warren Gatland's men attempt to win series?
Watch the British and Irish Lions' second Test against South Africa this Saturday, live on Sky Sports Lions from 3pm; We look at talking points, including will Chris Harris and Robbie Henshaw's midfield partnership work? Will the 'Bomb Squad' thrive? The coaching battle and more…
By Jack Collins
Last Updated: 31/07/21 11:44am
The British and Irish Lions face South Africa on Saturday in the second Test, live on Sky Sports.
The Lions lead 1-0 after beating the current world champions 22-17 last Saturday in the opening Test.
The tourists now have the chance to seal their first series win against the Springboks since the iconic 1997 tour.
Here are some of the key talking points ahead of this weekend's crucial game…
Rassie Erasmus launched an extraordinary video after what he felt was a biased performance from the officials during the first Test.
Erasmus said he was prepared to step down from his role as SA Director of Rugby as he highlighted 26 clips of where the Springboks got the short end of the whistle as he criticised Australian referee Nic Berry and his officials.
Berry will be running the touchline in the second Test as an assistant to New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe. Mathieu Raynal of France will be the other assistant and South African Marius Jonker the TMO again.
Erasmus could face sanctions from World Rugby for his outspoken criticism, but what impact could this have on Saturday?
While Erasmus could be looking to take the pressure off the Springboks ahead of Saturday's crucial clash, he may regret airing his grievances and frustrations in such a public fashion.
The Lions have dismissed the criticism, with assistant coach Robin McBryde saying he expects nothing different from officials in the second Test.
"We had an honest discussion with the referees and everyone realises they are in a tough place," said McBryde.
"They have got a tough job to do, but we were really happy with Nic Berry last Saturday. I don't think it will be any different this week either."
Will Henshaw's midfield partnership with Harris work?
Perhaps the most intriguing selection decision sees Chris Harris replacing Elliot Daly at 13 in the midfield.
It is the latest surprise sprung by head coach Warren Gatland as Harris will partner Robbie Henshaw for the first time on tour.
Despite not having his best game in the opening match, Daly's ability to kick long-range penalties had been seen as pivotal.
There was also debate as to whether Owen Farrell would be brought in to provide an additional playmaking option.
The England captain must settle for a place on the bench again, though, as the Lions aim to wrap the series up.
Will the 'Bomb Squad' make an impact?
Much was made of whether South Africa's formidable bench would make the difference in the first Test.
However, it was the Lions who had the more impactful substitutions, with Mako Vunipola, Conor Murray and Farrell all impressing in the second half.
The home side have returned to their successful 'Bomb Squad' composition of six forwards and two backs for this clash as the Springboks look to overpower the tourists.
The South Africans used the same tactic in the 2019 World Cup final, which saw England's forward pack get overwhelmed in Yokohoma.
The Lions must avoid the same fate if they're to ensure the series is not levelled at Cape Town Stadium.
Murray in for aerial contest
Although Ali Price did nothing wrong in the opener, Murray starred off the bench, with his box-kicking causing all sorts of problems.
The Irish scrum-half will be expected to perform that role from the start as the visitors look to dominate the aerial battle once again.
South Africa also tend to utilise the high ball and have one of its best exponents in Faf de Klerk, who will be desperate to bounce back on Saturday.
However, with a back three of Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson and Duhan van der Merwe, the Lions will be confident of dealing with any aerial threat.
The front-row battle
After coming off the bench to great effect last Saturday, Vunipola comes in for Rory Sutherland in the front-row.
The England international held his own at scrum time in the first Test and that battle will be vital once again in determining which side comes out on top.
The Saracens loosehead was part of an English pack that were dominated by South Africa in the 2019 World Cup final.
Alongside Luke Cowan-Dickie and Tadhg Furlong, Vunipola will be aiming for a measure of retribution against a fired-up Springboks pack.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Jack Conan.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Ali Price, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly.
Every match from the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa will be exclusively live on Sky Sports; fans who don't have Sky will be able to catch all the action via streaming service NOW TV, which offers day and month passes.