Rugby-Lions primed to take down Springboks in series decider says Owens

British & Irish Lions hooker Ken Owens believes the team are in a good place heading into Saturday's crunch series decider against world champions South Africa in Cape Town as he prepares for a different role in the side. The Lions won the first test 22-17 but were comprehensively beaten 27-9 in a fiery, ill-tempered second fixture in which the Springboks dominated the forward exchanges late on, and has delivered the potential for either to grab the series.


Reuters | Updated: 05-08-2021 19:09 IST | Created: 05-08-2021 19:09 IST
Rugby-Lions primed to take down Springboks in series decider says Owens

British & Irish Lions hooker Ken Owens believes the team are in a good place heading into Saturday's crunch series decider against world champions South Africa in Cape Town as he prepares for a different role in the side.

The Lions won the first test 22-17 but were comprehensively beaten 27-9 in a fiery, ill-tempered second fixture in which the Springboks dominated the forward exchanges late on, and has delivered the potential for either to grab the series. "We are in a good place, we’ve trained really well this week with plenty of intensity," Owens told reporters on Thursday.

"We know the (physical) challenge they bring, it is something they pride themselves on. We do likewise and the set-piece was pretty good the week before. We know there are things we can fix." Owens will earn his fifth Lions cap on his first start. He is confident he can make the switch from a role as an impact player off the bench to one who gets the visitors onto the front foot from the first whistle.

"It is a different role, but I am used to doing it at international level with Wales. It’s about bringing that energy early on and making sure that our set-piece is in a good place to give us the opportunity to do what we want to do. "It is a series decider against the world champions, so it is right up there with one of my biggest games, certainly in a Lions shirt."

Owens will have Wales team mate Wyn Jones and Irishman Tadhg Furlong either side of him in the front row, and he believes it is a partnership that can cause the powerful Springbok scrum problems. "We are confident in each other’s abilities and the combination. We have scrummed together before. You would say the way South Africa finished the second test the momentum is with them, but we can’t look back on what happened last week."

The decider in New Zealand four years ago finished 15-15 for a shared series, and Lions coach Warren Gatland this week called for extra time if the same happens on Saturday. "We (the players) haven’t spoken about a draw this week at all, we are just concentrating on the victory," Owens said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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