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Springboks assistant responds to Gatland's claims of "dented" egos


Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick insists his side will do their talking on the pitch, following barbs from Lions head coach Warren Gatland. 

Earlier in the week, Gatland claimed the Lions had dented the Boks' ego, despite a 17-13 defeat to South Africa 'A'.

“In that A game we were very happy with the way our lineout went," Gatland said, "Our maul defence and our scrums. In a couple of scrums we dominated them.

"Whether they will come with a few different variations, I don’t think so; I think they will come with a harder approach.

“That is one aspect we dented their ego in terms of they haven’t had that dominance that they would have liked.

"I have been incredibly impressed with the way we have defended on this tour, and the way we have improved. We haven’t conceded a lineout maul try, or a pick-and- go try in this tour.

“That is one aspect we have worked really really hard on and if we can stop them from dominating in those areas, they are going to have to go to something else in their game.”

Any hopes the Springboks would rise to Gatland's bait were quickly snuffed out by Stick.

When the Kiwi's words were put to the assistant coach on Friday, Stick responded, "On their comments that they dented our ego, I won’t go deep into that either.

"We are happy as a team [after the 'A' match], and once again if you look at the most important stat, which is the final score, we were on the right side of that.

“So I’m not sure what was dented. I’m not going to fall into the trap of playing mind games, I’m not a mind games person.

"The game will be played between four lines, and so if Gatland is talking about denting our egos, he doesn’t really know much about us as South Africans.

“Let’s wait and see on Saturday after the game, and hopefully we can give people a good show. We know the Lions are going to be tough, we know they are going to be physical, so once again when it comes to the egos, we’ll see the egos between the four white lines.”

Stick also confirmed that South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will continue as a humble water carrier for Saturday's first test in Cape Town.

Gatland had queried Erasmus' new-found role this week, saying, "If you’re the waterboy, you’re supposed to run onto the pitch with water."

But Stick responded on Friday, saying, "Rassie will be running the water, he’s been fulfilling that role for us in the team, so he will be there and we as Springbok rugby are happy with that.”

The 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour on OTB Sports with Vodafone. Lead Partner of the British and Irish Lions.

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Read more about

British And Irish Lions Lions Mzwandile Stick Siya Kolisi Springboks The Lions Warren Gatland

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