Dead rubber disappointment

The intimidating Springbok stronghold of Ellis Park is unlikely to reach full capacity today.

On Friday, Saru was desperately trying to sell as many tickets as possible at discounted prices. Predictably, many of the tourists have decided not to stay now that the third Test is a dead rubber, and those vast empty spaces will be evident by kickoff.

The highveld has suffered a cold snap over the past fortnight that is closer to UK winter temperatures. The mercury is expected to rise as high as 15 degrees, but by what we’re feeling at the moment, that is an optimistic prediction.

After a series of Confederation Cup fixtures, the field is looking a little worse for wear. This won’t stop the British & Irish Lions from implementing their multi-phase approach, even though fatigue is bound to catch up with them in the latter stages. Tom Croft is not starting this fixture because he told the management he was too tired, and I’m sure he’s not the only Lions player battling after a long season.

With the series won both coaches have made a number of changes and it’ll be interesting to see how the new combinations fare. Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn have played a lot of games together for the Bulls, but this marks the first time they will start a Test as a halfback pairing.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Ellis Park