British & Irish Lions: What Sky Sports Experts Made Of The 56-14 win over Sigma Lions | Rugby Union News

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Sky Sports pundits and former Lions Sam Warburton, Ronan O’Gara and Sir Ian McGeechan all shared their views on how Warren Gatland’s side are performing after beating the Sigma Lions 56-14

Last updated: 7/5/21 9:27 AM

Hamish Watson made a big impression on Lions

The British & Irish Lions got off to a successful start in South Africa when they defeated the Sigma Lions with a 56-14 win in Saturday’s game.

Four attempts by Josh Adams and a man-of-the-match performance by Hamish Watson were the highlights for Warren Gatland’s side against an opponent who was defeated in most departments.

Here’s a look at what the expert team at Sky Sports made of the Lions’ performance …

Highlights from the opening game of the UK and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa when they competed against Sigma Lions at Ellis Park Sky Sports 4:52 Highlights from the opening game of the UK and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa when they competed against Sigma Lions at Ellis Park

Highlights from the opening game of the UK and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa when they competed against Sigma Lions at Ellis Park

Warburton: Watson “couldn’t have had a better first game”

Sam Warburton praised Hamish Watson after starring the Scottish international in his first appearance for the Lions.

The former back row knows from their own playing time the dangers of Flanker Watson, who made some strong carries with the ball in hand and posed a threat if he failed against the Sigma Lions.

Warburton believes the Scotland international’s game has very few weaknesses and sees him as a claim to one of those back row positions before Tom Curry gets an opportunity.

“I’ve played him a lot and he’s certainly one of the best number 7 I’ve played against,” said Warburton.

Lions Ratings: Watson and Adams Stand Out

Select the player ratings of the British and Irish Lions’ 56-14 opening win over the Sigma Lions in Johannesburg.

“Usually when you play in the back row you have to be a specialist in something, be it a breakdown, a ball carrying or a line-out. He seems to do a little of everything, but really good – much like Sean O’Brien in his pomp.

“I thought he carried so explosively and over those five meters he is probably one of the strongest ball carriers that we have on the Lions team. I thought he was great on the floor, he fought hard when he broke down.” .

“He knows he had to have a big game because he has Tom Curry, who is one of the best # 7 in the world and who will start next week. Realistically, he couldn’t have a better first game in a Lions shirt.”

O’Gara: Questions to Gatland at fly-half

Finn Russell received the nod on fly-half for clashing with the Sigma Lions, with Owen Farrell moving from the center-center to the No. 10 position later in the game after Elliot Daly entered the fight.

Finn Russell started in the fly half against the Sigma Lions

Finn Russell started in the fly half against the Sigma Lions

Russell produced some magical moments but also made a few mistakes, and former Lions and Irish international Ronan O’Gara believes he could be better used if he comes off the bench when the testing streak against South Africa begins.

Dan Biggar, who was in great shape for Wales and Northampton Saints, is also pushing for the fly half.

“I think our difference will be if we get pace or flow in a phase game and then variety in our kicker game,” said O’Gara. “If it’s a barbarian game, there’s no decision – it’s Finn Russell who starts in 10th place.

“But at that level, 60 percent is defense and 40 percent is offense, and you have to build your team on that because the opportunities to score are so precious and so difficult.

Finn Russell started in the fly half against the Sigma Lions

Finn Russell started in the fly half against the Sigma Lions

“Giving up even 14 points is too much to miss a South African game and you have to be so stingy on the defensive. A lot of it will make a difference so I’m really excited to see which way he” goes.

“The difference for me would be that with Russell on the bench you have an ace up your sleeve depending on how the game is going. Can he weave his magic in the first 30 minutes of a friendly? I wouldn’t be.” for sure.”

McGeechan: Lions before the springboks

The game against the Sigma Lions was this year’s Lions team’s third week after going to Jersey for pre-tour training camp and then landing in Murrayfield against Japan before departing for South Africa.

In contrast, the Springboks returned to action on Friday for the first time since winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the first of two warm-up games against Georgia.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland was delighted to begin the tour of South Africa with a 56-14 win over Sigma Lions and believes there is more to come from his side Sky Sports 2:30 Lions head coach Warren Gatland was delighted to begin the tour of South Africa with a 56-14 win over Sigma Lions and believes there is more to come from his side

Lions head coach Warren Gatland was delighted to begin the tour of South Africa with a 56-14 win over Sigma Lions and believes there is more to come from his side

Sir Ian McGeechan, who coached the Lions on their South Africa tour in 1997 and 2009, believes the current head coach Gatland and his team are better positioned than Jacques Nienaber’s men at this point.

“Right now, I’d put gats in front of the springboks,” said McGeechan. “They have one more game to play, the Lions have four more that the combinations can work in, they can get a feel, and they rub their shoulders.

“They definitely need a stronger opponent. Japan were good opponents for an hour, but that was bad. That self-discipline of still doing the right things is sometimes the greatest thing that comes out of games like this, and that you feel reckless about it what you do.

“You don’t do things for free and easy, you do the things that you know will make a difference in a test match, and you keep working on one side and not giving back – even if you have 50 points more. “