British and Irish Lions will look for payback, Brits warns

Former Springbok hooker Schalk Brits expects a hard-fought battle between the Boks and the Lions next year. Picture: Gallo Images

Springbok hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Mark are eager to face a determined British and Irish Lions side next year.

World Cup winner Schalk Brits believes next year’s British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa will be a blockbuster event. Speaking on the SA Rugby podcast, all three Springbok hookers from last year’s World Cup squad – Brits, Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx – gave their thoughts on next year’s main event from a South African rugby perspective. While Brits had retired from all rugby, after spending a decade with Saracens he knew how much a Lions tour meant to the English, in particular, and he was expecting the intensity to be heightened even further in 2021 because of what happened at the 2019 World Cup final when the Boks beat England 32-12.

“The Lions are a very special outfit and it only comes around every 12 years to South Africa… and I know a lot of the UK boys are frothing at the mouth to come and play the Springboks in South Africa,” Brits said.

“I think it’s payback time for a lot of the English boys, so it’s a very exciting Lions tour ahead. It’s the world champions against one of the best outfits ever in the Lions. They will be very dangerous.” Marx, meanwhile, said he was not taking anything for granted in terms of his own participation in the series.

“I’d love to be a part of that and there is obviously hard work that has to be put in now with staying focused and keeping your eye on the prize,” Marx said.

“I can’t rely on previous performances and previous years to get me into that side. I have to work hard and earn my place in the team.

“They only come around every 12 years, so it would be a great honour for me to experience that.”

For Mbonambi, the opportunity to play in a Lions series was something he had thought about ever since 2009.

“I was in high school when they last toured. I watched all the games on TV and I still have memories of people like Beast Mtawarira, Bryan Habana and all those legendary Springboks,” Mbonambi said.

“Since then, it was my goal to be part of something special like that. I’m pretty sure it’s the goal of every player in South Africa to actually play against the British and Irish Lions.”

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