Tue, 28 Sep 2021

British and Irish Lions inside centre Robbie Henshaw hailed midfield partner Elliot Daly ahead of a confrontation with world champions South Africa in the first Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

They played together for 57 minutes last weekend in the 46-point rout of a Stormers franchise team lacking eight Springboks.

"It is really exciting to be partnering Elliot," the Ireland star told an online news conference on Friday. "His game knowledge and attacking skills are second to none. He is a top class player.

"His defensive reads are top quality. I have only played with him two or three times in the last two tours, but it is great to partner him again."

The Lions' centres will be up against the Rugby World Cup-winning pairing of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.

"I have played against Damian about five times this year in the Pro14 competition, but now we are at a much higher level.

"It is going to be a huge Test, but I will have a chat with him after the match as always. Damian is a great player and a great guy as well."

Henshaw acknowledged that the Lions are heading into a bruising battle on Saturday as they seek an early advantage ahead of the other two Tests on July 31 and August 7, also in Cape Town.

"We are massively ready," he stressed. "We have done a lot of contact work, we have had a lot of games now against tough opposition and big men here in South Africa.

"We are ready and we have to expect to deal with a big kicking battle and big men running at us from the kick-off.

"It is going to be a tough battle up front and the battle at the gainline will also be huge. The Springboks will be well up for it and there will be huge intensity.

"We have to try and dominate the gainline and get go-forward ball. I just need to go out and enjoy it and play my regular game and hopefully be on the winning side."

A hamstring injury has hampered Henshaw and he will be making only a third appearance on a tour that has produced four huge wins for the Lions and a narrow loss to a Springbok-stacked South Africa A side.

South Africa first hosted the Lions in 1891 and have won eight, drawn one and lost four of the Test series between the sides.

Source: News24

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