The British and Irish Lions have been swatting up on the fabled 1974 series against South Africa for pointers on the backlash they can expect from the world champions on Saturday.
The Lions edged the first Test 22-17 and return to Cape Town Stadium knowing that another victory would propel them to a first successful tour against the Springboks since 1997.
Forwards coach Robin McBryde has been reading ‘Ja-Nee’, an account of the second Test 47 years ago by Dugald Macdonald, the South Africa number eight who made his debut at Loftus Versfeld but never appeared for the national side again.
The Lions prevailed 28-9 as part of a 3-1 series triumph and McBryde insists that snapshot from history has equipped Warren Gatland’s tourists with an idea of the onslaught that awaits them.
“That second Test in 1974 was given the title of the most important game in South African history, it was really built up,” McBryde said.
“They lost heavily in the game, but it gives you a flavour of how much it means to them as a nation and how much the first Test defeat hurt them.
“It shows you how they’ll be feeling at this moment in time and they’ll be more determined on Saturday to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“They will go back to their physical nature. It’s what they did in 1974 after losing that first Test.
“There’s a term they have which means climbing in, to get stuck in. I’m sure that’s what they’ll be looking to do on Saturday – to get stuck into us.
“They’re a very proud nation who will be looking to come out with all guns blazing.”
Full-back Stuart Hogg echoes McBryde’s warning over the intensity the second Test will be played at as the Lions look to clinch the series with a match to spare.
“We believe we can go out there and put in a performance that will win us the Test match and the series,” Scotland captain Hogg said.
“We’re fully aware of the challenges coming our way, they’re a highly motivated and emotional side that will throw the kitchen sink at us. We enjoy this opportunity and the challenge coming our way.
“We have to make sure we get every quarter right in the game and give ourselves every opportunity.
“I’d like to speak on behalf of the Lions camp, we’re massively excited for the next couple of days.”