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decider South Africa reject claims they slowed down the game during their Test win against the Lions

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Rassie Erasmus speaks with South Africa's Steven Kitshoff, Handre Pollard and Siya Kolisi ahead of Saturday's final Test against the Lions

Rassie Erasmus speaks with South Africa's Steven Kitshoff, Handre Pollard and Siya Kolisi ahead of Saturday's final Test against the Lions

Rassie Erasmus speaks with South Africa's Steven Kitshoff, Handre Pollard and Siya Kolisi ahead of Saturday's final Test against the Lions

The Springboks have strongly rejected the suggestion that they attempted to slow down the game during their second Test win against the Lions last week.

Ahead of Saturday's decider, the Lions have made it clear that they want to play at tempo, with all eyes on how French referee Mathieu Raynal handles the occasion.

The Lions got dragged into a slugfest against the Boks, and as they look to avoid doing so again, they are hoping Raynal ensures that there are no undue delays.

“I’m not too sure when you say we were trying to slow the game down, but once again remember the person in charge of the whistle is the referee,” assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said.

“So, if the TMO calls and the refs need more time according to what they see on the screen, that’s got nothing to do with us.

“When the ball is in play all our players give their best and I don’t recall any of our players doing anything to slow the ball down. People must understand that the TMO is part of the game also and if it takes two minutes to make a decision unfortunately that’s not in our control.

“The best we can do as a Springboks team, we control the ball in play, we control the tempo and how we want to play the game.

“If they want to lift the tempo up that is their plan, if we want to slow the game down and make it boring we’ll do that, as other people are saying 'boring rugby'.

“But from outside we don’t go into a game intentionally trying to slow things down and if the British & Irish Lions want to play touch rugby that would be nice for us and they’re more than welcome to do so.

“We’re not going to decide what they must do and also they’re not going to tell us how to play the game.”

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi also dismissed the idea that his side will look to engage in as much niggle as possible in a bid to frustrate the Lions.

“We play what’s in front of us,” he said.

“Whatever is happening in the game. If there are niggles we can’t leave a man behind. That’s our system and what we believe in.”

The Lions Series on a whole has come in for major criticism for the off-field antics, as much as the dour rugby that has been on display.

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However, the Boks and their supporters are paying no attention to that, as they have found a winning formula that led them to World Cup glory and one that has them on the verge of winning the Lions Series.

“To be honest, the on-field stuff is all I care about,” Kolisi added.

“There is enough responsibility in us as a team performing that I can’t worry too much about what’s happening off the field. Players focus on playing. We can’t control what happens off the field.

“On the field, the rugby has been tough. Last week was good, that’s what we’re looking for again tomorrow. I can’t change what happened in the past, tomorrow is what matters the most when the whistle goes. I want us to focus on the game.

“We haven’t changed our plans. We are still playing the same way we did – that’s who we are. We can’t run away from that, we’re South Africans, and it works for us.

“It’s like us looking at another team that’s winning and complaining about how they’re playing – I can’t do that, they’re winning. Are you going to join them, or learn from them? We can’t change who we are.”

Third Test: South Africa v Lions - Saturday August 7, Live BT Sport (KO 5pm Irish time)

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