Lions must come out fighting says Edwards

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The Independent Online

The British and Irish Lions are being warned they must tame South Africa early in tomorrow's second Test in Pretoria if they are to have any chance of fighting back in the series.

Lions defence coach Shaun Edwards has warned of the danger of allowing the Springboks to get their noses in front - a situation, he points out, England were never able to alter during their 2007 World Cup final defeat in Paris.

"The big thing with South Africa is you cannot allow them to get into a lead," Edwards told Sky Sports News, as he helped to fine-tune the gameplan for tomorrow's match.

"England saw that in the World Cup final.

"If you let them into a lead they are very good at putting a stranglehold on the game.

"We need to be in touch with them after half-an-hour."

England have called up veteran lock Simon Shaw for his Lions debut, following their 26-21 first-Test defeat in Durban last weekend.

It is a change, Edwards believes, will make the tourists harder to break down.

"There is no doubt that Simon Shaw is one of the best defensive players in the world," he said.

"He is a colossus."

The Lions are set to fly to Pretoria only today, less than 24 hours before kick-off - a decision taken to try to minimise the difficulty of acclimatising to a venue high above sea level.

"The rationale is that you either come for eight days - there is no doubt that after eight days at altitude its effects diminish - or you come for less than 24 hours," Edwards explained.

"Then your body does not realise you are at altitude, and the effects are not quite as harsh."