Rugby-Momentum on field and solid bonding off it for victorious Lions

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Lions Tour - Sharks v British and Irish Lions
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By Mark Gleeson

PRETORIA (Reuters) - Off-field disruption caused by COVID-19 scares has brought the British & Irish Lions squad closer together on their South Africa tour and they are building momentum ahead of the three-test series against the world champion Springboks, hooker Jamie George said on Saturday.

George captained the Lions to their third victory on tour as they beat the Sharks 71-31 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

It was their second match in four days against the same side after their original opponents, the Bulls, were unable to field a team after returning several positive COVID-19 tests.

The Lions had scares of their own following a positive test in their camp in midweek, necessitating a last-minute reshuffle of their lineup before a 54-7 win over the Sharks in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"I think we’re in a pretty good spot," said George, who scored two tries on Saturday in another comprehensive win.

"Connection wise, we are much tighter off the field. I think all the disruptions and stuff going on off the field is bringing us all together as a group.

"You can see that in the way we train but we probably didn’t put it out there for the full 80 minutes tonight but, on the rugby side of it, I feel we are building nicely and there are things we want to work on and get after and push on ahead of the test series."

The first of the three tests is in Cape Town on July 24, before which the Lions have two more warm-up games, where they can work on eliminating the errors they committed on Saturday, when they conceded five tries and were held 26-26 at halftime.

"The disappointing thing was that they probably set the intensity for the first 10-15 minutes and we probably backed up error upon error, and got a little too flustered," added George.

"We needed to show a little more control than we did in the first 20 minutes but I actually thought there was a lot of good in the game as well and we learnt some good lessons going into the next few weeks."

(Editing by Toby Davis)

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