The British & Irish Lions are gearing up for a terrific test of their mettle against reigning Rugby World Cup champions South Africa in their own backyard this month.


We caught up with former England and Lions star Matt Dawson and ex-South African ace Francois Louw to run the rule over some of the key players to look out for during the tour.

Dawson has issued a challenge to England star Elliot Daly, picked out rising stars primed for a breakout tournament and two stars who could step up another gear.

His counterpart Louw picked out a couple of South African stars who the Lions will need to keep a close eye on and he can't wait for one particular battle that has been two years in the making brings you all the players to watch ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa which airs live on Sky Sports and streaming service NOW over the coming weeks.

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British & Irish Lions players to watch

Elliot Daly

Dawson: Elliot Daly, in my opinion, has been so far away from his best form for the last two or three years maybe. I've watched him in the games so far for the Lions and that is how I saw Elliot Daly come into international rugby. There's something about the shirt that lights him up. Is it the style that they're playing? Is it the players that are around him? Is it the occasion?

Some players are just like that, the Lions lights them up and gets them back into a load of form. That's not because he's just trying to prove anyone wrong, it's just because he obviously loves the environment and the style.

Kyle Sinckler

Louw: I'm pretty excited for the front row battle. Kyle Sinckler is getting another bite against South Africa after being injured unfortunately so early in the World Cup final.

That was an area where we dominated in that fixture. I think he'll really want to try and impress and impose himself.

Rising stars

Dawson: Those names may not have heard before or may have just seen in club rugby, such as Louis Rees-Zammit, Marcus Smith going on the trip, Duhan van der Merwe and even Chris Harris in the midfield are getting a lot of airtime.

The inclusion of either Hamish Watson or Tom Curry could potentially catapult them onto the world stage as players will go from strength to strength.

South Africa players to watch

Faf du Klerk

Dawson: There's Faf du Klerk. It's a slightly biased view as a scrum half but in global terms he's probably the best in the world at the moment, with Antoine Dupont. He's probably very frustrated that he hasn't been able to play international rugby since the World Cup and, watching the likes of Antoine and other players playing, he will be ready to show the world what he was capable of back in 2019.

Jasper Wiese

Louw: We have new players like Jasper Wiese, who plays for Leicester. It's amazing how boys come over here and their game really does get elevated playing in the Premiership. That was my journey and I'm really excited for him, and once again, you've got the front row who like to do their thing.

The British and Irish Lions Tour is available to view on streaming service NOW with a Sports Membership, currently priced on offer at £25 a month for three months.

NOW has teamed up with renowned South African chef Patrick Williams to create a collection of traditional Braai recipes for fans to enjoy whilst watching the matches. Find them at


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