SA Rugby would have imploded without the Lions Series!

The series of documentary films – titled “Two Sides to Every Story” airs May 15 and covers the incredible on-pitch and behind-the-scenes stories from all three B&I Lions 2021 Tests against the Boks.

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The series was famously won 2-1 by the Springboks, but it was also filled with controversy, which ranged from that Covid-19 outbreak that threatened the entire tour, to the infamous Rassie Erasmus refereeing video that was revealed.

Before and during the tour, there were real doubts about its success.

In the last teaser to distribute, the CEO of his rugby recognizes: “𝙄𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙖𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙖𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙗𝙚 𝙎𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝 𝙧𝙪𝙜𝙗𝙮 𝙧𝙪𝙜𝙗𝙮 𝙣𝙚𝙭𝙩 𝙣𝙚𝙭𝙩 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙮𝙚𝙖𝙧

In another teaser below, a comment from Rassie Erasmus is sure to catch viewers’ attention, with the Director of Rugby saying: “We have to cancel the test match now!”

This appears to be linked to the first test, which came shortly after a widespread outbreak of Covid-19 hit the Bok camp, while serious clashes between the two sides then ensued to ensure adequate preparedness for this first international match.

You can see clips from the Boks-Lions documentary below:

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Below, SuperSport have also provided a breakdown of the dire situation SA Rugby are facing on the Lions tour.. The first episode will air on Sunday (M-Net, 6 p.m.; SuperSport, 7 p.m.).

To give some scope to the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa last year, consider that professional play would likely have collapsed domestically had the plug been pulled in the big adventure.

It was an obvious possibility given the raging pandemic and, perhaps worse, the civil unrest that erupted during the Lions’ visit.

This harsh reality is brought to life in SuperSport’s new three-part drama documentary, “Two Sides”, which takes place behind the scenes of one of the most controversial tours in history.

Not only was the tour shrouded in drama, there was drama on the inside as Lions coach Warren Gatland and Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus snapped and scolded shortly after time before the opening test. It was a resentment that set the scene for an apocalyptic series.

“It’s not about hiding from the challenge, it’s about rising to the challenge,” Gatland tells his team, who respond beautifully.

Jurie Roux, the chief executive of SA Rugby, had other worries. As he says in the documentary, SA rugby wouldn’t be a concern if the tour was cancelled, an idea we seriously flirted with.

The documentary, narrated by Irish actor Aidan Kelly. is unique in that it’s the first time a touring story has been told through both eyes. Production took place in South Africa, the UK and Ireland and broadcast teams were incorporated on both sides, ensuring both balance and stark contrast.

The locker room after the first Test, which the Boks lost, offers a powerful example: unbridled joy in this one; shattering disappointment of the other.

“Chasing the Sun”, which was made by the same filmmakers, was among the first such projects to enter the Springbok’s private space. It’s a realm that remains largely sacred, but many intimate moments are revealed, some funny, but others raw and brutal.

The lighter moments reflect what many professional rugby players really are: boys at heart, full of mischief, jokes and passion.

Says Gareth Whitaker, executive producer and director: “I’ve always been inspired by this story; both by the men and women who feature in it and by the many talented people who have contributed to its realization. It’s intense and it’s powerful. It is also a world first. Having access to the inner circle of these two sides has been a great privilege and I am very proud of the story we have told.

There are many layers to the documentary, which are further heightened by emotional and heavily edited interviews with the players’ parents and families. These serve to add context and meaning to an already symbolic and special streak, a streak that some players consider even higher than a World Cup.

The moments shared by Lukhanyo Am’s mother are deeply personal and inspiring, as is the visit to Duhan van der Merwe’s family home where his parents discuss the conflict of being Bok supporters while supporting the Lions dream of their son. We get a similar film from Stuart Hogg’s closest and dearest, one of many standout stories in a bigger story.

Episode two will air on May 22, with the final episode on May 29.

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Charles P. Patton