THE Lions may need to sound the ‘99 Call’ if they are to survive another brutal Test.
Willie John McBryde’s 1974 Invincibles coined the infamous code to signal all-out war against South Africa.
And after the slagging match ahead of Saturday’s crunch Second Test, all eyes will be on skipper Alun Wyn Jones and Co in the Cape Town cauldron.
The Springboks torched everything and anyone this week — with fake Twitter profiles, video rants and good old-fashioned press conferences.
Their desperation levels are off the scale after last Saturday’s 22-17 defeat.
And while this eight-game tour is far shorter than that iconic trip 47 years ago — when the Lions won three of four Tests and drew the other — there are endless similarities.
McBryde and Co faced a fired-up hosts and their on-field ‘99 Call’ was designed to put an end to ugly off-the-ball clashes by sparking an all-out brawl to show they meant business.
Summoning that spirit of ’74, ex-Lions hooker and current scrum coach Robin McBryde said: “I read Ja-Nee, by Dugald MacDonald, about Springboks rugby.
“They lost the First Test and that was enough of an insight for me with regards to what the Second Test means to them.
“They’re a very proud nation who will come out with all guns blazing. That’s what we’re expecting and preparing for.
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“They will go back to that physical nature. It’s what they did in 1974 after losing that First Test.
“There’s an Afrikaans term ‘Incrim’ which means to get stuck in. I’m sure that’s what they’ll be looking to do.”
Warren Gatland’s men will also seek inspiration from Martin Johnson’s class of 1997 — the last Lions team to triumph in a series here after winning the opening two Tests.
Lions chairman Jason Leonard, plus coaches Neil Jenkins and Gregor Townsend, all played in that epic series.
McBryde 51, also featured in 2001 when the Lions went 1-0 up in Australia before crashing to a 2-1 series defeat.
The Welshman said: “Maro Itoje brought it up in the week. You’ve got Neil Jenkins, Jason Leonard and myself who were there.
“We can draw on that experience — so that it doesn’t happen again.”
The Lions know the Boklash is coming and it all points to an X-rated grudge match at Cape Town Stadium.
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The likes of 6ft 6in lock Eben Etzebeth, powerhouse centre Damian de Allende and wing Cheslin Kolbe will be just as wound up as the Boks of ’74 and ’97.
This is why the Lions, with Welsh titan Jones and England colossus Itoje in the engine room, have to be streetwise.
Because if they can keep their heads and play with their hearts, the tourists can earn rugby immortality.