South Africa clinch series victory over Lions – your thoughts?

The Springboks avenged defeat in 1997 with a series win over the Lions in Pretoria, after a thrilling game that the Lions could well have won.

A heroic performance from the men in red was ultimately not quite enough as South Africa clinched the Second Test by 28-25 with a last-minute penalty.

Let us know your thoughts on the action, and once we’ve had more time to prepare our reactions, we’ll bring you those here on The Rugby Blog.

12 thoughts on “South Africa clinch series victory over Lions – your thoughts?

  1. Notwithstanding the fact that Burger should have been sent-off (gouging is a red card – end of story), I am still absolutely livid at O’Gara’s terrible play. Supporting the Lions means putting aside your dislike for players from the other Unions but Ronan undoubtably lost the Lions the game yesterday.

    Whilst some blame must like with the management, picking him instead of Hook who can cover 12 as well was a mistake, the way the Saffers ran over him at will was embarassing and he was easily identifiable as the only culprit for Fourie’s try. To compound it all the mistake at the end was shocking. Why he didn’t just put it long into touch from the 22 when he had plenty of time I’ll never know.

    I just find it disappointing that whilst the likes of Kearney and Shaw were having the games of their lives all the good work can be undone by one man. I normally pride myself on how much rugby is a team game but in this case even his team-mates must be finding it galling to pat him on the back and say ‘its not your fault’ when it so clearly was. At least the Lions can hold their heads high again and no questions can be asked as to the vaildity of this and future tours.

  2. Kemlo

    I understand your frustrations but, get your facts right, Hook had concussion and was therefore not available for selection.

    As for the outcome of the game, yes – O’Gara made a misjudgement in the final moments of the games but what about the previous 79 minutes?! It is pathetic to blame O’Gara.

    The reality is that the Lions did not score any points for pretty much the whole of the second half – one S Jone penalty I think. It’s all very well to play well in one half but – heck – someone once said, it’s a game of two halves!

    If you really want a scapegoat – how about the touch judge that told the referree “at least a yellow” for the eye gouging which actually should have been a red. How different the outcome might have been if the Boks had been reduced to 14 men for virtually the whole game!

    And, by the way, what bloody use is it to man or beast to give Beef Burger an eight week ban, after the event? It doesn’t change the result which, in light of the ban, was fraudulently obtained. There is no natural justice in this system of citing.

    Hey-ho I’m used to folowing Scottish rugby – let’s just know we won morally and chill!

  3. I was getting very worked up in the pub “don’t gary owen it, DON’T GARY OWEN IT!!!!” What does he go and do, what possible adantage could that possible have gained the Lions?

    Even though O’Gara did loose us the game at the end, the main reason the Lions came undone in the last twenty minutes was simply down to too many top players off the field, and the remainder playing out of position

    I think that these tours need to be looked at and the amount of mid week and warm up matches cut down.

    Look at the finishing 15 at the end of the game, how many of these would have even been considered at the start, very few indeed.

    I think that in the next tour, a few home matches need to be played before the tour, nothing to strenuous but there to get the team to gell, followed by limited non test matches on the actual tour itself.

  4. I could well be wrong but I thought that Hook playing the final 35 mins against the Emerging Springboks meant that he had recovered from the concussion that kept him out of the first test. Did he get another knock last Tues?

    Anyway, O’Gara didn’t just make a mistake in the final moments, in the previous 79 he missed a straightforward tackle on Fourie for Fourie’s try so is responsible for 10 points that SA scored. He also got ran through on at least one other occasion I can think of.

    Agreed about the citings procedure though, complete joke. Surely if clarity is needed on a red card the video ref can be used.

  5. Points of interest:

    1. Burger being given a yellow card for eye gouging. This offence carries a minimum of a 6 week ban! How can the ref and touch judge justify only a yellow? They obviously knew what he had done, hence the sin binning, but got it seriously wrong in terms of punishment/disipline. Highly doubt the Boks would have stayed in the game if they had played 80 mins with 14 players. The ref’s should be cited as well for such a poor decision.
    2. Fourie’s try. The touch judge told the ref “he was in touch” yet with no clear evidence, the TMO overruled this decision. Why have touch judges if they are not going to be used? He was standing in the best possible position and yet the TMO made the decision without definitive evidence.
    3. Injuries. This hurt us badly – losing both probs within 2 mins, BOD injured in the last 20 mins.
    4. Leadership. The first half was full of passion, pride, aggression and strong leaders, however, in the second half there was none of this – especially the strong leadership. POC was officially captain, but it didn’t seem that way on the pitch.
    5. O’Gara. What was he thinking? All he had to do was punt it down pitch, preferably bouncing into touch. Instead he punted it only to the half way line, centre pitch, and then ran into the SA player. Why? And his 15 min appearance proved why he wasn’t picked to start a test match – his defence is non existent and the Boks, rightly so, took advantage of this
    6. Bench. Think everyone was confused about the bench selection before the game and rightly so. We didn’t have players capable of winning games on their and it showed.
    7. Why was a ref picked for such a prestigious event, who has never referee’d at such a high level? He hasn’t even done a 6 nations or tri nations match!

    That said, it was a fantastic game and I feel very proud of our players. Granted, they didn’t win, but they were playing the world champs, in their backyard, and they made them hurt and sweat till the last minute. If it wasn’t for a few “interesting” decisions (mainly some poor referreeing, yet again) we would have won that game, however unfortunately we were robbed of glory.

  6. whatever…: you need to get your facts right before telling another poster to get his facts right. tsk.

  7. Gents

    Some of you seem to be attributing the Lions loss directly to Burger not getting a red. It may well have been a red but that is neither here nor there. No Lions players were injured due to his actions and you guys actually got 10 mins against 14 men which you capitalised on.

    The fact is, 15 vs 15, you guys could not compete. I thought the Lions as a whole looked alot better in the first test. The backline was sharper and forwards made alot more of the possesion they had.

    On Sat you guys had a mountain of possesion and looked aimless and lethargic. The backline could not put pressure on the boks when it counted (hence Jones havin to kick a drop). Let also not forget that SA missed 4 penalties and a conversion (14 points) and you guys slotted everything you had but still came up short. I think that is quite a telling stat.

    All in all the better team has won the series though it certainly has been great rugby and I still believe that your nations individually are stonger than the Lions. (apart for the scots)

    Look forward to another cracker on Sat though!!!

  8. Interesting point of view Tez

    I do agree (as much as it hurts to say) that the better team has won the series however:

    1. If Burger had receieved the correct sentencing at the time, SA would have had to play 80 mins with 14 men, not just 10. Yes we capitalised with 10 points in those 10 mins, but SA were the team that capalised for the further 70 mins by remaining with 15 players.
    2. The lions were in complete control of the game, dominating posession, lineouts, scrums and break downs, until injuries struck us. We lost our 2 props and had to go to uncontested scrums and injuries to our centres caused us a lot of problems.
    3. If we looked aimless and lethargic, how did the lions manage to win so much of the possesion and over turn SA time and time again at the break downs?
    4. Yes, SA did miss kicks, but then so did the lions last week – which would have won us the game.

    For me personally it was one of the best test matchs I have ever seen, regardless of the final score. There was pride, passion, skill and desire from both teams and it made for a fantastic game to watch. SA were lucky to win, but credit to them

  9. Tommy

    Agree on the test as being awesome. One of the best I can remember. Few points:

    1. WINNING possesion and USING possesion are two different things.
    2. I thought there was a fair amount of foul play from both teams (Burger, Sheridan, BOD)
    3. The ref was not competent and made bad calls BOTH ways.
    4. We have a muppett of a coach. And we still won. Just.
    5. Do agree on Burger getting a red. But these calls happen. Last year Brad Thorne spear tackled John Smit in the first5 mins of a trinations AFTER the whistle about 2m from the ref. It was a straight red, but all he got was a mild talking to (may have been a yellow) and we lost our captain for the rest of the tour.(Of course we did come back and win the next test anyway!!!!)

    Sat should be interesting as both teams will have radical changes. Hopefully the Lions can lift and the Boks keep their momentum.

    Im predicting another3/4 point game.
    Good luck!

  10. Hi Lads

    Just a little concerned that most of you only back your chances when playing 15 to 14 men? I think you have a good team who can certainly compete on a 1 to 1 basis.
    The problem as I see it was that the Lions was more interested in winning the fight than the rugby. ie. your number 9 and 13 having a full go at Victor Matfield only seconds into the game. It continued throughout with the best punch landed by Sheridan to the ‘crown jewels’ of Andries Bekker late in the 2d half. (Fortunately no breakage there)
    Jokes aside I hope the Lions can raise themselves to be competitive on Saturday but with all the injuries I doubt it.

  11. Tommy Guns

    This sorry whining is a disgrace to the legacy of those such as Willie John, JJ & JPR, Gareth Edwards and even Martin Johnson, Wilkinson & Guscott! Great men face up, rather than blaming the referee or touch judges. This Lions team has shown their disrespect for the jersey through the unending stream of excuses and negative comments about everything from accommodation, travel arrangements, Bok supporters and referees. If I was a Lions supporter I would be ashamed for their off-the-field comments.

    Be realistic – the Lions never had a chance against the in-form World Champions on their home turf. The Tri-Nations & Super 14 breeds big, fast & skillful players for which the Lions does not have an answer. It is VERY difficult to win away from home, ask any Super 14 or Tri-Nations team. You’ve got to adapt to the environment, climate, culture and differences in rules interpretation from referees. Welcome to touring – the fact is that in ’74 and ’97 great Lions teams faced the Springboks at home and kicked our sorry asses!!

    Be proud of the jersey, play like a true Lion and stop whining..

  12. Koos Petoors.

    Firstly, I’m not making excuses. If you have read my other comments (i.e. 5 and 8) I openly admit the better team won this tour. SA are world champions – and bloody good world champions. Your forward pack is the best unit for nearly a decade. Your backs when on form are also right up there with the best. This so called “whining” is actually commenting on where errors have occured during the tests and the tour in general. That is not a disgrace to the legacy to previous legends, simply debating the current issues.

    Secondly. Where have I, or anyone else on this blog, complained about accomodation, travel arrangements or supporters?

    Thirdly. If we dont have the answer to the big, fast, skillful players or stood any chance – then how come we were winning for nearly all of the 2nd test and only just lost both tests by a few points to the best team in the world? Personally i wouldn’t be so cocky and maybe accept victory with a little more grace. Obviously that is up to your discretion though.

    Fourth. I am proud of the lions jersey and unbelievably proud of the performances and game produced by the Lions. I am also proud of the performances by the SA’s. Both tests were amazing games to watch – possibly 2 of the best test matchs I have ever watched.

    And lastly – why should any team in the world, be it England, South Africa, France, Wales, Australia etc etc, have to adapt to the differences in rules “interretation”? The laws and rules are for the game of rugby, and therefore there should not be any difference in the “interpretation” regardless of whether you play in the Northern Hemisphere or South Hemisphere.

    Personally think your comments are a little wayward, but each to their own.

    Looking forward to “hopefully” another cracker this weekend.

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