British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has reflected on his side’s defeat in the second Test, admitting they had been outplayed in the second half.
The Lions led by three points going into half time, but 21 unanswered points in the second half had the Springboks romping to victory in convincing fashion.
“We just didn’t get anything,” said Gatland. “We didn’t get any momentum, any real opportunity to play. In fairness to them, they scrummaged pretty well, they drove a lot and got some reward.
“There are a few things we’ve got to tidy up. It’s 1-1. South Africa put a huge amount of emotion into that game but we’ve got a chance next week to hopefully tie the series up.”
The deciding final Test next week has already been described by Gatland as a “cup final”.
Each of the fourty-minute halves in Saturday’s Test took well over an hour to complete and Gatland believes that the Boks deliberately slowed the game down in order to suit their style of play. It is something he said he would raise with the officials in the coming week.
“They did a good job of slowing the game down. It was frustrating for us because we couldn’t get any rhythm.”
Asked about Rassie Erasmus’ video last week, Gatland said he would not be drawn into a war of words or comment on the referee. He then followed that comment by indicating he thought the referee had wrongly not shown Cheslin Kolbe a red card.
“The last thing we need is a war of words. Hopefully, World Rugby will make sure that everyone follows the protocols.
“I’m not going to comment on the referee. We’ll have our meeting with the referees this week. It didn’t look great from where I was but he decided it was a yellow card.”
A visibly frustrated Gatland bemoaned how the “narrative” had changed amid claims from the Springbok camp that he had questioned the integrity of TMO Marius Jonker before the first Test.
“I didn’t make one comment on the TMO and yet I was accused of questioning his integrity.”
Gatland, however, did not elaborate on how and why multiple prominent rugby publications in the United Kingdom and Ireland reported that he was “furious” over Jonker’s appointment.