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Lions left to lick wounds after epic failure

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Bryn Palmer | 23:06 UK time, Saturday, 27 June 2009

Pretoria, Saturday evening

Sickening. Galling. Heart-breaking. Take your pick, if you are a Lions fan.

Whichever word you use to sum up the feeling after an extraordinary second Test against the Springboks in Pretoria, it was a horrible way to lose the series.

The ifs, buts and maybes will be debated for many a year, but the harsh facts remain.

This was a seventh straight Test defeat for the British and Irish Lions since that memorable day in Brisbane, 2001, and now a third consecutive series defeat.

Jamie Roberts contemplates defeat in Pretoria

After the last time that happened, from 1977 to 1983, it was to Ian McGeechan the Lions turned for their next venture, to Australia in 1989, the first of his four stints as head coach.

Assuming he doesn't stay on for a fifth, his record will read won two, lost two, which given the odds is pretty impressive.

Not that it provided much consolation on Saturday night in the bowels of Loftus Versfeld stadium, as the emotion of a gut-wrenching defeat remained raw.

You had to feel for McGeechan as he reflected, in his dignified manner, that "you have just got to accept it. How heavily it weighs on you now is something that can't be changed."

That weight of disappointment may grow the more he analyses it, for as captain Paul O'Connell acknowledged, this was "another big opportunity lost".

In a match of savage intensity and brutal collisions, the Lions again rattled the Springboks with the speed and width of their attacks after Schalk Burger's crude early intervention, and should have seen the job through from 19-8 up on the hour.

But when they weren't dishing out the rough stuff or kicking poorly, South Africa also showed their subtle side with the delicious angle JP Pietersen cut for his first-half try and the blistering speed and balance of Bryan Habana's momentum-changing score.

Were the Lions unlucky? Probably. They lost both props to injury by the 45th minute, (Adam Jones as a result of a dangerous charge by Bakkies Botha), and both centres, Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts, by the 67th, when the Boks comeback was gathering pace.

Adam Jones went off in the second half with a arm injury

McGeechan argued that key decisions went against the Lions in both Tests, and he had a point.

If touch judge Bryce Lawrence was sure that Burger had made contact with Luke Fitzgerald's eye, as replays appeared to show, should he not have recommended French referee Christophe Berdos issue a red card, rather than a yellow?

South Africa may be a formidable side, but even they would have struggled to play for 79 minutes with 14 men.

If intent is difficult to assess definitively in the spur of the moment, recourse to video technology does not always provide conclusive evidence.

Amid unbearable tension with six minutes remaining, television match official Stuart Dickinson spent several minutes deliberating every angle before awarding the crucial try from Jaque Fourie that put South Africa in front for the first time.

The replacement centre had done superbly to stretch for the right corner, and there appeared to be no definitive replay which showed whether his foot was in touch or not. In such circumstances perhaps he deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Even the decisive last-gasp penalty seemed more of a clumsy challenge by Ronan O'Gara than a deliberate attempt by the Irishman to take out Fourie du Preez in the air.

But the real pity about Morne Steyn's monumental 53m kick, from a neutral point of view, is we have been denied a 'live' Test in Johannesburg next week that this series deserved on the balance of the first two games.

The Lions may limp into it with it several key players missing, making a second successive 3-0 series whitewash all the more likely, but at least they have demonstrated their whole ethos and tradition is in rude health.

After the dismal 'blackwash' in New Zealand four years ago many questioned the entire viability of future Lions tours in the professional era.

But Saturday was a joyous rebuttal of that notion, proving that a team moulded together from four countries in the space of five weeks could still be competitive against the southern hemisphere giants, giving us one of the great Test matches in the process.

A Lions series win remains a rare beast. There have been only four - in 1971, 1974, 1989 and 1997 - in the previous 16 full series they have played since 1950.

So McGeechan took solace in two "outstanding" performances that have brought "a lot of credibility back to the Lions" after the folly of Sir Clive Woodward's overblown operation in New Zealand.

"No-one actually thought we were going to be competitive," McGeechan noted. "But we have been more than that. In both games we have been winners in a lot of respects."

Maybe, but unfortunately for the Lions and their marvellous fans, not on the scoreboard.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I think were we a proper team as in a yearly league there could be positives. Unfortunatly, whilst individuals perfromed well on the tour, for touring sides such as the Lions, History remembers the winners, not the team that played better.
    They did show that a makeshift team can go to SA and challange the worlds best, I think the series deserves a "live" final game, but credit to the Saffers and Steyn in particular. They held their nerve and showed what true champions are made of.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Lions can take positives from the both matches, especially in Pretoria, as they came so close to winning.

    But when you only play every four years, it is really all about winning and they failed to do that.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 3.

    I think they did amazingly well considering they're a composite team.I thought the Radio 5 commentary team were so biased it was difficult to understand what was going on.

  • Comment number 4.

    after todays performance, surely we can put to bed at least 1 piece of gossip. the aforementioned 'will the british and irish lions ever tour again?', we proved today, and probably last week as well, that we are incredibly capable of winning a test match again tough opposition. it's only silly errors, questionable refereeing decisions and perhaps something in our heads, a mental block, which seems to be preventing us. we have an incredible amount of rugby talent in 3 nations, woops sorry 4, and come australia 4 years time, with a different captain, different squad and a different coach, we could do the business. i think the way geech went about things was fantastic, a few may have disagreed with his selections, but coaching wise, even though we lost the series, he was brilliant, ten times better than that prat who took our boys to new zealand 4 years ago. to bring together 4 different nationalities, unite them together under a common goal and throw them out onto a pitch in such a limited period of time, was always going to be a challenge. the fact that we lost by 5 and 3 points respectively is a true testament to the job geech and his team have done. there is plenty of hope for the future, who knows maybe bod has another tour left in him (given shaw is 6 years his senior and still touring, i believe this is a definite possibility).

    one thing is for sure though, if the lions lose next week, it will almost certainly be an injustice, the way our lions have played over the last 6 week, we don't deserve to down to a whitewash...

  • Comment number 5.

    I can take losing. The only socre that matters is the one on the baord at the end of the game. Congrats to the Boks.

    However, their cheap shots and dirty play leave a bad taste in the mouth.

  • Comment number 6.

    Unfortunately I think McGeechan should also dwell on some of his selections, which were as much a cause of the 2 defeats as refereeing decisions, SA dirty play or plain bad luck. The choice of the English trio Vickery, Mears and Monye came back to haunt us with a vengence in the 1st Test, while picking O'Gara for bench duty over Hook has done likewise in the 2nd.

    Shame, because the Lions were the better team for much of this series to date and certainly should have got something out of yesterday. The Lions 'concept' is definitely alive though and the squad has been fantastically committed.

  • Comment number 7.

    Bryn, you're so negative and glass-half-empty about all things Lions. We deserved to win, it was very harsh that we didn't get key decisions (the 'crossing' try, the ruck last week, Burger red, Botha on Jones, Matfield vs half our team - they don't like it up 'em) and Ronan O'Gara was plain daft, but we played the better rugby and were arguably as good a side as SA over the two games. We were more than a 'composite', we were and are and next week will be a team and I thoroughly believe we'll win that last game whoever we put out. NZ last time was an aberration anyway, but the Lions tour this year has been a real success save for the test results, and I think we've been fantastic.

    All the same, well done SA - they do play some phenomenal rugby.

  • Comment number 8.

    i am unusualy a rugby fan in brasil. i loved this game, however am disappointed with the media. south africa are an amazing team and the english media as usual focus on the negatives. first, there was some dirty play, but remember, the lions were the ones who made all the talk about being physical in this match so the springboks were responding to their onslaught. Berger deservedly got a yellow, and was cited....this will take its course but the one-eyed english love to always claim the moral high ground. second, the excuse that the lions are a makeshift team is ridiculous. besides the fact that they represent the four home unions taking on one country and have a couple of weeks to build a unit, i think they have the advantage.
    well done to s africa

  • Comment number 9.

    Last week i posted that Phillips should be replaced by a better passer !
    Whoops, he was briliant today. I return though to the captain. A captain must have a presence over the referee and turn 50/50 decisions at any level of rugby. POC is a good player but not a dominanting personality.
    Moment of the series though has to be Adam Jones making Beastie boy look like the inexperienced prop he is.
    Lions defence looks as porous as Wasps' this season !

  • Comment number 10.

    No need for the attack on the English Brazilrugger - discredits your opinion a little though not to say mine is gospel. Foul play is foul play - same as Nathan Hines (only worse in the case of gouging) and Alan Quinlan. There's physical (within the rules of the game), and then there's cynical or even dangerous.

  • Comment number 11.

    at the end of the day it was all o'garas faultu. but its a game of rugyb, he didnt intend to do the balls ups he did, he was trying to win it, so lets forget about it, seriously!!!! i was feeling for him at the end!!!! collectively, we let ousrelves down in second half, all the injuries didnt help!!!

    the lions are well and a live. god knows whos gona be playing next week, im half expectiing a call up!!!


    see you ALL in Oz in four years!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 12.

    I Sadly thought the Springboks did a good number on the Lions, if you look at the key Lions players that got injured, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, and Jamie Roberts,hey players in key positions.
    Odriscol got what he deserved as his tackle was illegal and a cheap shot!
    My grievance is with the Management, to have no International cover for front row and the midfield is such a fundamental error on their part, as well as the omission of key utility players like James Hook etc. We all blame OGara for his error but look at the big picture; he should not have made the bench in the first place as there were better players in the squad to cover his position. I think the selection panel will have a few sleepless nights in the coming weeks.So the facts are Lions have not won a test since 2001.Is this the end of the Lions Era? God i hope not!

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    My original post was rejected for some reason, so gonna try again with a rephrasing in the next post. In case that doesn't get accepted, I raise the possibility - and only a possibility! - that the Boks came out for the second half with an intent to be rough. Four injury substitutions to the most effective players, and a coach suggesting that eye gouging shouldn't be a yellow card, seems too fortuitously coincidental to me.

  • Comment number 15.

    My original comments are repeated on this blog anyway:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/simonaustin/2009/06/how_the_lions_rated_second_tes.html
    But, three questions occur:
    1) if eye gouging is seen, as it should be, as a significant offence; and if the video evidence is clear; and if a coach claims that it's just part of the game: should the coach be disciplined?
    2) If, hypothetically - and I'm not saying it occurred here - a team systemically targets opponents for foul play, such that a reasonable independent jury would adjudge that to have occurred: should that team as a whole receive a sanction, such as suspension from international competition?
    3) What effect would a possible impression of foul play have upon the IRB's bid to have sevens included in the Olympic games?

  • Comment number 16.

    Daijones( Blog 14) i fully agree with your staement, as i stated at Blog 12. They did a job on the lions. However at this level players must be street wise and not naive to think they will not be taken out. This is South Africa at home for god sake; History will tell them it isnt going to be a stroll in the park. You must also look at the captain, he is someone who should command his team and also command the referee, I personally dont think POC is a legend Lions Captain. He isnt a Martin Johnston,infact a million years off him.
    Finally an eye gouge is a straight red always has been, so the linesman and referee should be pulled apart by the IRB for making such an error at such an important time of the game.

  • Comment number 17.

    I should clarify: in the comments to the linked blog, not in the blog post itself

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    What's "Heroic" about blowing an 11 point lead with 20 mins to go?

  • Comment number 20.

    I was absolutely devastated yesterday after that loss to the Boks. We really deserved (i think) to be 1 test a piece going into the final week and for them to snatch it at the death is gut wrenching! However on reflection, i think that this has been a great Lions tour. The way the team gelled so quickly and the unity of the players has been great and the uncovering of some world class rugby performers (Bowe, Phillips, Roberts, Croft, Kearney) can only be good for the Northern Hemisphere game. There is probably no greater accolade than playing on a Lions tour and now that these players have experienced it i think they will ultimatley become better internationally. Look at the likes of Hill, Back and Dallaglio, there careers were defined on the 97 Lions Tour.

    I haven't missed a game on this tour and to see the team initially against the Royal 15(shocking!!!) right the way through to the 2nd test, i think that everyone will agree that we have improved so much! At the end of the day even though we have lost the series i think we showed great character in the 2nd test and like we did in the last 20 of the 1st test we showed the World champions that we could take them on and nearly beat them.

  • Comment number 21.

    Guess what I am going to say:

    My theories before the Tests started that were largely argues with:

    Adam Jones is a great prop in the loose and at the scrum
    J Roberts is really good
    Stephen Jones is vastly underated and his hands are excellent and he's better than Ogara
    Bod needs to calm down
    It is pointless putting Shane Williams on when everything is lost
    Playing a tight game and into their hands will never test them and will instead play into their hands
    We need to play rugby at themand we'll open them up

    Ok:
    So:

    It feels like it was close, in reality we had our 5 best players injured and this isn't an excuse as we tried the physical game and these are injuries as a result of that. So in a way that is our fault.

    We fundamentaly lost because for most of the two tests we played into the Bok hands by trying to play a territory game and keeping it tight, with a flat attacking line. When ever we played rugby and ignored them and actually moved them around with plhases they looked veruy ordinary, when we worried about the score, attempted to defend it by kicking, by not contesting the breakdown (mainly due to the absense of Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones) they started creeping into the game. The discipline was awful toward the end (remember the fly half was taken off for missing 3 easy penalties) and we then lost and felt sorry for ourselves. Poor leadership that the guys couldn't stop giving away penalties but it's the nature of non-posession rugby.
    If we had played the first half of test 2 and the second half of test 1 we would have massacered them, in both those halves we had nothing to fear and just played our rugby and ignored the scenario and the oppos.
    What a huge shame.
    We will all meet up in 4 years have the same debate we had in 2005 and 2009, whether we basically are going to pick our best players, with a style and a game that can beat one of the big 3 or whether we are going to just worry about the oppos and play into their hands by kicking the ball away. I can't fault the effort but it's a waste of talent and an inefficent use of resources. M Williams on at the end when the madness had set in? Waste.

    The funniest thing is that Shane williams will now go back to Wales, play amazingly for wales in the autum internationals and the 2010 6 nations and everyone will say he has "rediscovered his form!" really!
    Or he just basically started playing nin a team that believes in their talented players and gives them a platform to operate. Same after 2005.
    In the final analysis it will be viewed more than odd that the IRB world player of the year was moved out of the team for Ugo monye who never played in test 2 and the lions just tightend up.
    We could've killed this lot. Wasted opportunity.
    Seee you in 4 years for another bought of British self doubt.
    WE HAVE THE TALENT.


  • Comment number 22.

    Guess what I am going to say:

    My theories before the Tests started that were largely argues with:

    Adam Jones is a great prop in the loose and at the scrum
    J Roberts is really good
    Stephen Jones is vastly underated and his hands are excellent and he's better than Ogara
    Bod needs to calm down
    It is pointless putting Shane Williams on when everything is lost
    Playing a tight game and into their hands will never test them and will instead play into their hands
    We need to play rugby at themand we'll open them up

    Ok:
    So:

    It feels like it was close, in reality we had our 5 best players injured and this isn't an excuse as we tried the physical game and these are injuries as a result of that. So in a way that is our fault.

    We fundamentaly lost because for most of the two tests we played into the Bok hands by trying to play a territory game and keeping it tight, with a flat attacking line. When ever we played rugby and ignored them and actually moved them around with plhases they looked veruy ordinary, when we worried about the score, attempted to defend it by kicking, by not contesting the breakdown (mainly due to the absense of Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones) they started creeping into the game. The discipline was awful toward the end (remember the fly half was taken off for missing 3 easy penalties) and we then lost and felt sorry for ourselves. Poor leadership that the guys couldn't stop giving away penalties but it's the nature of non-posession rugby.
    If we had played the first half of test 2 and the second half of test 1 we would have massacered them, in both those halves we had nothing to fear and just played our rugby and ignored the scenario and the oppos.
    What a huge shame.
    We will all meet up in 4 years have the same debate we had in 2005 and 2009, whether we basically are going to pick our best players, with a style and a game that can beat one of the big 3 or whether we are going to just worry about the oppos and play into their hands by kicking the ball away. I can't fault the effort but it's a waste of talent and an inefficent use of resources. M Williams on at the end when the madness had set in? Waste.

    The funniest thing is that Shane williams will now go back to Wales, play amazingly for wales in the autum internationals and the 2010 6 nations and everyone will say he has "rediscovered his form!" really!
    Or he just basically started playing nin a team that believes in their talented players and gives them a platform to operate. Same after 2005.
    In the final analysis it will be viewed more than odd that the IRB world player of the year was moved out of the team for Ugo monye who never played in test 2 and the lions just tightend up.
    We could've killed this lot. Wasted opportunity.
    Seee you in 4 years for another bought of British self doubt.
    WE HAVE THE TALENT.


  • Comment number 23.

    As a SA fan I'd like to thank the lions for a great tour and add my personal endorsement of the concept. We see so much rugby now days that the lions remains one of the few "big moments" that we spend years waiting for.

    It would be interesting to see how things would have worked out if BOD was captain, I feel O'Connell seemed to fade in the heat of the battle. And what a battle. Besides the Burger incident, I saw a fierce battle rather than the "cheap shots" some people believe they saw - I see no difference between Botha-on-Jones and O'Driscoll-on-Rossouw for example.

    Can't wait for the next tour.

  • Comment number 24.

    Boks well and truly deserved the win. Surely now changes must be made! McGeechan get your act together...OConnell , Rees out..... Hines and Ford in!

  • Comment number 25.

    As a South African, first off two apologies: Burger's eye-gouging was a disgusting act of thuggery and as much as I rate his skills as a player I hope he gets a serious ban - I'd argue a year is suitable. Secondly, the coach's reaction to the gouging is equally deplorable and he should be censured for that too.

    That said, I do think there's a tendency on the part of the "Home Nations" to be whingers. There were two sides on the field, both going hammer and tongs at each other. There was as much niggle from the Lions as from the Boks and rightly so - this is rugby, not tiddlywinks and crying about injuries and blaming refs etc is just an attempt to avoid the fact that the Lions were beaten, 2 - 0 with the third game likely to make it 3 -0.

    As for the continuation of Lions tours - long may they last. For us it's a huge honour to play against the combined teams of the north and I'd be very sad if the tours were relegated to history. The rugby has been excellent at times and the closeness of the games is testimony to that. The pride and passion on display is something we admire and relate to and it's a breath of fresh air having different opponents to the usual tri-nations every year.

  • Comment number 26.

    Somehow I think our downfall is that we always look for the positives in defeat.

    We lost to the Boks because we were not clinical enough in both tests. We lack that final something, that spark that wins games - more importantly that overwhelming belief that we will not lose. We lack decision making, better this tour, but just look at the second half of the last test. We backed off and played a different game, we could see it was not working; where were the decision makers on the field to change the script? This time we had the players, the skill levels, the aggression, the commitment just not that final piece of the jigsaw that winners mentality.

    Forget Red Cards, forget generous TMO's, forget the great spirit shown by the squad and the huge work rate of all of the players - don't blame ROG - we lost because we lack that killer instinct to put away the game. Great test, great entertainment but there is no comfort in defeat.
    Well done the Boks.

  • Comment number 27.

    Despite Boks and Lions fans having a go at each other, on this forum, last night was a fantastic match to watch. High action, two teams going hammer and tongs at each other. I am disapointed with Burger, but I only hope for his sake that it was accidental. There was nothing in the game, either team could have won. And the first game was super close too. Lions can take pride in their game, they really had the better of the Boks for large portions of the game. Long live the Lions, such intense drama is awesome to watch. Can't wait for the third test either.

  • Comment number 28.

    Why am I the only one who doesn't think O'Driscoll's challenge was a fair one.
    1. He tried to wrap his arms around the player, but bounced off him.
    2. You don't 'charge' someone with your chest.

  • Comment number 29.

    Some worrying comments about "deliberately taking out players"...need to get some facts sorted and some perspective here.
    1. Burger - disgusting act, long ban, no excuses
    2. Botha-Jones: citing commisioner will punish accordingly
    3. Gethin Jenkins: injured in (high?) double-tackle with BOD on Habana. Accidental clash of heads (with BOD I think)
    4. Jamie Roberts: Came into match wearing bandage on wrist, injury aggravated when tried to grab player running past him for Habana's try
    5. BOD: Self inflicted, combination of #3 above plus stupid charge on Roussouw (whose head injury was celebrated by Sky commentators and fans - what's that about?)

    So let's have some perspective here. A great test match! Close, exciting test matches by definition have tight, tense finishes and someone has to lose. So if you cannot take the tension or result, then best not to watch...let's just congratulate both teams. The Lions celebrated and desrved a close win in 1997 (regardless of who was the "better team") and now it's the Boks turn. Long live the Lions and test match rugby.

  • Comment number 30.

    clanfan has a point. I have seen plenty of dirty Boks teams over the years and did not think these too bad, Burger excepted. He is a DISGRACE as is anyone who gouges an eye. Cowardly and dangerous and no place in the game. If their coach really did say it is part of the game he should be banned too. Series hadss been great. Ref last wek was shocking this week I thought him pretty good (Burger incident excepted again, but that was last week's ref's fault again) and you have to credit Steyn with bottle and skill and Fourie too, even if he just touched the line with his KNEE a split second before he touched down. But it is sport and stuff happens. That is what makes it worth watching.

  • Comment number 31.

    No doubt this blog is going to turn into a slagging match.............When hasn't it?

    Some getting their digs in against their least favourite players. Some bitter about selection. Should've had more from their country on the starting 15 etc etc.

    Fact is a scratch side has pushed a very very good team very very close in 2 tests in 2 weeks.

    Fact is many established sides cannnot put 2 high intensity games together bank to back.

    Fact is there WERE mistakes in selections, BUT that is because there were not enough MEANINGFUL build up matches. Aa a result, players flaws were not highlighted, and problems in the SYSTEMS were not foung out.

    Fact is it takes established sides years to perfect a defensive system, so players know each other inside out! The lions had weeks.

    Fact is it takes established sides years to perfect a lineout, so players know each other inside out, the lions had weeks.

    Fact is it takes established sides years to perfect an attacking pattern, the lions had weeks.

    Fact is the lions have won 4 test series in thier long history. Always playing against the odds!

    Fact is we should be very proud of the players, management, coaches, supporters (PROPER SUPPORTERS WHO SUPPORT).

    In the last few weeks every blog has decended into a slagging matches, with abuse flying left right and centre. Its a bit boring!

    Suppose I'll just sit back and wait for it to happen again!

  • Comment number 32.

    where's my comment. I am not a new member!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Possibly the greatest test match involving the British & Irish Lions. This game swung from one side to another like a pendulum. The final outcome would be gut wrenching for one side and sadly it happened to be the Lions. But the Lions must continue to tour for the greater good of rugby and for days like this!

  • Comment number 34.

    The coaching staff should apologise to the players. In the first half they took the game to SA, rattled them, even dominated them and built up the lead. Second half they were instructed to play a containing territorial game in preparation for a last push when fitness and superior all round play would prevail. The readiness to hoof it up-field and consequently turnovers through poor tactical kicking brought SA back in waves. Lions tackle count went up dramatically and all the injuries were tackle related. Why can't we think and play like the All Blacks- if you have the team down, grind him into the earth. The players were magnificent - the coaches were wrong.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    The bottom line is the Lions were unable to handle the Boks' physicality - period. The Boks have always had a reputation for being physically imposing in every facet of the game and this showed yesterday once again, and the Lions couldn't take the rough stuff. All talk, but when it comes down to it, couldn't deliver. The exception to this is the Burger incident, for which (as a South African) I will back as long a ban as the officials decide. In fact what itmeans is that Brussow will be in the starting line-up instead of Burger, and we all know what that pocket battleship is capable of....

  • Comment number 38.

    brazilrugger - I have been lucky enough to be on the recieving end of an eye gouge in a ruck as well as an open fracture of a leg through a mistimed challenge playing football (soccer). I still horbour more resentment for the eye gouge which very nearly left me blind in one eye, as it is ALWAYS a pre-meditated action and NEVER an accident in my point of view. You are an idiot to suggest in any way that this was deserved by a lions call for more physicality!!

    And just why would this only deserve a yellow is the simple question asked in Britain and Ireland, citing should not be a get out clause for not adequaltely punishing during the match. This was abismal refereeing since it was spotted by the touch judge! In some respects Ican see why the ref would feel torn, the IRB has reacted shamefully in the past regarding eye gouging banning Parisse for only 8 weeks which is LESS than the minimum for serious foul play - not exactly sending out the message that this is not acceptable. Nevertheless, no real excuse to me, the IRB needs to sort this out with a very lengthy ban and let everyone of its referees worldwide know the only acceptable stance is a straight red!

  • Comment number 39.

    Very close and great to watch up until the last minute....what was ROG thinking giving them possession, let alone not even pretending to go for the ball, with 28 seconds to go!?

    The thing that has annoyed me the most about this tour is the fact that the Saffers (disrespectfully and unsportingly) pulled the Boks from all the provincial games before the tests....I'm not sure what the advantage is in offering up the Lions squad to loads of dubious/dangerous challenges from these teams consisting mainly of farmers out for a scalp before we even make the tests!

    Obviously the team need to time to gel but there must be a better way....or force the provincial sides to field a competetive team rather than withdrawing the Boks...

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with DicSionCati,

    It was a great test match as a result of the players and in many ways despite the coaches of both sides who made major errors (in both tests).

    Understandable from the Bok coach who is fairly inexperienced at test match level (and a maverick anyway), but surprising for Geech and his team.

  • Comment number 41.

    dencraven.
    Good comment. Fair and sensible. Unlike Suzypoison, who thinks you can gouge someone's eye "by accident!"
    We need more people in both hemispheres who put the game first. 'Cos it is a great game.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi All, I am a massive, born and bred 'Bok fan, now living in the UK.
    I was appalled and disgusted by Burger's behaviour. In my opinion he should be banned for life. He has never really been worth all the hype as he plays too dirty and gives away too many penalties. Let's face it, he gave the Lions 10 minutes against 14 men with 10 pints scored and then a further 3 points for offside at a crucial stage.
    Bakkies Botha is another player that deserves to be banned for dirty play. He is always on the edge of what is acceptable and is too often part of frays and punch-ups.
    Without these 2, the Springboks have a better chance of consistently playing good rugby and winning, without having to make up for needless penalties.
    As for the Lions - they tried! The fact is that in the end they were not good enough or tough enough and they were beaten by a side that plays uncompromising rugby and never gives up - the World Champs!
    There must always be a Lions tour - it is almost as important as the Tri-Nations to South Africans.
    Lions fans- please keep your feet on the ground and in touch with reality when you make comments about how you "should have" won or "could Have".
    Cheers

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Lions fan, I don't think we should bitch too much about the ref. OK, the touch judge should have recommended a red card for Burger, but he didn't, and you can't blame the ref for following his recommendation.

    The responsibility for losing this test lies squarely with Ronan O'Gara and McGeechan. O'Gara comes on, misses a vital tackle leading to a try, and gives away a series-losing penalty. It's not bashing the Irish (I'm a bid BOD fan) to say that O'Gara isn't much good - he offers little different to Stephen Jones, except worse tackling and less creativity. He can only cover one position. I don't think he should ahve been on the tour, and he certainly should nto have been on the bench. Hook has shown form on the tour, can cover 12 and 15 as well as 10, and if you need to change the way we were playing he could do that too. He was declared fit, so why not use him? The frustrating thing is that, with all the other bad luck we had, had it not been for ROG we would still have won.

    Greater responsibility lies with McGeechan. I don't just mean ROG, but poor selection choices earlier on. Shane Williams was a great player last year. On this tour, he hasn't been. I don't like to say it as a Welshman, but Delon Armitage has played well. Had he been on tour, and on the bench instead of Shane, he could have covered wings, 13 and 15. With him and Hook we'd have had cover for the entirety of the outside back line. Instead, we went in with a outside half who can't tackle, a wing who was great last year, and no cover for centre.

    Nice to see Simon Shaw get a cap, he played great, as did so many others,- Roberts, BOD, Stephen Jones. Shame they were let down by poor decision making by McGeechan.

  • Comment number 44.

    Some very good comments made, only to backed up with an almost child like insistance that Shane Williams would have won both tests on his own. Would you have picked Wilkinson just because he was ONCE the best player in the world? Of course not.

    Also, It's very easy for my fellow countrymen to point the finger at Mears & Vickery but no-one seems to have pointed at Wyn-Jones? The decision to leave out Shaw was shown to be madness yesterday. Simply awesome.

    As for Burger, any ban he receieves (3 months is fair) will only be at our cost. Brussow is the form player and without him, we had a good shout at the breakdown. Burger is the same as Shane Williams, once a great player, and will be again, but he's simply not on his game at the moment.

  • Comment number 45.

    the thing for me was the third try, wasnt tmo asked was it a try? surely in circumstances he should have said i cant tell so cant make a decision rather than telling the ref to award the try, if he had been asked is there any reason why i cant award the try then he could have said i can see no reason. would have still been 1-1 if that hadnt been done!

  • Comment number 46.

    As I've said and thought for a long time, it is time now to cease these Lions tours - not just because of this Series defeat, and the fact that the Lions haven't won a Test match since Australia in June 2001, but because the concept has lost its lustre, purpose and credibility. It has become a booze-fuelled junket for rugby "enthusiasts" and an increasingly futile attempt to play full International teams and WIN, and a late attempt by the players to joing the "Greats" of bygone days, when Rugby was a very different game and the concept was very appealling. Now, with Sports saturation, true rugby followers would prefer to watch Internationals and I'm pretty damn sure the players would prefer to play those. Players say they can do nothing about the past but the real point is that by not winning they are creating no future and the Lions lustre dims and tarnishes. Even if the Lions continue and win a series, what does that mean? Actually, NOTHING - soon forgotten and replaced by the International scene. There are older supporters who live the past of the Lions through these tours and supporters many of whom do not really understand that culture. Best to move on - move with the times, and for those Lions supporters who REALLY care, leave them with memories of the past glories. There is no future for the Lions in today's world as a meaningful, competitive force, and if 8 years without a victory is not enough, any more will threaten to totally besmirch the Lions history.

  • Comment number 47.

    Test matches and series are decided on small decisions such as monyes first effort in the 1st test and the South Africans 3rd try in the 2nd test. Another day and another place it could have gone in the lions favour and we would be talking about how amazing the lions were to win the series and looking for them to go unbeaten for the whole tour. It just wasn't to be. But what a test match it was I couldn't of asked for anything more. well maybe a lions win. Kearney in the first half was on another planet, breathtaking display.

    Burger why wasn't he sent off? touch judge: "yellow minimum" I can't help but think if it was 30+ minutes into the game it would of been red. Once again they are the decisions which either go for or against you.

  • Comment number 48.

    I listened to the game on the radio. It sounded like a great test; which was, unfortunately, tarnished by some dirty play and dodgy referring decisions. It also sounded as if a draw would have been the fair result. The Lions' first team won the first half convincingly, the Boks won the second half convincingly against a scratch Lions' second team. The final penalty decision sounded harsh; especially given all that had happened in the match.

    I hope that the Lions put on as good a show in the final test. Let's hope that some of the replacements play as well as Simon Shaw did yesterday. (How could he have been passed-over for so long?)

    It's a pity that the BBC does not show live television coverage, or even post-match highlights, of test matches involving the Lions. Lions tours are a great way of uniting the Home unions and of providing some opposition to the big three Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. The BBC should (be allowed to?) support and promote their continued existence on television.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Burger incident is getting in the way of analysing the test.

    Every rugby and sports fan would agree that Burger's actions don't belong on any sport's field and deserve the maximum sanction. No debate there.

    However, by going on about the "yellow" versus "red" card, are we saying that the Lions would only have won if the Boks had 14 men for 80 minutes? That would be doing a huge discredit to the players who gave everything but lost by a single kick.

    I still say the coaches messed up. While the players only had a few weeks to gel, the coaches had months to think about this! For a good, balanced article about both sets of coaches, see "The day the Lions lost it" on the supersport.com website.

  • Comment number 50.

    A number of things that haven't been mentioned on this blog:

    1. Sheridans punch to the nether regions of bekker. Cynical or just dirty.
    2. Holding of defenders at every ruck? not binding but deliberately impeeding defenders.
    3. The Lions team co-ordinated high tackle policy - the number of times it happened can only mean it was a pre planned tactic. (Yup the number of B&I lions going off injured in the 2nd was a tactic of the boks - Both statements are a load of rubbish)
    4. POC's inability to congratulate the boks in either game for the win - sore loser!

  • Comment number 51.

    For the South Africa coach Peter de Villiers to openly state on the eye gouging incident that "I don't believe it was a card at all," and also refused to condemn Burger's actions, must be brought to book by the IRB.These players and coaches are all roll models to young children and for him to state that trying to blind someone doesnt warrant a yellow card or any punishment then surely he has brought the game into disrepute and be banned the same as Burger will undoubtedly be.
    This is an unbelievable sickening statement by the South Africa coach. Lets hope the rugby world now all call for him to resign and be banned for making such a ridiculous cowardly statement.

    Your Thoughts?.............................

  • Comment number 52.

    A scratch side has taken on the world's best team and pushed them as close as it can get in two cracking test matches. They did not deserve to lose yesterday, what a shame that the final test won't be the winner-takes-all contest that the series has deserved. The Lions have restored the pride that was stripped from them during Woodward's farcical 2005 tour, and re-established themselves as a great rugby institution. All those who have been calling for the Lions tours to cease should hopefully now have been silenced. Who wouldn't want to see the drama and passion we witnessed yesterday, even if the final outcome was so bitterly disappointing? Everyone involved on this tour can return with heads held high and just hope for a little more luck four years on!

  • Comment number 53.

    'the Boks won the second half convincingly against a scratch Lions' second team' - not quite the superlatives used when postions were reversed in the 2nd test.

    What is this rugby forum coming to? There is no place for such bias

  • Comment number 54.

    @ Closertofine; Lions tours should not be scrapped. They are something to which rugby fans look forward. More of an issue re sports saturation are the autumn internationals. Rugby fans in South Wales miss the days of the proper tour, when, say, New Zealand would come over and play a series of games against local opposition, leading up to a test match. Why shouldn't they play the regions?

    Another issue is the programme of Lions Tours. They should play all the super14 teams in the country toured, and any player not playing in his team's game against the Lions should be ineligible for the first test after the game.

    A couple more thoughts; what about a European team, as opposed to the British & Irish, every so often (every second time a country is visited)? And what about full Lions tours to Argentina?

  • Comment number 55.

    I think it would be advantageous for both the lions and argentina if they were to be incorporated into the tour . . .

  • Comment number 56.

    We lost. I've read some biased, unbiased, well-informed, ill-informed and angry posts here today and I can't really add anything new.. But here are two thoughts:

    When are refs (with or without advice from fellow officials) going to really clamp down on eye gouging? When someone is made permanently blind?

    The attitude shown by the Boks coach was disgraceful. He was almost condoning it! A terrible example to all players and coaches, young or old.

    These opinions are not anti-Bok - well done to them, they are anti-gouging. The eyes are not protected in rugby and targeting them shows cowardice, ignorance, callousness and viciousness. What did Quinlan get? 12 weeks? Burger should start planning a long holiday.

  • Comment number 57.

    Did it not strike anyone yesterday how wrong the replacements were in the backs? James Hook can cover Fly half and centre, and shane williams can cover scrum-half and wing, so why was harry ellis on there aswell when there was never a chance he'd get on, and if we needed a replacement SH then Shane Williams would do fine? Where was the planning if any of the centres got injured? Tommy Bowe is too light for inside centre, square pegs and round holes?

    Ronan O'Gara is so over-rated its painful. He got smashed against the E.Springboks twice and got smashed by Fourie yesterday on his way to the tryline. Everyone knows he gets targeted. We needed a maverick like Hook yesterday not a steady-eddy like ROG. Jonny Sexton will be taking ROG's Ireland place thats for sure.

    Lions tours will continue as long as they are profitable. Thats all that matters. Hosting unions love them because they bring huge profits, and you only have to look at the sponsors to see how much money Lions Tours generate. The Aussies will definitely produce a slicker marketing campaign and ensure every match is sold out. If anything this tour has GROWN the appeal of the Lions

  • Comment number 58.

    WELL DONE THE WELSH & IRISH BRITISH LIONS FOR 2009 FOR PROVING THAT WHEN IT COMES TO THE CRUNCH, THE WINNING MENTALLITY WAS NOT IN SIGHT.

    1) SOMEBODY DIRECT RONAN O'GARA TO THE GYM PLEASE.....should never have been on tour, I thought he was the mascot when shaking hands at the end

    2) WHY WAS SHANE 'TINY, I'M GOING TO GET HURT AND TURNED OVER' WILLIAMS ON THE BENCH AND NOT MONYE....what had monye done wrong, was this because gatland and edwards had far too much influence through the tour? the backs on the bench were a shocking selection, where was the impact/ center cover??????

    3) CAPTAIN POC WAS WORST PLAYER ON THE PITCH/TOUR

    4) KEARNEY/SHAW/CROFT BEST PLAYERS ON THE PITCH YET WOULDN'T HAVE PLAYED IF DOWN TO THE WELSHY BOY COACHES....we would have had the teary eyes of Allun 'all emotion no punch' wynne jones, lee 'ow my leg hurts when the ground is hard ' byrne, or allun 'funny guy' quinlan (or ryan jones heaven forbid)

    All in all the lack of balance in coaching lead to the loss, clear favouritism in selection,

    CHOCKERS

    ROLE ON 2011 WORLD CUP WHEN WE CAN SHOW YOU HOW TO GET TO THE FINAL OF A COMPETITION/WIN IT!

  • Comment number 59.

    No. 53, Bopeti.

    If I understand you, you are objecting to the fact that I pointed out that the Lion's were badly weakened by injury in the second half. It seems to me that this is simply a fact. In the first half they dominated in the scrum and in back play. They then lost both props and both centers.

    McGeechan is reported as saying ""I don't think anybody expected this [tour] to be as competitive as it has been through both Tests". Clearly he didn't anticipate the injury rate of the second test.

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one prop (center) is unfortunate, to lose both looks like carelessness; on the part of the players themselves, their opponents, or the match officials.

  • Comment number 60.


    22. SuperGedwards9 : i assume you posted on here, twice, and the same piece on the other blog, because you wanted people to read your input. so KEEP IT BRIEF ALREADY!

  • Comment number 61.

    Re: Closertofine (#46). If lustre, purpose and credibility merits the continuing of the Lions, should we also assume that the Scottish rugby should be scrapped entirely, and that UK's national football teams should also be scrapped because they no longer represent anything other than ongoing abject failure and, in the case of England, a continuing longing to be back in 1966?

    The Lions is the ultimate ambition for any UK or Irish player, and the fact that the likes of Matfield, Smit, Burger and co have ignored big money contracts in Europe to stay in South Africa says all that you need to know about appearing for - or against - the British and Irish Lions. Many players don't consider they've achieved all they can achieve in the game unless they've pulled on the red jersey (and similar things can be said of the stature of the Barbarians too).

    That fans hark back to yesteryear is true of any sport. Listen to Sky harping on about the 2005 Ashes....England football fans talking about 1966, or the amazing era of Muhammed Ali in boxing. And all attract bizarre travelling support - the Barmy Army, Ricky Hatton's support, the Lions Tours - they attract huge support, put money into sport etc.

    A failure for the Lions in a test series hurts all the more because the next possible hope of a win is at least 4 years away, and the rarity of wins reflects the toughness of winning as a Lion in a test series. That's what makes the victories all the sweeter. Players seek challenges - and surely there is no greater challenge than to form a scratch side that brings together the best from these islands, and pits them against the best that the Southern Hemisphere has to offer?

    Re: DGHughes (#54) I'm not a fan of an actual tour to Argentina - it would only act to make tours to the SANZAR countries less frequent - but it could be feasible to include a stop-off to Argentina as part of the NZ Lions Tours and travel westwards that way? I certainly agree, however, that the provincial matches on tours are de-valued when top players are rested for the Test Series. The issue, of course, is that SANZAR countries generally retain a degree of centrally-contracting the players, which gives the national sides first call on the players. It would therefore require some sort of romanticist, rather than pragmatist, within the SANZAR nations to change things from the status quo, particularly given the success of NZ and SA in the past two tours when the resting of international players has been so apparent.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'd like to see Declan Kidney in charge in Oz in 4 years. I think the Lions would have a great chance with young players like Earls, Fitzgerald, Kearney, Halfpenney, Croft etc, who in 4 years will hopefully have developed into world class players.

  • Comment number 63.

    Unlucky and as hard done by as the lions may be, it is embarrassing that our four nations together can't beet any of the southern hemisphere teams. What does that say about the strength of the home nations individually?

  • Comment number 64.

    Goodbye De Villiers. Not only do you add nothing to the SA rugby setup you now completely discredit sport of any description by your latest moronic utterances post the Burger incident. You were a political pick by a country that is desperate to try and present a politically correct face. That country now needs to stop worrying about the political element and just start being correct. Sack the man hes an affront to anyone that works hard to pull half his wage.

  • Comment number 65.

    Great Game.
    I missed the opening few minutes and the gouging incident. From my experience only 1 of 2 explainations:

    1. Burger was retaliating, perhaps someone had their hands on his gonads and he thought it was Fitzgerald.

    2. Burger made a simple but major mistake in the heat of the moment, he does seem to have a "hot head"

    I agree with the previous comments about not winging about the ref and injuries. O`Driscoll certainly got away with it coming in from off-side with a dangerous tackle!

    The final game should be even better!!

  • Comment number 66.

    A great comment by stoatsnest - the Radio 5 Live team were awful. I caught the commentary at the end when O'Gara gave away the stupid penalty. The comments, when I later saw the incident, were simply biased and stupid. They belong in the idiotic and sycophantic world of football coverage, not rugby.

    As for the tour, is winning everything? Winning in the way Burger and Botha did might suit some, but I'd rather not have a team play like that - now we see why the old 99 was needed. I was impressed with O'Driscoll for standing up to the worst of the South Africans. Overall, does it matter how you win? Maradona or his countless Argentinean fans might not, some people commenting here might not, but really ask yourself - would you want to win on the back of the sort of play that should see Botha and Burger suspended (or that saw Quinlan rightly banned and excluded from the tour, or that saw Ireland's Neil Best miss 18 weeks at the start of the season)?

    The worst part for me was that such play is seemingly tolerated in parts of the game, on one hand by the sad, idiotic pub bores who never played a second's rugby in their lives but more worryingly by the officials - was it just me or did the South Africans get away with murder, compared to the Lions? Or were they simply more "professional" in dealing with the officials?

    Either way, a great spectacle. It would be good to see it expanded to the Six Nations teams, a la Ryder Cup golf.

  • Comment number 67.

    gpjmoss
    Your comments imply the Lions lost because Burger gouged! This comment does no-one any favours.
    Thankfully Fitzgerald was ok, and the only losers were the Boks (who lost 10 points and had their reputation tarnished) and rugby. Burger will be punished and may never play for the Boks again (good!). The truth is we could not hold on to a 10 point lead, mainly because the team stopped playing rugby in the second half (was this a management decision?) and did not have the correct people on the bench to replace injuries.
    As for the other incidents, rugby is a contact sport. Watch the highlights from the Samoa-Fiji game yesterday to see just how physical - makes this test look like touch rugby...

  • Comment number 68.

    I have watched every Lions game since 1989.

    After every series I have either been elated by the win or very disappointed (usually!!!), but willing to conceded that we just got beaten by the better team.

    This is the first series where I have been left with a real sour taste in my mouth due to the Bok's thug tactics.


    There is no no need for it as South Africa are a superb side and can beat anyone just by playing hard rugby.

    Rugby was a loser yesterday.

  • Comment number 69.

    Isn't it funny how all those bloggers who were carping on about how Ronan O'gara simply had to be picked over Stephen Jones for the 1st Test have suddenly all gone very quiet. He came on and cost the Lions the test match. Never mind the injuries we suffered, yes they disrupted us and yes we could have won with a bit to spare if they did not occur but the Lions should still have had enough about them to close out the game with an 11 point lead with 17 mins remaining.

    Cue O'Gara to come on, he misses a tackle on the 22 within moments and then 1 min later misses the tackle on Fourie for the try - didn't even slow the guy's momentum down. Then what is he doing putting an up and under in his own half with 30 secs remaining in the game and then taking the guy out in the air, ludicrous. After the rest of the boys had worked so hard to get the Lions into a winning position ROG goes and costs them 10 points in a matter of minutes.

    I also hated the way that at the kickable penalty opportunities he was grabbing the ball as if to say he was going to take the kicks. This after Jones had kicked immaculately all game and was still on the pitch. After O'gara missed a kick straight in front of the sticks in mid week I know who I wanted to take those kicks.

    So to all those fans of ROG, please don't insult my intelligence by trying to suggest he should start the 3rd test. Unless injuries dictate otherwise Hook will be on the bench and deservedly so.

    Right now the rant is over, can I just say what a marvellous effort from the boys and they came so close, lady luck was just not on their side. Loved the way Jones stuffed the Beast in the scrum and so disappointed he will miss the 3rd test. We'll have to start with John Hayes next week as no point going back to Vickery. Great effort from Simon Shaw. I wasn't sure about his inclusion but was convinced with minutes. Great game from Kearney too. Head up boys and let's go for a victory next week.

  • Comment number 70.

    Here in SA, where we actually have Lions, we can't help noticing the difference between them and the version which has just arrived from London - ours roar, yours squeal.

  • Comment number 71.

    Completely agree with SuperGedwards. Needed a little more nous and cooler heads on the field. Don't blame O'Gara. It should have been wrapped up way before then. Burger is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 72.

    Must say I liked reading comments 21, 25, 26 - some very salient points made.

    As for me I have felt that the BOKs have on the whole outmuscled us and outplayed us at crucial moments of both tests so far. The Lions also shot themselves in the foot as well - in the first 15 minutes of the first test when they were caught cold and in awe of the BOKS and then in the second half of the second test when it dawned on them that they could actually win the game and they tightened up and let the BOKs back into the game.

    To put things in a wider perspective - I think the BOKs wil be third in the trinations this year - because the Aussies and the ABs do not hold them in awe or tighten up when a win is in sight - so perhaps the fundamental flaw in the Lions set up is in fact a lack of self belief.

    A final technical question for anyone who has the answer; why were the Lions pinged for crossing when BOD delayed his pass - while identical plays (at least in my eyes) by the Boks were not penalised - I am not whingeing here- I would really like to know? I await your wisdom?

  • Comment number 73.

    think the biggest problem again was phillips he is far to slow giving the boks time to set there defence up and made so many bad tactical decisions we spent half the game looking for him and having to use someone else at scrum half problem is ellis is terrible and even slower and blair who is the best at quick play is lacking confidence still think would be worth a go mabye picking him would be the boost he needs to show why he was 1 of the 5 players up for world player of the year

  • Comment number 74.

    england2003

    A pity you had to post that. Up till then, I had been very impressed by the high standard of sportsmanship shown by the English posters on here - unlike many of the Irish.

  • Comment number 75.

    To england2003, do you know anything about rugby at all?
    To say that POC was the worst player on is ludricous. Who did you want instead? Borthwick, Kennedy? Wise up!
    Also the "great" Tom Croft was totally anomynous yesterday. A skinny boy among men.

  • Comment number 76.

    This whole tour, the Lions have played rough and physical, they claimed it was their intent. The boks were not the only ones playing rough. The lead was only built up due to the yellow carding, so you can't ask for much more. You brits fail to give the boks any credit, they are the better team. As for being a composite team, they have performed better than any of the 4 home nations would against the boks on their own! Stop talking like your world beaters, you're not and haven't been for a while. The 3 best teams in the world on a day in, day out basis aree still the all blacks, wallabies and the springboks. Yes, they may lose an occasional test here or there, but not too often. The southern hemisphere rules, in fact with a professional structiure argentina, somoa, tonga etc will quickly overtake the northern hemisphere. Stop whining boys, you played as well as you could and you lost to a better side again!

  • Comment number 77.

    I was first and foremost a football watcher but the pansies that play that game have turned me off, they say rugby is mans game, yes, I would agree. There is one thing though that disturbs me with both games, referees just dont seem able to grasp that their first duty is to officiate in a manner that protects the wellbeing of the participants.

    Physical, confrontational, intimidating play by all means but when we begin to see acts like eye gouging, or two footed tackles in football, surely referees/linesmen should be proficient and not afraid to dish out a red card irrespective of whether its in the 1st or last minute.

    People go on about red cards dished out early ruin games as spectacles, forgive me but those people are condoning brutality, and acts such as Burger's have no play in Society let alone a sports pitch.

    The authorities should throw the book at him, also discipline the SA coach, whose comments defy belief and finally admonish the officials.

    Hard, committed games, yes but leave out the brutality.



  • Comment number 78.

    I think lions tours should go on as i have been a fan for a while and to have four nations together for such a short time and to play some great rugby is fantastic. Also the ethos and tradition of past tours that did not appear 4 years ago ,came back on this tour.
    I agree with most of your posts about the eye gouging and agree it should of been a red card but also the selections are questionable.
    Im a big collector of lions memorabilia and you cant beat the 1971 lions tour when we showed new zealand what class we have with the likes of gerald davies and willie john and david duckham, there has been some stand out performances on this tour too.There arw a few players who should not have been picked originally and some who should of like tom croft.It would of been brilliant if we would of held on to our lead and came down to the last test, but we were a bit unlucky but four years time i hope we can play like we did in most of the matches on tour and come out with a series win. Well done South africa on the series hope we can come back in 12 years time and take the series again for ourselves.

  • Comment number 79.

    great game of rugby - real shame we stopped playing rugby in the second half (which obviously wasn't helped by the injuries). well done to south africa though, good sides tend to take their chances when they arise - SA did and we didn't throughout both tests.

    Everyone knew O'Gara's defence was poor but his "tackle" before the SA final try was a shambles and underlined why he wasn't picked.

  • Comment number 80.

    Im just commenting upon ,i think it was england 2003's comment, i thought it was unnecessary as im English, but the two best teams of the six nations lately have been Ireland and Wales and they should rightly have most of the positions in the lions tour, England team is still learning .After winning the world cup in 2003 we lost alot of players through retirements and this is a young side that will come great in the future through experience. I think this lions squad did really well, with what happened at the start when they lost key players before the tour even left the shores. I think the selectors got it mostly right.

  • Comment number 81.

    30jan1999-

    No I would have had Hines alongside shaw, POC was no where to be seen, especially in the first test and yesterday he was the least effective of the pack........I suggest it is you who needs to consider your ability to analyse the game of rugby if you believe Tom Croft played poorly, his work in the line out was nothing if not spectacular.

    Ron666

    Why should I be un-biased when clearly the lions selection wasn't.....can you honestly say that Shane williams would have been on the bench if Gatland/edwards/howley weren't championing him and giving hime every opportunity? can you honestly say that O'gara should have been on the bench? where was the centre cover? williams came on and got hit big time and turned over (as he did on tuesdat vs emerging boks) and we all know what happened with o'gara's cameo.......an absoloute joke

  • Comment number 82.

    I take it no one this week is going to suggest that O'Gara plays at 10 next Saturday?

    Real shame that Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins are injured, mind you, the Boks had to do something to disrupt the ascendancy the Lions had in the scrum...

  • Comment number 83.

    re: post 58 england2003

    you are obviously living in the past, 2003 was 6 years ago, i dont know why you are trying to make a point of having more english players in the lions squad, the team that started last night was very good and if that team finished the game i think we would be looking forward to a decider next weekend, andd as forall the crap about POC he is the best lock in the northern hemisphere...fact

    sick of reading studid, innacurate comments from english fans, dont mean to paint all english rugby fans with the same brush, most on this blog are good rugby fans with good comments, just wish arrogant people like the above would stop filling these blogs with rubbish...

    all in all good effort last nite, just we didnt perform in the second half...

    burger shoul receive a lengthy ban

  • Comment number 84.

    Hi everyone, you can see from my name I am English and live in Joburg where I have been contributing to a blog on:-
    http://www.sport24.co.za/Content/Rugby/LionsinSA/954/e54d6507b07f41aa9b3748328fc836e4//Boks_win_epic_Test
    Well worth a look at this website - many other blogs about rugby - the local SA fans are very passionate and knowledgeable and you can read their comments and feelings about their "coach" and his antics...
    The emotions are running high but after all it was a top contest and I just want to add:-
    1. Congratulations once again to the Boks who showed a great determination and spirit to achieve their win.
    2. Congratulations to all the Boks supporters who are amongst the most passionate and loyal supporters in the world as well as being very knowledgeable about the game, the players, and the coaches. I will be sat with you guys supporting the Boks vs the NZ and Aussies.
    3. Congratulations to the Lions for putting up such a battle as clear under-dogs against the mighty Boks.
    4. Congratulations to the Lions fans who deserve everyone's respect especially for the fact that they travel around the globe to support their team as they never play "at home".
    One final thought for you all just for fun so that the 3rd Test can be at least a bit interesting.
    Shall we pretend its a 1 match series and that we are 2/3 of the way through the "match" with the combined score currently being Boks 54-46 Lions with the last 1/3 (being the 80 minutes at Ellis Park) to play.
    I wonder whether the Lions have a chance of coming back in the final "1/3" or whether the "hiding" will continue?
    Any thoughts on this? (constructive please!!!)
    I wish all of you a happy remainder of the weekend.
    See you at Ellis Park! Rob

  • Comment number 85.

    gentlemansteveo1-

    england/wales/ireland are of a similar standard at the minute. If they played each other tomorrow the result would be based on the venue more than a huge gap in ability (aka the 6N's when england were away to both) the fact is if it had been up to selection panel (mainly gatland/edwards/howley) then croft wouldn't have been on tour, I have no doubt the only reason shaw was on tour was because of geech's wasps connection and the welsh were championing Gough or someone else of the same 'ilk', the fact the shaw had been the best second row on tour didn't get him selected for first test (i'm sure if he had been welsh it would have bben diff)

    armittage should have been in for williams as williams has done nothing in a year, if he doesn't beat the first man he's in trouble and likeley to get turned over, yes he won'world player of the year' but that wasn't in a world cup/lions year and was more of a political choice to show the IRB had not forgotten about NH rugby.

    andrew sherridan should also have started yesterday and showed why when he came on, yes jenkins had a good season but had done very little in the first test against 'smit' who is a hooker playing prop! danny care should have bben ahead of both ellis and blair and would have been pushing for a start.

    vickery was made a scapegoat after first test however i'm certain if he'd had shaw behind as jones had yesterday instead of wynn-jones it would have been a different story.

    Fact is this was a Irish/welsh lions team with a welsh coaching team so they have to carry the 'can'. no doubt if 10 english players had been selected (ala 2005) then the celts would be on here bashing the english as they were on these forums leading up to this tour (even though the english side had of course won the world cup a mere 20 months earlier and if wales/ireland won a world cup they would expect the next lions team to be made up predomanantly of those players) not forgeting the last world cup final was yet again only 20 months ago and where were the celts then?????

  • Comment number 86.

    england2003

    What a load of rubbish. You make no sense at all.

  • Comment number 87.

    paddyrugby-

    excellent maths there son, yes the 2003 world cup was 6 years ago, how about world cup 2007? around 20 months!!!

    POC isn't the best second row in his house.........fact! as if putting 'FACT' at the end of a sentance gives it any more credibility! jog on

  • Comment number 88.

    Hi all, you can see from my name that I am Englishman living in Joburg.
    Yesterday at Loftus was a fantastic contest and a truly top rugby match.
    I am new here (no idea why my earlier comment #84 was blocked - this was it...) but I have also been contributing to a local SA blog where if you are interested you can read how knowledgeable and passionate the local SA rugby supporters are by going to sport24 dot co dot za
    In summary:-
    1. Congratulations to the Boks who showed a great determination and spirit to achieve their win.
    2. Congratulations to all the Boks supporters who are amongst the most passionate and loyal supporters in the world as well as being very knowledgeable about the game, the players, and the coaches. I will be sat with you guys supporting the Boks vs the NZ and Aussies.
    3. Congratulations to the Lions for putting up such a battle as clear under-dogs against the mighty Boks.
    4. Congratulations to the Lions fans who deserve everyone's respect especially those who travel around the globe to support their team as of course the Lions never play "at home".
    One final thought for you all just for fun so that the 3rd Test can be at least a bit interesting.
    Shall we all pretend its a 1 match series and that we are 2/3 of the way through the "match" with the combined score currently being Boks 54-46 Lions with the last 1/3 (being the 80 minutes at Ellis Park) to play.
    I wonder whether the Lions have a chance of coming back in the final "1/3" or whether the "hiding" (as many rather enthusiastic Bok fans here in SA have been annoyingly referring to both matches so far) will continue?
    Any thoughts on this? (constructive please!!!)
    I wish all of you a happy remainder of the weekend.
    See you at Ellis Park! Rob

  • Comment number 89.

    Why do these forums always turn into England Vs Rest of the home nations arguements? You guys are crazy!

    Lions lost both tests - end of.

    As a wise man once said, now is not the time to cry, now is the time to find out why.

    3 tries to 1 - we just don t have the cutting edge that is needed to win at international level, Our 2 best playmakers are prob Hook and Flutey, neither close to selection. We had 71% possession in first 25 mine and 1 try - awful. O'Gara is getting stick, problem was we had no one on the bench - Williams who can only play 1 position, OGARA can only play 1 position, same for Ellis. Jones and Bowe in the centre did well, but for 30 mins? Too hard.

    Pround of the boys tho - Kearney was superb and Simon Shaw - what a legend! The guy has been a fantasic servant to the game and is a Lions Legend in my eyes - never seen a lock make so many tackles.

  • Comment number 90.

    england2003
    Vickery did not have Alun Wyn Jones behind him in the first test. AWJ was behind Jenkins.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    ron666

    just checked youtube it was alun wimp jones, although that isn't really the point as it's the combination of second and back row not just front 3

  • Comment number 93.

    re: england2003

    you keep jumping back to those world cups, ok credit where credit is due england have performed much better at the last two world cups, but the lions squad wasnt selected on the last two world cups, it was selected on the last year of rugby, in which ireland won a grand slam, leinster won a heinekin cup, in the last six years wales(2) and ireland(1) have won three grand slams between them, with france winning the rest, is it in all honesty any surprise that the squad is comprised of a majority of celtic players...

    if not for injuries before and during tour there would have been more irish and welsh on tour....

    POC best lock in NH.... FACT

  • Comment number 94.

    Ron666 - Wrong again - and in any case AWJ probably stood for AN Other as he was totally annonymous in both games. (even if the second was merely as a useless sub - one of many strange choices on the bench - including Ickle Shane & a headless chicken called ROG!!!).
    Assuming the injuries mean the absence of BOD this will be a disaster for test 3 as we will miss his organisational skills in the backs. We will need to bring D'Arcy in in place of Roberts & Flutey in for BOD. iF Bowe doesn't make it Earls or Moyne appear much better bets on current form than Shane - At least Earls has improved during the tour!!!! John Hayes should take Adam Jones place - definitely not Vickery & Sherridan is just as good as Gethin so no loss there. And by the way - AWJ should be nowhere near the 22 - DOC or Hines are both better and make much more impact (although Hines could perhaps fill MW's spot on the bench - again no loss there!!!!)

  • Comment number 95.

    England 2003

    Still on a comedown, I see. Feel the same mate, but there's no real point in worrying about what if's?

    What if Moyne had scored both tries last week?

    What if Vickery were five inches shorter and able to scrum lower against 'The Beast'?

    What if Blair, Williams, Wilkinson, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all were fit/ playing at their full potential?

    What if we'd selected Kelly Brook to flash her 'Midweek Team' just as the Springboks were going to cross the line?

    Fact is, the coaches put the team THEY thought best on the pitch. And to be honest, with a couple of lucky/unlucky breaks for either side, we could have won. That's sport. Would have loved to see a 1-1 winner takes all decider as that would have been a humdinger!!

    Did the Lions (Englishmen and all) really choke or did the best team actually win? It's painful, but think the (slightly) better team somehow pulled it off.

  • Comment number 96.

    I agree with most of the comments on here we didnt win the two tests that were on offer its a chance lost and we can only look forward to austrailia in 4 years time and hopefully give a good account of ourselves in the tests as we nearly did in 2001

  • Comment number 97.

    england 2003

    Aside from Armitage who was a clear third choice behind Kearney & Byrne I can't think of any english players who deserved to go on tour. Danny Care wasn't even the managers first choice - and was totally outplayed in the premiership semi by the london irish srcum half. I rate Kennedy but the BOK'S would have had him for breakfast just like the Ireland A team did a week ago. MAYBE IN 4 YRS TIME??? Lewsey, Cueto are in the same bracket as Vickery - past it. and Sackey was injured. Accept it buddy your team is just not good enough - Wales beat you and Ireland beat you easily as well even if the late try gave a semblance of respectability to the scoreline

  • Comment number 98.

    ahh elromgavenny- my little stalker has returned, i wonder does a restraining order cover the internet?? i'm just surprised you've got access to a PC...

    paddyrugby

    how can you say the last world cup (a mear 20 months ago) doesn't count and then harp on about the last ten 6N's???? what would you rather have?? let's face it the welsh and irish do get a liccle excited when the big bad english men come over to play you in the 6N's (I live in Swansea so I know)......also if the squad was picked on form that what the hell was shane williams/d'arcy/wyn-jones/ryan jones(late arrival) doing there??? as for the HC glory of Munster what do you expect when you play an International pack in a team tournament, just showed how lob sided the regional system of ireland/wales is when competing against club sides, that's why an 11 1/2 stone rining wet fly half called ronan o'gara hasn't been found out until now as he's been so well protected for the last ten years!

  • Comment number 99.


    i'm a bit concerned that the stick shane williams is getting is growing out of proportion - he's not exactly playing badly, but ask yourself how much good ball he's really been given all tour

    didn't help him being injured in 6N or playing in a woefully off form ospreys side - i'm not saying he's playing well, clearly he's not, but i don't think he's as out of form as people as claiming

  • Comment number 100.

    england 2003 - you're clearly delusional. Go back to watching wendyball - its more your kind of sport!!!
    Ireland have won the grand slam, the last 2 HC's the last 2 Magners leagues (only good teams are allowed to enter!!) and Wales the grand slam the previous yr. I don't suppose you had too many complaints when Leicester with about 6 of the English pack where dominating (or didn't that count because your a Harly-queen supporter!!)

 

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