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How the Lions rated: second Test

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Simon Austin | 16:33 UK time, Saturday, 27 June 2009

Rob Kearney - 9: An inspired performance that more than made up for the loss of Lee Byrne. Outstanding from the start, when he gathered a high ball before surging past a couple of defenders, to the finish, when he bravely broke from deep again. Showed strength, determination and a nice dummy to score his try.

Tommy Bowe - 6: Again unable to replicate the form of earlier in the tour but didn't let anyone down.

Brian O'Driscoll - 8: The midfield maestro once more. Clever with his running angles and passing and almost always seemed to pick the right option. The thumping challenge which forced Danie Roussow off was borderline, but it exemplified the Lions' absolute physical commitment and refusal to give the Boks an inch. A warrior who did not deserve to finish on the losing side.

Jamie Roberts - 6: Much quieter than last week, which was testament to the work the Boks had put into stopping him. Some strong ball carrying and tackling nonetheless.

Luke Fitzgerald - 7: Came off his wing to look for work and made some strong runs, most memorably after taking a lovely pop pass from O'Driscoll in the first half.

Stephen Jones - 8: Flawless with his goalkicking, which was vastly improved from the first Test. Converted from the touchline after Kearney's try and held his nerve to slot a penalty near the death. His understanding with O'Driscoll and Roberts has been one of the highlights of the tour.

Mike Phillips - 7: The Boks in general and Victor Matfield in particular seemed to target the scrum-half for some rough treatment. The Welshman stood up to it though and was again a threat around the fringes. Made one crucial tackle on Habana.

Jamie Heaslip - 7: More prominent than in Durban last week and once again shackled the dangerous Pierre Spies.

David Wallace: - 7 Lively from the start when he charged down a kick from Jean de Villiers. Part of a strong defensive effort in the second half.

Tom Croft - 7:
Always a good option in the line-out and a great work-rate. Not the tries or breaks of last week but again effective.

Paul O'Connell - 7: Constantly cajoled and encouraged his team-mates. Was massively fired up from the start and his force of will seemed to rub off on the rest of the side.

Simon Shaw - 9: Did exactly what the Lions coaching staff had hoped - provided ballast in the loose, strong in the line-out and bolstered the scrum. Never took a backward step and epitomised the fierce commitment of the entire team. Named man of the match.

Adam Jones - 8: Seemed to have conquered "The Beast" before being forced off early in the second half with a shoulder injury. The nervous anticipation among the Lions fans ahead of the first scrum was soon replaced by elation after the tourists got a good shove on. Minutes later the Boks conceded a penalty after again being forced backwards. Jones was the man receiving the congratulations of his team-mates and it was a big blow when he went off.

Matthew Rees - 8: Barely put a foot wrong with his line-out throwing, a key component of a vastly improved scrum and again prominent in the loose. If fit, seems certain to start again at Ellis Park for the third Test.

Gethin Jenkins - 7: Played his part in a resurgent front row and, as always, a presence in the loose. Forced off with injury early in the second half.

Replacements:

Andrew Sheridan - 6: Looked fired up when he came on and never took a backward step. Couldn't show his prowess in the scrums though, as they were uncontested.

Alun Wyn Jones - 6: A committed and hard-working performance.

Shane Williams - 6: Thumped backwards in the tackle shortly after coming on but did manage to stop Du Preez near the end.

Martyn Williams - 6: Unable to show the link-up skills he did as a replacement last week as the Lions hardly had the ball.

Ronan O'Gara - 5: Gave away the crucial penalty that led to South Africa's winning penalty at the end and looked understandably distraught.


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  • 1. At 5:11pm on 27 Jun 2009, Sparky_Mc wrote:

    A fair reflection of the game on the scores. O'Gara failed to make the significant hit for the third Boks try which made it nail biting stuff. I feel for him but his penalty raising challenge was foolish. All a little to close and bit like Sydney in 2001. Third test is going to be very difficult to be motivated for and largely a non-event. At least the draw would have ensured a competition.

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  • 2. At 5:19pm on 27 Jun 2009, Pianoshifter wrote:

    First class effort. Shaw was magnificent - if only he had been on the pitch last week! Kierney also outstanding - at the top of his game. Shane Williams showed why he has not been a first-choice pick, and O'Gara simply lost his head and the match, very out of character. The injuries (especially Adam Jones, who did a fantastic job) were important but so was the decision to defend through territory in the second half - if we had kept going I reckon one of the Boks forwards would have been sent off. Burger was a disgrace. O'Connell looked and behaved like a captain for a change on this tour. Martyn Williams very disappointing, but it was the wrong kind of game for him by the time he came on.

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  • 3. At 5:19pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    Well competed series by the BIL. It's been a pleasure having you on our shores. Lets not remember this tour for the random, incoherent rants of players, coaches, and fans alike but for the quality of the football that was played. Good luck next week. And if blaming the ref, assistant refs, injuries, etc hasn't helped, next time try blaming yourselves.

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  • 4. At 5:20pm on 27 Jun 2009, raygravfan wrote:

    The starting 16 were wonderful, and the replacements were strong. I would still play Shane ahead of Fitzgerald, though the Irishman did well today.
    Wonderful game, well played both teams. I hope both sets of fans have a good night on the town tonight.

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  • 5. At 5:23pm on 27 Jun 2009, tonyf wrote:

    Ronan O'Gara - why? Why was he on the bench (he offers a limited cover option), why did he miss the crucial tackle, why did he give away the penalty (he always lacks discipline in tight situations). Very disappointed to lose but credit to the Boks who came back from the brink of defeat. Paul O'Connell - Lions captain - nahhhhhhhhh! BOD showed he was THE man to take it to the Boks - loved the attitude. Oh well, here's to the next Lions tour!

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  • 6. At 5:26pm on 27 Jun 2009, sirdoctor999 wrote:

    O Gara cost us 10 points and the series in the space of 7 mins. All he had to do was make a one on one tackle! Huge dissapointment considering the match was almost won and the efforts of the others were incredible. Big turning point was the loss of Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins as without the scrum O Driscoll, Roberts et al spent the last 30 mins defending and could not attack

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  • 7. At 5:31pm on 27 Jun 2009, hooptastic wrote:

    Simon Shaw and Rob Kearney showed everybody - Scots, Irish, Welsh or English - what it means to be a Lion. Magnificent.

    As for O'Gara - lucky to tour at all and probably wishes (like me) that he hadn't.

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  • 8. At 5:32pm on 27 Jun 2009, gurrier wrote:

    OH-GARA, NICE ONE, YOU CAN ADD THAT TO YOUR SMUG CV!

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  • 9. At 5:34pm on 27 Jun 2009, Rothoik wrote:

    Absolutely devastated by the result but it was a thrilling test match. I thought injuries aside, the kicking game let us down, Kearney did excel in this department but many of the other kicks were just run back at us. We looked solid at the breakdown and got some great turn-overs, but when Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins went off we change our game plan an dforme this played into the Boks hands. Both Boks winger showed how to finish off some classy moves but we have to question were were our wingers in terms of marking them, they were pretty soft tries.

    Ronan O'Gara, bless, he will be without shampoo in the showers, what a numbty!!

    Shane Williams was definately off the boil and I felt that Ugo Monye would have been a safer replacement, I now think Delon Armitage should have been in the squad and Hook left as 10 cover. Steve Jones was outstanding. Mayhaps Flutey should have been in the replacements but the specialst areas need to be covered. Shame about the scrums in the end it loked like rugby league in patches!!

    The boks will probably put 60 past the lions in the final test, nobody will want to play the game.

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  • 10. At 5:37pm on 27 Jun 2009, jeebspalmer wrote:

    Personally I think it is absurd anyone could think Brian O'Drisscol had anything near a good game. His performance was poor through out, with many mistakes which you wouldn't expect from any player. And asfor his tackle, people seem to be forgetting that firstly it was illegal, and second, he injured himself as a result. This lead to O'Gara playing out of position, although this can't be an excuse for a poor game, firstly missing a tackle which would have been crucial in stopping the SA try, and stupidly giving away the penalty at the end. Two errors which cost the lions the game, and coud have been avoided if any other player was on the pitch instead of him.

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  • 11. At 5:40pm on 27 Jun 2009, metcalfe13 wrote:

    Can't blame ROG for missed tackle as the team had defended poorly in the build up and we all know he can't tackle anyway. I'm reluctant to string him up for the penalty at the end as well, felt in was marginal and not entirely convinced how much he knew about where Du Prezz was in the air. Want I cant understand and find hard to forgive is his decision to go for the up and under at that time, Kearney had shown what to do minutes earlier when he blasted the ball down the field. His decision did seem out of character as although I don't rate him highly, he always seems to play the percentages and not take bigs risks. Feel he was trying to make amends for his missed tackle. Have got to look at the management and coaching and questioning why they didn't have hook on the bench, especially when he can cover so many positions and with limited options at centre and full back.

    The fact that Lions have been so battered and injury prone was summed up when we had to go to uncontested scrums and had no direct replacements for injured centres whilst the springboks made wholesale changes to their tired pack in the second half.

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  • 12. At 5:42pm on 27 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    Well done South Africa, good win. Well done also to the Lions, much better than last week and a very fine game of Rugby. Most enjoyable, perhaps a draw would have been a fair result.

    I defy scotjack to name a Scottish player who could have made any improvement, they are simply not good enough. There was a time when having the coach fom your country would guarantee a bias but fair play to McGeechan.

    Very disappointed with Berger's gouging, very sad. We who felt appalled by Quinlan's gouging of Cullen, and whilst it was sad that he (Quinlan) missed the whole Lions tour, felt it was the suitable punishment.

    Will Berger get 12 weeks ???

    Also referee should really have shown a red card, the linesman (was that last weeks Ref?)told him to.

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  • 13. At 5:44pm on 27 Jun 2009, GyntoLlangrannog wrote:

    First let me say that I am Welsh. But today I am British (and Irish) and proud of it. I agree with Raygravfan - the whole squad was magnificent. This is not a time for recrimination. I was worried when Lee Byrne had to drop out, but Rob Kearney filled the gap superbly. I would have liked to see Shane Williams start, but Luke Fitzgerald was great - a young kid at the start of a fabulous career. Brian O'Driscoll since the New Zealand tour has plyed - I think - with a touch of a bitter attitude but today he played with a smile on his face - what a player. Simon Shaw was immense. And then there were the Welsh players - well I will leave that left unsaid. This was a British and Irish team and if I had to have anybody play for my life, any one from that 22 (or even the 36 or whatever on tour) would do.

    Unfortunately, in the modern professional era, the BRIL (a makeshift team [playing against an unit) will always struggle, but I hope that the concept will live on, because today has thrilled me so much. Even though I am thosands of miles away watching on television, it was gripping - and I will be there again next Saturday.

    Finally, I hope that they all - supporters and players alike - enjoy tonight. I will.

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  • 14. At 5:45pm on 27 Jun 2009, TippStan wrote:

    Astounding that the broken record regarding Armitage is being mentioned again after that . . .
    Nationalistic gibberish apart the Lions did what they needed to do i.e. come out fighting. Welsh, Irish and English. There were some mighty performances. Kearney, the Welsh boys in the front row, Shaw, BOD. Jones and Jenkins going off and the uncontested scrums made a huge difference. Fair play to the Boks but the Lions live on . . .

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  • 15. At 5:48pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    Well played to both teams, really enjoyed the game - and must congratulate the incredible Lions supporters who travelled in such numbers. I hope this quietens down the doom and gloom about the Lions as a concept, it is a great rugby tradition and I hope the supporters enjoy their time in SA.

    I feel ashamed of Burger's behaviour and hope he is banned for a long time. But I also have to question the comments of SB on Sky, where after the BOD smash into Roussouw's head he said "we need more of that". Surely the comments would have been different if this had been a 'challenge' on BOD.

    Anyway, hope the next game is as good and we get 80 minutes of scrummaging next time!

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  • 16. At 5:49pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    PS: I thought Kearney and Shaw were outstanding.

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  • 17. At 5:50pm on 27 Jun 2009, glitterandtrauma57 wrote:

    I have to admit that Rees played very well today, especially as I think he's been pretty dreadful over the past year or so.

    Shaw and Kearney were also excellent of course and the team should now focus on getting a deserved win next week

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  • 18. At 5:56pm on 27 Jun 2009, zxDaveM wrote:

    O'Gara was cynically clipped so showed a lot of guts to carry on. Tempting though it is to lay blame his way for the last penalty, you simply cannot, for the Boks skillfully took out any key players of the Lions, whether they were on from the start or from the 70yth minute. Makes the All Blacks removal of O'Driscoll 4 years ago look tame in comparison. How Burger was on the field after the first 50 secs beggars belief, and I'd question how Roberts, Jones, and especially Jenkins were removed from the action - though I'm guessing the citing officer, Cyclops' will no doubt have seen 'nothing'. You expect one or two injuries in any test match, but to see so many key players surgically excised from the game raises questions - which I have no doubt WON'T be answered

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  • 19. At 5:57pm on 27 Jun 2009, unbeatableTaffa wrote:

    Well done to the Boks. Good game, but I think anyone watching the match could see it was going to be close after the first 5 min of the second half. The Boks were playing rugby wheras the Lions looked devoid of the creativity of the first half. Set pieces were awesome, and I though uncontested scrums played right into their hands.
    I want to highlight (like everyone else) BOD's contribution. I've never seen a man take so many hits, still get up, and be top of his game. The man is an absolute legend, and will be devastated to be going home after an another unsuccessful tour. Not making him tour captain was a big mistake.
    Big respect also for the all Welsh front row (aside from some wayward line-out throwing), Kearney, Shaw and Roberts, who dispite being heavily marked still made the hard yards and drew in defenders, without the penetration of last week. Immense games all. This tour could be the making of some of these players.
    Yes...O'Gara missed a critical tackle, and yes...he gave away the crucial penalty. But he was on there giving 100% like the rest of the guys. Not to shirk away from mistakes etc...He's well known for defensive frailties, and is possibly the last person you would bring on when you're defending a narrow (and shrinking) lead.
    Therefore you have to ask questions of the management (and I'm a big fan of this management team, so it's difficult to say)...where was the cover across centre? Hook should have been on the bench (for utility alone, but also because he's a great, creative player with a sound defence), and (as a proud Welshman and massive Shane Williams fan), Monye should have been in the 22 instead of Shane, on form alone. He's had a great tour (he CAN finish) and one poor test. Mistake.
    Anyway, such is rugby. Well done Boks. They deserve their win.

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  • 20. At 5:57pm on 27 Jun 2009, quinny_10 wrote:

    the boks were very poor today and was great chance to win think the biggest loss was when o driscoll had to go off we lost our leader kearney was man of match by along way kicked and ran well took all the high balls wich were quality ones from du preez shaw had good game not as good as some people are making out did give silly pens away for high tackles and offside but again line out wasnt great thought ford should have came on and phillips was so slow again and made bad decisions spent half the game not playing as scrum half costing us problem was ellis is worse and blair who on his day is by far the best is lacking confidence

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  • 21. At 5:58pm on 27 Jun 2009, davodiablo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 5:59pm on 27 Jun 2009, Writtle33 wrote:

    I never understood why Simon Shaw was not one of Englands all time great forwards and why he wasn't picked more often. Great perfromance and well deserved.If that is his international swan song then hold your head with pride big fella.

    From 1 - 15 and the replacements all fronted up and was not really a surprise when our dominance was disrupted by the loss of the forwards. Hats off to Adam Jones who has proved to be a quality forward when many, including me, doubted his inclusion.

    If you want to see how much this meant to the Boks then their reaction at the end said it all. Stupid penalty to give away but it was a massive kick and fair play for landing it.

    The loss of the two centres hurt us the most as they were magnificent defensively all tour and the bench cover in that area was not the strongest.

    Keep this in context. The Lions are a scratch side, all beit of top class palayers, and the Boks are world champions. When you compare this tour to the last one then we can realise what a fantastic job all concerned have done.

    Despite the series loss I believe that this tour will help Northern Hemisphere Rugby and the guys in the coming seasons will not show the fear that maybe they once did.

    Great games, dissapointed by the results but throughouly enjoyable tour.

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  • 23. At 6:01pm on 27 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    Berger should have been off

    He is an embarassment to South African rugby

    Again inept refeering

    Like to see you win with 14 players

    I would love to put my hands up and say they deserved it, but they didnt

    @FearRua

    Good win?? They got totally outplayed for the first half and got every (bad) decision in the seconnd.

    Well done Simon Shaw and the welsh front row, world class boys! Kearney a legend, Roberts world class and all the boys gave it their all.

    Ogara will be blamed, but he had his eyes on the ball the whole time, awful decision by the ref.

    South Africans will say we moan about the ref... but in all honesty the 2 big errors have cost us the game.

    Proud to be British

    Disgusted that we (and rugby) have been robbed

    What a 3rd test that would and should have been

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  • 24. At 6:03pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    zxDaveM: Interesting conspiracy theories. Perhaps you should watch the game again before throwing out these sorts of accusations though.

    To give just one example, Jenkins was injured when he and BOD double-tackled Habana. If you think the Boks planned this method of taking out Jenkins, you must still be reading books on the 'grassy knoll'. DO you think the Boks caused 9-11 too?

    Why not just enjoy the games, they don't come around very often.

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  • 25. At 6:04pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    % for ROG???? How about 0.

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  • 26. At 6:06pm on 27 Jun 2009, davodiablo wrote:

    Tiny Rugby Nerd ...you should add bitter bad looser to that title

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  • 27. At 6:09pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Botha deliberatey targeted Adam Jones' arm. It was straigtened and rght in front of him and he hyper extended it. He has a history of taking people out in rucks with intent to injure, just go on youtuve.com and have a look.

    Why oh why didn't ROG kick to the corner???

    But congrats to the Boks. They won and that's all that matters.

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  • 28. At 6:10pm on 27 Jun 2009, osmitto1988 wrote:

    Simon Shaw 9, really?! i dont care how good a game he had the man gave away 4 penalties that were kicked by the boks...thats more points than O'gara gave away! once again a lack of discipline that has cost the lions..

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  • 29. At 6:13pm on 27 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    Bitter, bad, loser?

    No, sick, gutted and proud

    Undeserved World Champions, now undeserved Lions victors

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  • 30. At 6:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, TippStan wrote:

    Slightly dense Jeebspalmer. Looked to me liked BOD was putting his heart and sole into that game.


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  • 31. At 6:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, tinyrugbynerd wrote:

    DavoDiablo

    Proud of Berger eh?

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  • 32. At 6:16pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    OK "tinyrugbynerd". We'll keep winning our "undeserved trophies" and enjoying the company of other rugby supporters (like those great Lions fans who've travelled all the way to SA).

    You keep muttering "we wuz robbed" to yourself in your sad, bitter little world.

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  • 33. At 6:17pm on 27 Jun 2009, squaremoffie wrote:

    its a shame the lions supporters are always blaming refs, tjs, tmos for the losses. But its a rich tradition and you'll find the same excuses prior to this tournament.

    The decisions went both ways today, and three players were lucky to have escaped more punishment. Burger should have been red-carded, Sheridan should have been red-carded for poking a player in the groin, and BOD should have been yellow-carded for a blatant offside crunching tackle that sent Roussow to heaven for a few moments.

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  • 34. At 6:19pm on 27 Jun 2009, davodiablo wrote:

    Writtle33

    "Keep this in context. The Lions are a scratch side, all beit of top class palayers, and the Boks are world champions. When you compare this tour to the last one then we can realise what a fantastic job all concerned have done."

    Lions are the best from England Scotland Wales Nthn Ireland and Eire...5 countries ! They had two weeks of warm up matches . Yes SA are WC champs but 3rd in last years Trinations ....Thats the context mate !

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  • 35. At 6:20pm on 27 Jun 2009, confiseur wrote:

    Well done S.Africa,
    You can be well proud of your terrific team ...with the exception of one player though..
    Please do something about Mr Berger, he is a disgrace.

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  • 36. At 6:21pm on 27 Jun 2009, dbell222 wrote:

    Very good game today, very good result! I see the NH whingeing has kicked in once again, do you guys know what reputation you have for this? How can anyone say that Fourie's try was not good. There was absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise. Very difficult call to make, but in these circumstances the attacking team is favoured. Good calls by the 4th official, both in this game and the 2007 RWC final.

    Overall I think this Lions team is very, very good. But the fact that the Boks played badly last week, and badly again today, but still won, puts it all in perspective. They thoroughly deserved the series win.

    To the Lions - see you in Aus next time, and I am not wishing you any luck, but lets hope for a good series.

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  • 37. At 6:22pm on 27 Jun 2009, eirebilly wrote:

    gurrier;
    Well done on being an absolute idiot.

    xpat73;

    ROG made the error YES, but the Lions should have had the game won by that stage.

    I am not bitter as i feel that the Saffers were more clinical again but i, cannot for the life of me, understand how Burger was on the field after his professional foul.
    He attacked the eye of another player, it was seen by the linesman so straight red.

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  • 38. At 6:23pm on 27 Jun 2009, pyattl01 wrote:

    Agree totally with #10 BOD was awful toady-nothing more nothing less. I do feel the selecions on the tour are more than questionable. The first test 15 was a major mistake and left us chasing the game. As for this week i feel the bench was full of non impact players-how were ogara or williams going to cope with the brute of s.africa. Kept me on edge for 80 minutes though just gutted with the result. And yes ogara committed a penalty offence by just running into the player and not challenging for the ball. I do however feel that there 2nd try was very similar to an incident where roberts got penalised for obstruction-on both occasions the dummy runner made hits in front of the ball

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  • 39. At 6:23pm on 27 Jun 2009, davodiablo wrote:

    tinyrugbynerd

    You Assume I'm a Saffa .

    Wrong .

    Why would anyone be proud of eye gouging !


    You are still a bad looser

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  • 40. At 6:23pm on 27 Jun 2009, britishwelshboy wrote:

    Great game the lions where so very unlucky to have lost both centres and both props with so much time left. I feel that Kearney and jones had great games today but it was simon shaw today who really suprised me he was outstanding, its a big shame that hook wasnt on the bench today instead of the brainless ronan o'gara like he should of been covering both centre outside half and full back. One thing that still makes me laugh is how people on this board carnt help having a dig at shane williams he did nothing wrong today for the short time he was on the pitch and still people find a reason to slate him, face facts he is a class act who has had very little ball on this tour to show why he is the irb player of the year.

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  • 41. At 6:24pm on 27 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    Slightly too high a rating for Shaw. Great game but I'd have given him an 8 and presented Kearney with man of the match. Shaw did give away penalties and points.

    And Matthew Rees throw was nicked at least twice and - why has this not been mentioned - uncontested scrum leading to Boks' 2nd try due to Lineout throw not straight? I'd have given a '6-7' for a decent performance otherwise.

    Monye, Flutey and D'Arey/Earls would have been better cover fom the bench than what the Lions had.

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  • 42. At 6:25pm on 27 Jun 2009, confiseur wrote:

    I really fear that this will be the last Lions tour...I dont think that a scratch team will ever again be capable of winning more than the occasional international against SH opposition. The goose which lays the golden eggs has been slain...great pity..

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  • 43. At 6:27pm on 27 Jun 2009, gubby allen wrote:

    How can anybody rate Fitzgerald a 7 or above Roberts & Bowe? He offered little in attack but was all over the place in defence, he completely switched off for Pietersens' try who just walked straight trhough a gap. Bowe didn't get a lot to do again but outplayed Fitzgerald in every area.

    Bother centres were great again, but I thought Roberts far outperformed O'Driscoll. How can he be two marks less? Boshed away all game and always broke the gain line. BOD was excellent but like last week, littered with errors - like the interception pass to Habana.

    Thought AWJ was marked highly too for losing the ball with his first two touches.

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  • 44. At 6:28pm on 27 Jun 2009, Vincento1972 wrote:

    O'Gara 5 - bit generous. Acted purely as a speed bump for Faurie's try and gave away the penalty that gave the Boks the series. Hope anyone who was previously banging on for his inclusion remember this contibution...

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  • 45. At 6:31pm on 27 Jun 2009, pyattl01 wrote:

    xpat do you have link for the adam jones/ botha incident because i missed it

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  • 46. At 6:34pm on 27 Jun 2009, Vinceno84 wrote:

    There has to be some questions asked about the management over the two tests!! Last week keeping Vickery on last week for so long was a dreadful mistake. But this today having Shane Williams on the bench was another huge error. Don't get me wrong SW is a class act but he plays on the wing and on the wing only!!!! (with the exception of playing scrum half at a stretch but with Ellis on the bench this is irrelevant). This means that we had no cover for centre and full back. Disaster struck and we lost both our centres and ROG had to try play there. We needed a back on the bench who can play in the centre as this is a much more specialist position than the Wing. Any of the centres...Flutey, Earls or D'arcy would have been better to have on the bench cos they can cover more than one position. Really don't understand the thinking.
    Also think they should have left Wally in there to cover instead of ROG!!
    It was madness taking him off, we could have had both 7's on the pitch when we were defending.

    Please don't see this as having a go at SW, i'm a big fan of his and would have been happy with him starting but once he wasn't starting he shouldn't have been on the bench.

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  • 47. At 6:35pm on 27 Jun 2009, zxDaveM wrote:

    saffavescant - Afrikaaners for the grassy knoll? 9/11? - wouldn't be surprised!! :-) :-)

    Jenkins was taken out twice - the first may have been a clash, but I still think the second more skullduggery than accident.

    And I think Burger's yellow card pretty much summed up the Boks approach to the contact area. Had the game perhaps been a bit older, that yellow might had been red. Frankly, it was utterly disgraceful, as an action, and in its handling by the officials. I thought that sort of despicable thuggery had largely died out with the multiplicity of TV cameras, and the intervention (ineffectual in this case) of the 'assistant referees'. How could ANY one defend such an action?

    I would have enjoyed the game a whole lot more had it been restrained to playing rugby. The Southern hemisphere teams seem to take them as an opportunity to prove a point, rather than as a rugby match against a touring side - going back many years, the infamous '99' call was as a response to that attitude, and it seems despite the introduction of the professional era, some things never change. This is a shame, as lets be honest, when they do play, the SH teams really can play, which baffles me why they have to resort to lowest denominator tactics. Why not win playing rugby, rather than playing the thuggery card? I mean, the 2 tries the Boks scored today were out of the top drawer, if only that summed up their approach.

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  • 48. At 6:37pm on 27 Jun 2009, The_Hadster wrote:

    Well done Lions. Fantastic performance. Thought I would add some of my thoughts to this discussion:

    Agree with most of the ratings....especially Kearney and Shaw. Great performance. Also want to congratulate Jones at Fly Half....had a great game and I take my hat off to him.

    The Berger incident was just a yellow card. Nothing more in my opinion.

    South Africa did show in the last quarter why they are world champions. This may be the best South African I have ever seen since the 1995 side maybe. The Lions just did not have the players for this tournament. I think our forwards in particular are weak as a hemisphere. I cannot name one forward, bar Martyn Williams, who is on the same par as Shaw.

    I thought Shane Williams and O Gara were particularly bad today (given they hardly had an opportunity to prove themselves). Am a little annoyed as I think Pattersen and Cueto would have been better picks and have been better leading up to the tour.

    Oh well, next time. But as a hemisphere we need to develop our forwards as they just dont compare to the Southern Hemisphere. They have really shown why it is so important to have formidable, strong forwards, who can defend and attack interchangeably.

    Well done Wales, Ireland, England (and Scotland - McGeegs haha).

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  • 49. At 6:38pm on 27 Jun 2009, gurrier wrote:

    I am still gutted, hate losin to South AFRICA, and handing them
    victory on a plate really stinks,O,gara will have to live with
    that stupidity forever!

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  • 50. At 6:38pm on 27 Jun 2009, singrugby wrote:

    osmitto 1988

    the boks points were 3 tries 2 cons 3 pens - so how did shaw give away 4 pens that were all kicked ? if you are going to make such criticism get your facts straight. however boks deserved the win - after all one of the conversion attempts was a sitter that hit the upright - but for that the last pen wouldnt even have mattered. like the last test lions had majority of possession and still lost and got what they deserved - nothing ! shaw and kearney were superb

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  • 51. At 6:40pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    The Boks started to run back the kicks in the 2nd 1/2. We hardly played any rugby in the 2nd half. The uncontested scrums hurt the Lions, who were clearly on top in that area today!! We just didn't quite get it right.

    Congrats to Steyne for a huge pressure kick. Again, Spies was relatively quiet.

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  • 52. At 6:42pm on 27 Jun 2009, Tinoflyer wrote:

    Firstly - well done to the Boks - what a game and what a performance from both teams.

    As for the player scores, I felt ODriscoll was not that good and Mike Phillips bombed some good attacking play with an insistance to attack the blind side.

    That apart well done to the starting 15 - particularly Shaw who was outstanding.

    Unfortunately though, this game and this series was lost by some mind numbingly incompetent management and selection.

    This game showed what the Lions could do when we fronted up - something the management team had been saying they need to do since they were selected. So why then in the first game did they pick a lighter weight pack that got blitzed - they changed it for this test and it worked. Balls up number 1 that cost the first test.

    The second was picking a bench that lacked any versatility - and in fact a squad that lacked versatile players.

    Consequently - We had Shane Williams and Ronan O'Gara to cover back positions.

    Another huge mistake that people spoted before hand and not with hindsight.

    Pathetic.

    As for OGara - another failed tour in a Lions jersey - the missed tackle the penalty - he will rightly be strung up - but why was he even on the pitch. I am afraid the lions selection panel got it horribly wrong for both tests and gave the upper hand to the Boks. The lions players did wonderfully well in the face of both a rampant Boks team and a management team that put them on the back foot from the start.

    Basic management errors cost the Lions. Shame on them.

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  • 53. At 6:43pm on 27 Jun 2009, unbeatableTaffa wrote:

    Definitely agree on the Berger comments. The powers that be need to have a clearer line on eye gouging. Either they say it's a yellow card offense (and we all know it's not), it's a clear red OR he gets binned, cited, and then not allowed to come back on the field (i.e. replaced by someone on the bench.

    And this isn't sour grapes. I honestly think, while not at their best, the Boks deserved the win. They won the test matches, regardless of how well they played...therefore they deserve it.

    BUT Berger IS a disgrace to the game on the strength of that offense. As forwards we all get carried away and do stupid things...but eye gouging is not an opportunistic offense. It's an absolute disgrace, very dangerous, cowardly, and the SA Rugby Board should throw the book at him.

    Can someone tell me HOW, although the ref saw it, it was not a red card offense (I understand it is in the eyes of rugby law). Appalling, shameful, cowardly decision. My opinion...the ref should have an option to red card the man, with a ten/twenty minute 14 man penalty, after which the team can bring on a sub. 14/15 man mismatches ruin the game for everyone, but this doesn't mean the offending player should not be punished severely.

    He's mot alone in the offense, but this is disgraceful behaviour that really clouds the Boks deserved win.

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  • 54. At 6:57pm on 27 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    Nonsense to say O'Driscoll wasn't that good, his loss with the props did for the Lions. Formdiable defence, always at the centre of most that was good. When he went off the Lions imploded. He has lifted Robert to make him seem better than he probably is (though he is a talent but will not have the same impact as when playing alongside a poorer Welsh alternative such as Henson), and some of the other players around him like Philips will have brought him down.

    But I agree with what has been said about the bench. O'Gara and the inept Shane Williams were not suited to this game and there needed to be better cover there.

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  • 55. At 7:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, eirebilly wrote:

    49. At 6:38pm on 27 Jun 2009, gurrier wrote:
    I am still gutted, hate losin to South AFRICA, and handing them
    victory on a plate really stinks,O,gara will have to live with
    that stupidity forever!
    _____________________________________________________

    Why even post if you have nothing constructive to say. Judging by earlier posts, we all get it now, you dont like the Irish and you dont like ROG.

    Its a big shame that this series wont go to a decider as i felt that it was going to happen.

    Well done to the Saffers for never giving up, quality team and well deserved world champions.


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  • 56. At 7:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    zxDaveM: "How could ANY one defend such an action?"

    Just have to point out that I didn't defend Burger, in my first post I said I was ashamed of his behaviour. But in my opinion, the second-worst incident was an offside BOD concussing Roussouw without the use of his arms. Doubtless you'll disagree, but that is my opinion. I won't opine on the Lions Mgt, tactics or the entire NH based on this incident though.

    Anyway, what a game, hope the intensity is still high next week.

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  • 57. At 7:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, mikec5141 wrote:

    I can't believe this. You give points to a side that lost and the average mark seems to be more than 7. This is ridiculous....... You lost!!! Please also bear in mind the following. Your first 10 points were achieved when you were playing against 14 players (the yelow card was warranted and could easily have been a red one!!. The Lions got points from every kick and the Boks missed 14 points from kicks. The Lions were not disgraced but take off the Red glasses. You are rating a side that lost 2 games already and will mopst probably lose all three. This "Dunkirk Spirit" has to stop!! You are rating a bunch of losers. Show, by your rating, how that has happened.

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  • 58. At 7:03pm on 27 Jun 2009, A1Nutboy wrote:

    Very proud of the boys. First 15 played very well. Very unlucky at the end. ROG had a shocker, I would always defend his kicking but his attempted tackle was just woeful. Tad unlucky for the penalty though.

    Frankly I hope they use the last game to give every player a test run.

    How was Burger not sent off BTW?

    Well done SA. Won 2 tight games now, guess thats why ye are world champions!

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  • 59. At 7:04pm on 27 Jun 2009, Raedwulf wrote:

    Awful referreing. Everyone can opine however much they want over who deserved... But an inarguable gouging offence is an inarguable red card; as for the penalty that won them the game... They may have hammered the Lions for the rest of the game, but sometimes thats the way the game goes. Diabolical decisions from the referee though!

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  • 60. At 7:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, U14050920 wrote:

    Rugby ,like all sport, is simple - the team that scores the most points wins. Also, it is played over 80 minutes. The BIL consist of 4 countries, totalling over 400,000 registered playes. Surely to pick a squad of 22 cannot be that hard. It would be so pleasant to hear a bit of grace in defeat. Clearly this is beyond BIL the supporters. I suppose constant defeat in the international arena breds this type of response.In 1997, the BIL scored 3 tries and the Boks 9. The series was won by a bribble of a drop goal from an over-rated player. The ref had a big game for the BIR that day. But no mention of this travesty was mentioned by the same supporters. Take what ever you can get was the prevailing attitude. Shame that it does not still exist?

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  • 61. At 7:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, britishwelshboy wrote:


    rightRobbiesKeen wrote

    Nonsense to say O'Driscoll wasn't that good, his loss with the props did for the Lions. Formdiable defence, always at the centre of most that was good. When he went off the Lions imploded. He has lifted Robert to make him seem better than he probably is (though he is a talent but will not have the same impact as when playing alongside a poorer Welsh alternative such as Henson), and some of the other players around him like Philips will have brought him down.


    What a load of anti welsh rubbish to say bod has lifetd roberts to seem better than he actually he is, i think you might of got things arse backwards more like roberts lifting bod, and how can you say philips has brought roberts down, philips is by far the leading number 9 in the uk if not the world.

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  • 62. At 7:17pm on 27 Jun 2009, Steve wrote:

    Burger should be taken out and shot!!! Lots of things happen on the rugby field, but I have always said that there are two things that should never be seen, one is stamping on heads and the other is gouging. Disgraceful, I hope that he suffers a very long punishment for this cowardly act. Also, I don't know why people rave about him, he was rubbish today, if the Boks had had Brussow on from the start they would have won easily, the guy is immense. They didn't deserve to win today and it's a real shame that they did, as it would have been a cracking finale next week. Stephen Jones was outstanding today and Shaw made a massive difference in the pack. Thought Heaslip and Wallace were awesome as well, but would have liked to see MW on a bit sooner, but cannot criticise any of the starting 15 for their efforts. O'Gara, whilst not totally to blame for today's loss should still not be anywhere near the Lions side, he is just not good enough.

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  • 63. At 7:17pm on 27 Jun 2009, davodiablo wrote:

    zxDaveM

    I agree with your comments re eye gouging but you probably missed Italys Captain Sergio Parrisse eye gouging All Black Issac Ross which was missed by the ref but he has subsequently been cited.

    Italy are a NH team so that blows your theory that its just SH teams who resort to these tactics .

    The fact remains that the lions have gone 7 games without a win and you are clutching at straws to knock us ! Shame on you

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  • 64. At 7:21pm on 27 Jun 2009, snakehips99 wrote:

    Rees barely put a foot wrong with his throwing??? It was his not straight throw that gave Habana the try from the resulting scrum!

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  • 65. At 7:23pm on 27 Jun 2009, pyattl01 wrote:

    Botha and burger have both been cited

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  • 66. At 7:27pm on 27 Jun 2009, metallicsteve wrote:

    Great game unlucky in defeat but hard to begrudge a guy like john smit the final piece of a wonderful career even tho i would have preferred BOD to crown a fantastic sseason with a series win, u never know he may get irb player of the year)

    Even so the future is very bright 4 northern hemisphere rugby scotland.....not so much. As an irishman seeing kearney, fitzy, earls, ferris, bowe, heaslip all perfom so well and all in early 20s we may yet challenge in new zealand in 2 years.
    The same of wales with roberts, halfpenny, AWJ, phillips and hook. Even England if johnson decides to muse the talent at his disposal could rise again. Its not as if the potential is not there. Cipriani, geraghty, tait, care, haskell, rees, varndell, they just need game time. The future is not so rosy for the scots but with the evans brothers and maybe that young outhalf jackson perhaps there is something to build on

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  • 67. At 7:29pm on 27 Jun 2009, GyntoLlangrannog wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 68. At 7:32pm on 27 Jun 2009, Steve wrote:

    Pyattl, where did you hear that news?

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  • 69. At 7:33pm on 27 Jun 2009, Glosterman wrote:

    I enjoyed todays game.
    We lost this series in last weeks game IMO.
    I thought the Lions front row today were superb.
    Speaking as a Scot I feel totally alienated on the whole Lions thing though.........possibly the wrong way to view it but there you go.

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  • 70. At 7:34pm on 27 Jun 2009, zxDaveM wrote:

    saffascent - no BOD's 'tackle' wasn't the greatest, but seemed more a clash, a sorta couldn't-get-his-arm-around as he tackled, rather than a down and up shoulder charge to the chest. It seemed they both clashed heads and as we know there doesn't seem to be much that can affect BOD in a head clash!! And I didn't mean to impy tou personally defended Burger's eye gouging - it was more a general comment. Even had he been Welsh, I'd have hoped he'd get a good long ban for that, that's all. Dadly, I think it will be hard for both teams to raise the intensity to the first two tests, now the series is won and lost.

    rightRobbieskeen - I guess you don't like Shane Williams! How on EARTH can you say the man inept after his 2008 season? By his own admission, this year not been so great, but then he often attracts double marking now, and when things don't go your way, well, they don't go your your way. Had we had the possession and territory as we did in the first half, he might have made it tell. Ifs and buts I know, but its hard to look good when all around are looking rubbish and playing off the back foot.

    U14050920 - blimey - you STILL wrankled about 12 years ago???? Sad. Though it was GREAT to win by a "bribble" of a drop goal! :-) To lose to a team palying fantastic rugby is no disgrace, and bearable. But one can hardly say the Boks responded that way in '74, so people in glass houses and all that!!

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  • 71. At 7:38pm on 27 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    Cool the purple prose britishwelshboy, Philips has had a decent tour but is not the best no.9 in the world. He was playing against one today and there are at least four others who are far superior. And I said he has pulled down BOD, not Roberts. 'more like roberts lifting bod' Oh don't talk such tripe, BOD has had an almighty season and was almost in touching distance of something even more. They're a great partnership for that we're all grateful but don't try and suggest he is better than O'Driscoll.

    But the ditties will stoop to any level to try to pass the buck from themselves onto genuinely world class players such as BOD who was brilliant, tired and battered by the end. SA pundits know BOD was one of the Lions' few world class players and have said so. A mighty effort by him and indeed most involved, but you need luck as well as graft.

    p.s. I am glad to see Burger cited. WHY COULD THIS SERIOUS PENALTY, I.E. PROLONGED SUSPENSION, NOT HAVE BEEN ENFORCED, AS PER THE RULES, AT THE TIME? What is the point of having these rules if they are not brought to bear? What's the point?

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  • 72. At 7:48pm on 27 Jun 2009, jeebspalmer wrote:

    It's disgusting to say that BOD as carried Jamie Roberts!!! If anything Roberts has been the most threatening part of the Lion's squad. His hard run lines and decoy running has set up O'Drisscol to play well. BOD is no doubt a brilliant player, oneof the best centres in the world. But to say he has played well today is just blind. And along with that, saying that he played "putting his heart and sole into that game" does not mean he played well. Infact, all people have had to say about him is in concern with his "tackle" which in no way showed any outstanding skill level in this game.

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  • 73. At 7:48pm on 27 Jun 2009, GyntoLlangrannog wrote:

    davodiablo says we are clutching at straws to knock them. Yes they are World champions and are a very good team (emphasis on team). but I wonder what the result would be if the BRIL played a team drawn from the Southern Hemisphere (we'll leave out France and Italy for the moment) and just to stir the pot, would any SA individuals make the team!

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  • 74. At 7:55pm on 27 Jun 2009, GyntoLlangrannog wrote:

    I am certainly glad that I do not have mikec5141 as a friend. He (or she) does not seem to have a grasp of the rating system. The whole point of the rating is to mark against potential perfection, and not against one's opposite number. It is theoretically possible to achieve a 10 in a team that gets beaten 100-0. And as an aside Berger should have scored 0 as he should not have been on the pitch for most of the match.

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  • 75. At 7:56pm on 27 Jun 2009, yazbod wrote:

    As a Munster fan, I'd like to add my tuppence worth.

    Firstly, well done to South Africa - they completely controlled that match from the second half onwards. This is shown by the fact that the Lions got nowhere near the Boks try line in the second half, unlike in the first Test where we blew chance after chance. As other posters have said, if the Boks kicked half their penalties, there would have been no contest at all.

    Regarding O'Gara, he hasn't had a good season and I think his decision making is very suspect now. I hope that McGahan starts to look for a new fly half for Munster as I think O'Gara's time has passed. It was a definite penalty, clearly taking the Bok player out in the air.

    Burger - definite red card. Eye gouging is a vile offense that should be stamped out - Quinlan paid the price before the Lions, so Burger should have definitely gone!

    Next - tour management. While McGeechan has recharged the Lions spirit in this tour, ensuring everyone has had a reasonable chance to get into the test squads, his decision making during games (i.e. Vickery in the first test) and squad selection (i.e. O'Gara and Williams in this test) have been idiosyncratic and definitely have influenced us losing the series.

    Finally - the Lions Concept. Please, please, please can the Lions organisers and the Australian Union (thats where the Lions are off to next isn't it?) work out a better way of getting the mid-week games to matter. The high prices and lack of high-profile names for the mid-week games have tarnished the uniqueness of a Lions tour and this needs fixing, badly!


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  • 76. At 7:56pm on 27 Jun 2009, JTblogger wrote:

    Like others, can't understand why Berger wasn't sent off, once the rewf accepted the offence.Shaw was immense, but I would have given Kearney the MotM award- he was absolutely superb.
    I hate to see uncontested scrums, but think this might have been a deliberate ploy- rather uncontested than have any of the other props on tour go on. What a sad end for Vickery- last weeks demolition shouldn't have been seen on an international pitch and was put into context by the job Adam Jones did on "the Beast", who is not by any means a scrummager.

    Great series from the Lions- what a shame we have all been robbeed of what would have been a tremendous final match. Why was O'Gara on? (was Roberts injured? I didn't notice him flagging) Why do we insist on allowing screeds of substitutes, ruining the flow of the match?

    How great to see scrummaging put back in its true importance! Who was it said the most important man on the pitch is the tight-head, and the second most important is the reserve tight-head?

    Whinging? Yes, I think there has been a bit. If any match comes down to one or two decisions by the ref then it was too close for there to have been a decisive winner and luck was always going to pay a major role.

    Any Saffers out there want to comment on the ref? I thought he put a northern hemisphere slant on his interpretation (which I agree with) but which helped the Lions.

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  • 77. At 7:59pm on 27 Jun 2009, U14050920 wrote:

    Further complaints about thuggery tend to surface when a team loses. I note that the thuggish tackle by Big bad Tom in the first test was worthy of a card - yellow or red. It was a blatant attempt to take out their excellent scrum half. Not worthy of comment? BOD tackle was equally worthy of a card! Unfortunately for him, he was injured! Shame! The tackle by ROG, equally worthy of a card? No? Lets rather focus on the opponents villainy! Burger deserves further sanction for his deeds! At least the player returned to the field of play unlike Rossouw! Which was the worst crime - BOD or Burger's?

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  • 78. At 8:03pm on 27 Jun 2009, SidPenguin wrote:

    My problem with O'Gara is that he never had the slightest intention of challenging for the ball after his kick. Having put the ball up in the air he just made a token effort to follow it and didn't even have his eye on it when he made contact with the opposing player. O'Gara is a fine player when he is "in the armchair" and the game gets tactical but to get under the high ball with conviction, whether defending or attacking, you have to be a warrior and he has never been that. One useful assessment tool is this: all the top fly-halfs can, if necessity arises, switch to centre; O'Gara by contrast could only ever play in one position - which sums up his deficiencies perfectly.

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  • 79. At 8:04pm on 27 Jun 2009, rightRobbiesKeen wrote:

    The little goblins have re-emerged from the caves which is my cue to go; won't read anymore one-eyed nonsense so don't write any. If you want to traduce O'Driscoll, and regard Roberts as better then you're clearly having a laugh. I would praise both, only will not stand by and have fools attempt to tear down O'Driscoll's performance and reputation when he is clearly a greater player and has certainly LIFTED Roberts.

    'Til the next time. One more test, but the chance's gone. Roll on next season.

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  • 80. At 8:05pm on 27 Jun 2009, TrojanOtter wrote:

    rightRobbiesKeen - true, Shaw was penalised 3 or 4 times, which I suspect is the only reason Simon Austin didn't give him a 10.
    I didn't think any points were kicked from these (OGara, Roberts and the holding on on the floor were the 3 pens) and wasn't it South African tv who named him motm?
    Only changes; Roberts up to a 7 and O'Gara no more than a 3.

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  • 81. At 8:05pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    Interesting how BIL supporters have picked up on the whole Burger thing. Last week instead of analysing your own team you went on about the Beast, and today you have yet another distraction. Don't worry about Burger, the citing commission will take care of him. He is neither the first nor the last player who will ever do that and there are processes to deal with it. So get off your high-horses and spare us your out-rage. Your team has not been good enough to compete with us and I wouldn't be sad if this was the last BIL tour to SA. When it came down to it the BIL bottled to wins.

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  • 82. At 8:05pm on 27 Jun 2009, RedandBlackJonah wrote:

    poor ratings, roberts was excellent in defence and attack and deserves at least a 7, bod made a few errors with his distribution and was probably a 7 as well. S Jones was at least a 9, he was superb. POC was awful, he got knocked back everytime when he carried and his ruck work was average to poor.

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  • 83. At 8:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, grandslamewe wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 84. At 8:09pm on 27 Jun 2009, e17rugbyboy wrote:

    Having spent the last six weeks reading all the various posts it seems to me that the lions are doomed in the future. The management pick the players who they feel are the best and select teams accordingly yet the majority of posts are negative. Great game today from all players especially Shaw and Kearney. I'm sick and tired of petty jealousy from all. O'Gara did what he thought was right while all of us sofa watchers who probably failed at our rugby careers would have done the correct option!!! The Lions will fail if we as the supporters keep being so critical of of our players.

    Great game today from all the Lions and it could have been a great win if a one decision had gone our way. Or we could have lose by 10 points if they Boks had kicked the points.

    Get behind team rather than against them.

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  • 85. At 8:09pm on 27 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    Quote "South Africa coach Peter de Villiers refused to condemn Burger's actions, insisting that the Lions should have had players off the field as well.

    "I don't believe it was a card at all," he said. {BBC website)

    Heaven help us with people like this in any position of authority

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  • 86. At 8:13pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    FearRua: Most Bok supporters will agree with you and disagree with PDV. Burger should be punished.

    Unfortunately PDV is a bit of a loose cannon, but it's hard for the press or supporters to criticise him too much for various, complicated reasons which I won't bore everyone with.

    He has been cited and will be dealt with, no need to worry about what PDV says.

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  • 87. At 8:17pm on 27 Jun 2009, WillyGilly1990 wrote:

    i always said we should have gone for a 5 match test series...

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  • 88. At 8:22pm on 27 Jun 2009, halfglassfullscot wrote:

    Nice ratings though I would have given Tommy Bowe a 7. The Lions were amazing and we should all be extremely proud. To blame O'Driscoll (for O'Gara having to come on) for O'Gara for the 10 points, Shaw for the 12, or the South Africans for ensuring uncontested scrums, is utterly ridiculous and doesn't explain why we lost. We lost because we were the weaker side (just), which did our best and scored on almost every occasion we had a chance, but that's it. Mind you, the score was so close in both games because the Boks coach is crap. Had that Cheetahs openside been playing from the start we would have been in trouble from much earlier in the game just as our come back in the second half last week was partly because of DeVilliers taking key players off. Having said that overall I think they are very evenly matched teams and as has been mentioned the Boks delight at winning says it all. Just because we didn't doesn't mean this wasn't a fantastic tour, well worth doing again. Next week, let's keep the same team who deserve another crack at it. Let's not let them get all three come on Lions!

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  • 89. At 8:31pm on 27 Jun 2009, TrojanOtter wrote:

    Mark for Geech - 7
    Made some excellent changes to last week's starting XV and Lions were far more competitive as a result.
    Though hurt by injuries, paid the price for a poor bench selection, with little versitility. Thoughts?

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  • 90. At 8:31pm on 27 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    I hear you Saffavescent and appreciate your commnet but this guy is actually condoning the offence. Sure a manager defends his team but this is over the top. As you say Burger will be dealt with but was he not the one who lead out the team in honour of his 50th appearance,?? this is not the way to behave in front of many thousands of youngster, and for the record I was critical of Quinlan and his behaviour and i felt that his punishment was appropriate.

    Congrats on the win, three really fine tries, and, when they were required.

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  • 91. At 8:33pm on 27 Jun 2009, FearRua wrote:

    WillyGilly1990

    Never mind, Australia 2012 is not too far away and I'm sure you'll have completed all your exams by then............

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  • 92. At 8:34pm on 27 Jun 2009, ItsOpinionNotFact wrote:

    I largely agree with the ratings, although am surprised that Shaw was MOTM. He gave away a few unnecessary penalties and I thought that Kearney was almost faultless. Also Stephen Jones kicking was superb, as was his pass to Kearney for the try.

    I'm surprised that no-one has questioned why Sheridan was kept on when the game went to uncontested scrums. Surely that's the main (only?) part of his game. Wouldn't the Lions have been better replacing him with Martin Williams to give them more around the field?

    By the way, to all the South Africans here, congratulations on the win. No bitterness here. Well, apart from one S. Burger of course...;-)

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  • 93. At 8:35pm on 27 Jun 2009, silasvb wrote:

    Berger was a disgrace. I believe that the referee bottled the decision because it was so early on. However, Sheridan and O'Driscal both deserved to be carded (A red and a yellow respectively).

    I think if all these decisions had gone as stated above the result would probably been something similar.

    The superior organisation of the Bok's clearly showed as their first two tries were straight off the training ground.

    Congrats to SA. Hope the 3rd test doesn't turn into a joke.

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  • 94. At 8:47pm on 27 Jun 2009, TommySumo wrote:

    ROG should consider emigrating to S.A. Got a feeling he is the most popular man in the country at the moment (and for a few years to come) Cost the Lions 10 points in 7 minutes, and the series. If he did emigrate, doubt he would ever have to buy himself a beer. Referee needs to brush up on the laws as well - penalty for gouging (as reported to him by T.J) is instant red - no questions.

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  • 95. At 8:48pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 96. At 8:50pm on 27 Jun 2009, britishwelshboy wrote:

    rightRobbiesKeen, lifted roberts no but conbined well with roberts yes, roberts does have the ability to play great rugby for region and country without the aid of bod.

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  • 97. At 8:58pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    @jabulisile

    I was implying that he has made erratic comments and decisions, which I think most people would agree with. I think he has political support in SARFU which protects him, and I can say the same for all of our previous Springbok coaches. I judge him by his actions, not his colour. Perhaps you should read what the overseas press make of his decisions if you think this is some sort of uniquely biased viewpoint.

    Don't want to bore everyone else on here with these petty arguments, but if you come up with stuff like "ugly white head" and "soon.. we will have an all black team anyway" (isn't that NZ?) it seems like you are the one with a racist perspective. Perhaps you should be the one to "emigrate, if you haven't already".

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  • 98. At 9:01pm on 27 Jun 2009, gurrier wrote:

    Calming down now after the defeat to the boks.
    In the cold light of day they deserved it,( hard to say that!)
    Paul O,Connells leadership was inspiring and his selection as
    captain was without doubt a great decision.
    I thought Simon Shaw and Bod were magnificent and didnt let the
    Bok bully boys ruffle them.
    Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald are ABSOLUTE Top class, Leinster
    Will win next years HC again even without Rocky and Conti.
    Eirebully,sorry Eirebilly, O,gara was a letdown to the LIONS,and
    even the most diehard Corkman/Munster fan will have to admit that
    Today!


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  • 99. At 9:05pm on 27 Jun 2009, rugabugawelshylover wrote:

    "Monye should have been in the 22 instead of Shane, on form alone. He's had a great tour (he CAN finish) and one poor test. Mistake."

    Great tour? Hmm borderline agreeing but at the end of the day the TEST is what is most important and he didn't finish, and it was a poor test! He'll probably be on bench, for the final test.

    Jamie Roberts 6? naa 7.

    So gutted, I didn't want to blame anyone for the defeat but god I swore alot in the pub with the O'Gara debacle! Well done SA, however Schalke Burger - never liked him, never will, disgrace to Sport.

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  • 100. At 9:06pm on 27 Jun 2009, gdoby15 wrote:

    tinyrugbynerd no.23
    Great comment.
    That actualy makes me feel better and a lot less frustrated in that the lions could so easily have won the series and the match but were robbed . Ye I do feel proud of the players . It's so hard for a scratch team to play against one of the best sides in the world and that side were so up for winning it .
    Disappointed , frustrated , but still immensly proud that these professionals were willing to fight with such valour on behalf of a scratch side representing Britain & Ireland .Unlucky lads we should have won .

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  • 101. At 9:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    @jabulisile

    And I felt free to criticise Morne du Plessis for stupid decisions (like having no kicker) in 1997, but it's difficult to make the same criticisms of PDV when he repeats the same mistakes because there is an inevitable reaction like yours. Surely 'merit' means he should be subject to exactly the same criticisms?

    Why get so upset today, of all days, after a great game.

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  • 102. At 9:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, U14050920 wrote:

    I refer to ZXDaveM comments about - sad! There has been a continual reference here to the Great 1997 team and their feats. In 1974 all in the southern hemisphere got given a rugby lesson. They learnt from this and 1980 BIL team in SA got a rugby lesson - not sad but a fact of history. The 1997 BIR never deserved to win as they played little rugby and totally depended on a Welsh Kicking Wizard. Sad, no, more irritated by your hypocrisy or selective memory. Rugby is best played by thinking men (in short supply in SA)and similarly comments on the game best made by thinking people not metal pygmies!

    Also, when will those in SA accept criticism on face value without playing the race card. PDV is a product of that awful system. But it would take a pretty stupid person to protect him as a manager- his changes in the first test speak volumes. Please lets talk rugby and put aside the racist aspect?

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  • 103. At 9:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, salvadorsanchezRIP wrote:

    So, Ronan O'Gara gets excused by some? If he were English, he would being lambasted, FACT.
    He lost the game, noone else, and today he is a far bigger culprit than both Vickery and Monye COMBINED when it comes to why the Lions lost.
    Simon Shaw(POC captain? leave off, he barely deserved a start! Had Shaw been Irish/Scot/Welsh he would be captain and start every game etc) and Rob Kearney were absolutely epic and should be extremeley proud of themselves. AMazing stuff from them two.
    Overall, thje Lions did themselves, and us(unless of course the Celtic fans want to be divided again...)proud today and should have won(they would have won had it not been for O'Gara and injuries)

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  • 104. At 9:16pm on 27 Jun 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    jabulisile - why do are you so keen to have an "all-black team" anyway?

    If you want a team based on race does that not make you a racist?

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  • 105. At 9:19pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    @Saffavescent

    I apologise for misinterpreting you comments, but nothing else. Its just a bit disappointing how PDV's every move is reported negatively sometimes. More so here in SA than anywhere else. So far he is not doing a bad job, but we'll see how he fares in the Tri-Nations. I'm not racist, I just think everyone deserves a fair shake. And lastly, if he thinks Burger's card was harsh then he is entitled to his opinion. Unless you've coached a national rugby team before, who are you to judge?

    And regarding the assistant ref's recommendation to the ref: If someone asked you for at least R100, what reason would you have for giving him R200?

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  • 106. At 9:25pm on 27 Jun 2009, Saffavescent wrote:

    @jabulisile - and I apologise if I offended, will choose my words more carefully next time.

    I appreciate that PDV is more qualified than me in terms of judging rugby offences, but having played rugby I have a severe problem with eye-gouging and think it should never be excused - guess we'll just have to disagree on that!

    Agree with you on the linesman though. 'At least a yellow' means exactly that.

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  • 107. At 9:26pm on 27 Jun 2009, Derek Fallon wrote:

    Hats off to Stephen Jones. He had a shocker last week but was superb today. Also Kearney was brilliant (imagine he didnt even get into Leinsters starting 15 for the Heineken Cup final. Dont think Drico deserved an 8 but as an Irishman overall I am very proud of the boys efforts. And to think that Ferris, Flannery and O'Leary were injured-3 shoe-ins for the test side. Things are definately good for Ireland at the moment. Well done South Africa on a deserved test series win.

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  • 108. At 9:29pm on 27 Jun 2009, arbreman wrote:

    SA, you won and well done, a crowded rugby club watched every minute, you fought back well. But the overiding thought is bigger than this game - if your manager (De Villiers) sees his player almost take the eyes out of the opposition then openly says of his player "he should not have been shown a card of any colour, I don't think it should have been a card at all," , then surely this sport has lost it's meaning - this is not war, surely play fair and the best team wins.

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  • 109. At 9:30pm on 27 Jun 2009, Donniedoran wrote:

    I am so sorry that I cannot join in the generally upbeat tone of the blogs so far.... If you really and truly believe in the lions as a representative team of the 4 home nations then you have to have a stake in it. I loved Kearney's performance and the commitment of Shaw, I would always go the extra mile to see BOD play, a true genius. But still no Scot made it to the field. Before any posters start critisising such a paochial stance, just think on. As the clock moved on to the 60th minute I could not believe how my the adrenelin started firing, surely the first Scot was about to take the field and the Lions would truly become BIL, but still it did not come. Players were dropping like flies or as the final minutes approached falling off tackles but sill the call did not come - what will it take yo get a Scot on the field?
    The treatment of Mike Blair by bloggers, journalists and the Lions management on this tour has been a disgrace, especially compared to the chances given to other out of form players but todays further slap in the face really makes me think along similar lines to the vast majority of the the South Africn rugby fans who have treated the tour with resounding indifference (look at the attendances) - what is the point?
    Maybe Scotland just need more players playing with Wasps, Tim Payne anybody?

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  • 110. At 9:36pm on 27 Jun 2009, Thinprop wrote:

    The intensity of the 2 test has been a great spectacle and credit goes to both teams for exciting and sometimes brutal rugby. A team coming together and playing the world champions and pushing them to the last in both test has been a fantastic achievement.
    On the down side PDV failure to condemn S Burgers gross foul play to me has been the saddest point of the tour so far. Gouging is the worst of all offenses that can be carried out on the field closely followed by stamping on the head, and Bakkies Botha citing seems to be a bit of a party piece for him, he has a history of "attacking rucks". To effectively say they( The Lions) should have had cards for incidents smacks of children on the playground. If ROG had of kicked out then I'd backed the Lions for Jo'burg to draw the series alas it is not to be.

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  • 111. At 9:39pm on 27 Jun 2009, arbreman wrote:

    It's such a shame when rugby has become such a high profile sport that refereeing decisions seem to dictate the winners of a game rather than the best team. Today, trying to explain to the neutral observer why someone can try and gauge the eyes out of the oponent but then only misses 10 minutes of a game is hard to explain. The last time they watched a game was the RWC final, so again it was hard to explain why the England try was dissalowed then whereas a seemingly similar try was awarded to SA this time. Hard to explain but as my friend said, he can't see the point in watching rugby again as there seems no rhyme nor reason to it, and I strugled to find any logic to argue with him

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  • 112. At 9:41pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    @Smellslikesalmon

    I just meant to say "a more demographically representative team", but this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion. We're here to try to understand why a distinctly average team that's lost two games in a row and drawn with a team of "future internationals" has been scored an average 7/10. I mean other reasons than the first eye-gauge in history, bad luck (should have brought your four-leaf clovers), the Southern Hemisphere "French" referee, world hunger, etc.

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  • 113. At 9:41pm on 27 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    An epic encounter.
    Burger - Lets just be clear that was the most blatant and determined piece of eye gougeing I have ever seen. This was no case of dragging your hands across the face of an opponent as Quinlan did. Burger went digging in the eye socket, Quinlan got 12 weeks, Burger should get 24 weeks, no less. He should have been off, no questions.
    Kearney - Outstanding, I would go as far as saying his fielding of the high ball was so consistently excellent that I have not seen better. Lovely try to boot.
    Wings - Pretty quite but both solid.
    Centres - Superb again. Hate to agree with some of the above but I think Roberts has lifted his game but not just in response to BOD but to playing for the Lions in general. Henson when fit is one of the most complete inside centres around, Roberts in this form outside him bodes well for Wales. Nothing wrong with BOD's tackle, his arms were open, fair hit.
    S Jones - Best game I have seen him play since the 2005 grand slam.
    Philips - No tries, sevice not the slickest but always a danger.
    Front row - Excellent, Jones showed the beast to be what he is, a prop of little experience.
    2nd row - Shaw, excellent. POC solid.
    Back row - Croft, good speed and lineout but still shows up as light weight in the tackle and gain line areas. Heaslip busier this week, much improved. Wally, solid.
    Bench - Mostly solid, nothing outstanding. Hindsight is not a factor, Hook should have been on that bench for his versatility. I thought Sherry showed alot more today, good impact.
    ROG - I will not pull any punches with this, he should not have been on the bench. The saffers treated him like a carpet as predicted and his decision making was poor when a cool head was required. The kick should have gone to corner. When instead he put it up, he should either of waited to tackle when the bloke landed or challenged in the air. He did neither,a poor decision and an extremely expensive one.
    Overall even though the saffers play a cynical dirty game, you have to applaud their ability to close out a test match, well done SA.
    Lions management gave away the first test, they are as culpable as any of the players.
    Did any one else feel the refs postioning at ruck and maul was blocking play and options? He always seemed to be in the way of the Lions.
    Real shame we could and should be 2 nil up.

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  • 114. At 9:46pm on 27 Jun 2009, hjenkins75 wrote:

    O'Gara was at his most selfish. Seemed like he was playing for himself and not for the team. I can never forgive him for this. He missed a crucial tackle, whined about not getting a shot to kick to goal, it's like he had a point to prove and let us all down in the process.

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  • 115. At 9:47pm on 27 Jun 2009, squaremoffie wrote:

    A point of distinction needs to be raised: just about every saffa who's written comments has lamented the silly and outrageous actions of Burger. There is a currency of objectivity here. There is a currency of dislike for this type of ridiculous play.

    Just about no NH postings find fault with the indiscretions of the Lions players, notably BOD and Sheridan. These were card-able offenses too. Ok, one exception I see.

    Then the Burger incident is built into the argument that somehow the Boks and SH players are always begging for a fight, and malicious by default.

    For any Lions fans spending time in South Africa I am sure you will have rarely found any aggression in the pubs or bars on the streets in JHB or CT or elsewhere at night. In most of my years in SA I have always found it pleasantly peaceful (we are not talking about serious crime now - thats another story) to be out on the town, and friendly.

    The last time I went to London, within the first 5 hours of being there a gang of silly thugs wanted to cause trouble (near Liverpool St station). My abiding memory of the years living in london was of this underlying and overt aggression everywhere. The point is, you can point your finger at thuggery, but its source is in your own backyard.

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  • 116. At 9:52pm on 27 Jun 2009, thomthepom wrote:


    few people have mentioned the video ref try, there seemed little conclusive proof either way and so i suppose that's why stuart dickenson (see below) said there was no reason not to award it. but the touch judge seemed VERY keen to check the foot in touch, i bet in the absence of a tv official he would have backed his judgment and put his flag up. maybe we'll get a still pic in the papers proving it either way, as in paris WC final when dickenson was shown to have been correct about mark cueto's foot...

    well done SA. you deserved the series win. just. it was close, like that world cup final (and yes i know that cueto would have scored 5 points and you won by 8...)

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  • 117. At 9:55pm on 27 Jun 2009, Norwichwelshman wrote:

    I was one of the people before this game who didnt want shaw anywhere near the test 22, thought he was too old, have eaten a whole lot of humble pie this afternoon!!!!

    Turning point had to be the departure of Jenkins and Jones, they suddenly had more drive, and we lost the best openside of the game in Jenkins, lol.

    Have to give it to the bokks though, they were class today and last week!

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  • 118. At 10:00pm on 27 Jun 2009, superevans85 wrote:

    its all too easy for us to criticize those who played from a spectators POV. we will never get to do what those guys have done and should therefore be grateful for the opportunity to watch some amazing rugby. hats off to those who took part - you did the tradition proud and i for one hope that it is a tradition that never ends.

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  • 119. At 10:01pm on 27 Jun 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    111 arbreman: It's quite simple really. The 2007 WC Final try was disallowed as there was evidence that the attacker had put a foot into touch.

    In this game there was NO evidence that a foot had been put into touch (some posters incorreclty refer to Brussouw's foot, and he didn't have the ball). So the try was awarded. As I said, simple really.

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  • 120. At 10:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, Gareth wrote:

    5 for O'Gara! Why? He failed to make the tackle to save the final try and couldn't even bring himself to jump to even make it look like he was competing for the ball after his up and under. Sorry Ronan, I recognise your excellent tactical play but without BOD alongside to help you defend your international career would not have even begun. Hook should have been chosen today.

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  • 121. At 10:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, jaimaneth wrote:

    shaw 9?? no, id mark him down for stupid penalties again but did get through some amount of work.
    kearney i think should have 10 because as far as i can remember he did absolutely nothing wrong.
    the bench was wrong for me. i think earls should have been in instead of williams and hook on the bench at very least. mc geechan got that wrong today i think

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  • 122. At 10:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, jackof10 wrote:

    Leave O'Gara alone. He is a top quality International player who has captained the Lions on this tour. If you also have captained the Lions then you have the right to criticize ROG. Sure he wanted to avoid errors but life happens. Split second decisions are what makes rugby the magnificent competitive sport it is.Reality sport is like this. Take part in reality sport before becoming such a critical expert that you can put all the blame on one man. With an equal share of the breaks the Lions could have won this match. They played like heroes one and all. Be proud of our heros and their huge efforts, rather than criticise ROG. Our Lads just got pipped at the post but kept Lion's honour. This is what really matters.

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  • 123. At 10:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, OrieShaw wrote:

    First Lions tour ive watched and cant wait for 2013, think theres real talent coming up in the NH. Should really be 2-0 up in the series, didnt really see the quality that made SA world champs, always played the boring territory game but fair play to them, it worked.

    Management were partly to blame for the result/s but in the end its the players on the pitch that make the difference and i wouldnt say we weren't good enough, just unlucky. More things went the boks way than ours (cough cough burger red card anyone?).

    Hope the whole concept of the Lions doesn't die out though, as a young rugby player its so inspirational to see a team which has only been together for 4-6 weeks (i think) go up against a giant of world rugby and take them all the way to a last minute penalty.

    Shaw, Kearney and BOD, immense.

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  • 124. At 10:02pm on 27 Jun 2009, djpastabake wrote:

    i was gutted armitage wasnt selected, but byrne is probably the best 15 in the world to date and kearney showed to day that he isnt too far behind.

    o'gara and shane williams are only there for their reputation, and someone else deserves a chance in their places

    credit to the front row who were great.

    Jones was poor last week but has restored my faith in him after a v. good performance

    overall im gutted with the result though

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  • 125. At 10:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, U14050920 wrote:

    As for all the excuses defending BOD tackle! You would have to be pretty partisan not to accept that his intention was to flatten the player. He has a history of this type of behaviour and it has been extraordinary that he has not received more cards. Why was he not cited? Surely, his action is equally worthy of talking us through what was he thinking. Burger deserves the full extent of what is coming. Equally anyone who aims at the head of someone and does not use his arms and the player has to leave the field of play and may have to miss out on selection surely is a thug! Review all the incidents over the years BOD has been involved in and then comment!

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  • 126. At 10:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, alldowntofrankhayes wrote:

    Seems to me that it was a fantastic, full-blooded game of test match rugby, hard and unremitting. Burger was way over the top and I agree should have been red-carded, but he wasn't and McGeechan was quite right not to be drawn on that. The Lions were magnificent in the first half but were beaten by a better side. Ultimately that came down to the final penalty. O'Gara has been severely criticised for giving away the penalty but surely his bigger mistake was not to have secured possession rather than kicking the ball up in the air at such a late stage with the scores tied. He didn't look right at any stage and seemed a bit dazed after being tackled before the try. Not entirely his fault but the three SA tries were tremendous.

    I agree with Donniedoran about the disgraceful treatment of Mike Blair. Phillips is big and strong but slow in releasing the ball and on a number of occasions simply took the wrong option. Not convinced by him.

    I'm a Scot and accept that the Lions is about picking the best team and not a quota from the home nations. Quota selection has caused enough trouble in SA as it is. However, my heart wasn't quite in it because no Scots were there. That's not parochialism, just a fact of life. I thought Kearney and both Joneses were magnificent today and was proud of the Lions' efforts but the South Africans were the better team.

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  • 127. At 10:07pm on 27 Jun 2009, newportexile wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 128. At 10:08pm on 27 Jun 2009, AndrewQ2009 wrote:

    Hugely disappointed for the Lions. It remains to be known exactly what effect the foul play had on the outcome of the game but leaving that to one side for a moment, I have to respect the superb finishing skills of the South African wingers, JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana. Their tries were scorchers - and from first phase. How we could have done with the same finishing ability last week.

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  • 129. At 10:14pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Yazbod. It is quite simple. You cannot charge people high prices for inferior product.

    SA, AUs and NZ have kept all their international players out of the provincial games since the 1993 Lions tour. The Lions have to insist that they release their players for the game. You will not ay $100 to watch a Provincial B team.
    """""""""""""""""""""

    Finally - the Lions Concept. Please, please, please can the Lions organisers and the Australian Union (thats where the Lions are off to next isn't it?) work out a better way of getting the mid-week games to matter. The high prices and lack of high-profile names for the mid-week games have tarnished the uniqueness of a Lions tour and this needs fixing, badly!

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  • 130. At 10:18pm on 27 Jun 2009, handy-legend wrote:

    Massive chance gone begging I'm afraid. ROG RETIRE NOW!!! Simply, POC was not good enough all tour. Martin Johnson he is not- although geech was hoping for a 97 repeat. Shaw and Kearney- IMMENSE, best Lions performances by a forward and back all tour by miles. Heartbreak though, Lions could and should have been 25-25 going in to try and level the series next week- ROG shame on your stupidity.

    My view is that the Tri Nations is far better than the 6nations and barring a blue moon , England will remain the only NH side to have won a RWC for quite some time! South Africa know how to win big test matches, unlike the pedestrian 6nations sides- one or two heroic performances from individuals doesn't hide the lack of world class player depth in the NH.

    Anyone agree?

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  • 131. At 10:21pm on 27 Jun 2009, Mark wrote:

    First of all well done to the lions on a great effort. However, I don't agree with most of you putting the blame on Ronan O' Gara. For the try, Mike Phillips was in a much better position to make a tackle on Fourie but I notice nobody seems to have mentioned this. Then for the penalty, if O' Gara had jumped out of the tackle most of you would still be having a go at him. Also, if he had kicked the ball into touch and ended the game you would be saying that he would have thrown away a chance to counter-attack and possibly win the game. About 90% of people commenting on this website have never given O' Gara a chance even before the tour started. I think he will bounce back from this as he did after the Heineken Cup Final 2000 and hopefully he will be given a chance to redeem himself next saturday. As for people saying that he is lucky to be on te tour, who would you bring instead? Danny Cipriani? Andy Goode? Dan Parks? O' Gara might not be the best out-half in the world, but it certainly wasn't a mistake to bring him on the tour.

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  • 132. At 10:22pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    jabulisile wrote:

    @And lastly, if he thinks Burger's card was harsh then he is entitled to his opinion. Unless you've coached a national rugby team before, who are you to judge?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Of course PDV is entitled to his opinion, and we are entitled to call his opinion what it is: patently ridiculous.

    You don't have to have coached an international rugby team to see that PDV's claim that the eye gouge was not worth a yellow card is absurd, farcical and insulting. In fact it is bordeline bringing the game into disrepute.

    Coaches need to stop this knee jerk defense of players. It is pathetic.


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  • 133. At 10:25pm on 27 Jun 2009, U14050920 wrote:

    Where was the much vaunted BIL backline? Only one try!Whereas the boring Boks scored 3 and all by their backs! Must have been pure luck or due to ref inadequacy or a lucky pounce or some other pathetic excuse! Every year we hear how they talk up their teams in the NH and over the past decades very very few have lived up to this hype!

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  • 134. At 10:26pm on 27 Jun 2009, welshtanman wrote:

    djpasta - Armitage is a good player and I am a massive Byrne fan. However after Kearney's performance today Armitage is not even in the same stratosphere, smell the coffee.
    Squarmoffie - Having travelled in your country (great hospitality) and met enough of your country men over here, I have come across enough mute Saffers, beered up with a chip on their shoulders to say you are wrong.
    UB40.........BOD's tackle was hard but legal, look again. I admit Sherry did give someone a slap on the crown jewels (very funny!) which is illegal. However the two offences that rugby players can't abide are gougeing and biting. That was a horrendous case of gougeing and Burger deserves 6 months.

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  • 135. At 10:27pm on 27 Jun 2009, quinny_10 wrote:

    im a lions fan but not going to blame ref like some if anything thought we got away with alot today he gave some poor decisions against boks we were unlucky today thought when o driscoll went off it would be big loss he has been the leader for us not o connell was mistake him being captain but what i thought cost us most again today was phillips slow play the boks had so much time to set there defence his decision making was poor again aswel and we spent to much time having to use others at scrum half when he was posted missing id bring blair in all he needs is a little confidence and can show why he was up for world player of the year

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  • 136. At 10:32pm on 27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:

    @xpat73

    Perhaps PDV has seen worser eye-gouges or other offences not punished so severely. This is possible because as a coach, he has probably seen a lot of live games as well as countless reruns. Even my 5 yr old nephew has opinions and the ability to criticise opinions. An individual's experience and position is directly proportional to how seriously you can take them. But I guess we should take YOUR word, you being the moral campus of rugby union and all that.

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  • 137. At 10:36pm on 27 Jun 2009, famoussalfordlad wrote:

    fantastic display from thirty plus players
    rugbys a team game, if the kicks dont go where they should its no point being a good lineout forward, coz theres no lineouts etc and everyone of the lions who played was worth an eight plus;
    think Shane Williams was on the bench in case we needed some magic in the last ten minutes.
    what i dont undrstand is why ellis wasnt brought on to cover the wing but still thanks guys; welsh, Irish, English and scots you all put your lives on the line Thanks

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  • 138. At 10:42pm on 27 Jun 2009, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    Gutted.

    If BOD had been captain from the beginning he'd have got that erg extra needed out of every man. I still don't understand POC as captain.

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  • 139. At 10:42pm on 27 Jun 2009, squaremoffie wrote:

    welshtanman - BOD tackle initiated from off side, and no hands in the tackle. Accidental clash of heads yes, but the offenses were there.

    Ok, enough already about Burger - I don't think there is a single person on the site who doesn't believe he should go to prison.

    All I am asking is for NH people to look around and see their indiscretions like we can see and admit to ours

    I reckon the last test will be a cracker, lots of running rugby played in good spirit - now that the pressure is off.

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  • 140. At 10:43pm on 27 Jun 2009, royalbarry1 wrote:

    Lads - take stock. This team is supposedly the best team the world has got to offer (it makes me smile just to think that!). The game shows yet again that the lions can callenge the "best" in the world on an even footing - long may the lions tours last. (Plus I have to say what a night it has been with the the English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish fans). Pure genius.

    As for Berger - a disgrace. Hopefully he won't play again for 6 months. Pathetic. They can only win on their own terms.



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  • 141. At 10:46pm on 27 Jun 2009, Owain Glyndwr wrote:

    Why does O'Gara score 5.

    2 max and thats only because i am in a generous mood.

    Powder puff tackling and a stupid challenge, both actions leading to SA scores. :o(



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  • 142. At 10:47pm on 27 Jun 2009, OrieShaw wrote:

    U14050920

    where was the much vaunted BIL backline? you mean the backline that dominated the first half? do you not understand the meaning of playing the territory game. u kick ball away untill you get to the 22, and then use your backs. I did say it worked if you didnt read my post, just that its boring :). our backline on the otherhand were prepared to play from our half, it was definitely there for all of SA to see when we scored 10 points before u were even out of your own half :)

    and NH teams dotn live up to the hype
    didnt england win 13 or 14 games in a row against SH teams? Forgetting 2003 world cup? Wales in last years autumn internationals?

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  • 143. At 10:56pm on 27 Jun 2009, SuperGedwards9 wrote:

    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.

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  • 144. At 11:30pm on 27 Jun 2009, boycie00 wrote:

    One things for certain. At modern test match level 1-15 must all be able to tackle. ROG's attempt at a basic one on one head on tackle was the sort of effort you see on a school playing field with a terrible body position. It was asking for trouble.

    His up & under also showed a fear of direct contact. As he approached where the ball was about to land he simply took his eyes off the ball then closed them as contact was about to be made resulting in a clumsy clash.

    He can be carried at club/province/6N level but against the big hitters he's out of his depth which sounds harsh but it's a harsh professional business.

    The bench has to consist of all round players who can come on and do a job in either attack or defence depending on where the game is at after 60m. The selectors have a lot to answer for in not having Hook instead of ROG on the bench. Selecting ROG limited the options cos he can't defend, as we saw.

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  • 145. At 11:38pm on 27 Jun 2009, ctmanbok wrote:

    Firstly, I am pissed, so apologise for any spelling or grammatical errors.

    As a South African, I want so say well done to the Lions, I thought you guys were brilliant.!!!! I am really pissed off with Schalk for his eye gouging.....there is no place in rugby for such shit. To be honest, not sure what Bakkies did to be cited but will check the replays....shit , I am too pissed to continue, but well done the Lions!!!!! You gius were awesome. Please, dont stereotype us Saffers, we not that bad and appreciate good rugby!

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  • 146. At 11:39pm on 27 Jun 2009, hammersmithjack wrote:

    No doubt in my mind the Boks were targeting Lions today for injury. The SA provincial tactics - most notoriously seen in the Doddy Weir incident of 1997 - have now surfaced in the national side. We've seen flashes in EU autumn internationals but this was organised. There were Lions retaliations but faced by a systematic process where props, half backs and centres were being targeted by Boks for injury I'm only surprised the Lions kept as much discipline as they did. For De Villiers to say Berger didn't deserve a card at all is a disgrace. The Boks are a great side who have an awful manager who is endorsing their behaviour and sending them down the road to disaster.
    One small note on Shane Williams. He touched the ball once today in his 15 or so minutes on (1 more time than he did on Wed when he got no passes at all) walking into a big tackle but he still retained the ball and fed it back. He also produced one near try saving tackle on Jacobs. He did nothing else wrong. And is still pilloried. I don't understand why we can't celebrate technically gifted players who always try to play rugby and save our contempt for those who are technically gifted but try to injure their opponents.

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  • 147. At 11:50pm on 27 Jun 2009, xpat73 wrote:

    Janulislie:

    Don't b pathetic.

    What worse eye gouge would that be? When he plucks the eye out of the socket? In all seriousness the point is, it's not a matter of opinion. Eye gouging is a straight red card.......so to argue it's not even a yellow card is wrong. It's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of fact. The only question left is, how long ill the ban be?

    You seem to have a large chip on your shoulder judging by your rabid defense of PDV.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    27 Jun 2009, jabulisile wrote:
    @xpat73

    Perhaps PDV has seen worser eye-gouges or other offences not punished so severely. This is possible because as a coach, he has probably seen a lot of live games as well as countless reruns. Even my 5 yr old nephew has opinions and the ability to criticise opinions. An individual's experience and position is directly proportional to how seriously you can take them. But I guess we should take YOUR word, you being the moral campus of rugby union and all that.

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  • 148. At 11:57pm on 27 Jun 2009, ctmanbok wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 149. At 00:02am on 28 Jun 2009, Vincento1972 wrote:

    122 - get you. I think though you will find that we were "pipped at the post" due to a hissy-fitting and petulant ROG took a player out in the air.

    Sorry, I know I've not captained the Lions so, in your opinion, have no right to lambast him for his error, but as a reasonably intelligentand sentient human being I do have what is called an opinion, which I am quite happy to impart...

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  • 150. At 00:07am on 28 Jun 2009, netthomas wrote:

    as a loyal rugby fan, i am usually loathe to blame anyone but the players for a defeat. however, congrats to the boks for their very clever game plan. adam jones, BOD and bowe were all deliberately targeted, injured and removed from the field before the 'big guns' were released. the lions had numerous players playing out of position, when o'gara came on, he was playing in a position he is just not used to. uncontested scrums - how can world class rugby be played when a restart is uncontested? i mostly thought the reffing was fair, o'gara was a bit of an idiot in the last 5 minutes, but i think a penalty was very harsh for something i didnt consider to be taking someone out in the air. the ref missed countless high tackles made by the boks..not happy! looking forward to next test.

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  • 151. At 00:07am on 28 Jun 2009, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    hammersmithjack: To repeat some of what has already been said, it is pretty bad form to accuse a team of systematically injuring opponents. Evidence?

    Burger will be punished, but Jenkins was injured when he and BOD tackled Habana, his head collided with Habana's. How could the Boks plan this? Send one of our smallest players to take out a prop with the back of his head? BOD was injured when he launched a dangerous, head-high tackle with no arms, straight into Rossouw's head. Rossouw, who had just come on, had to leave the field and was concussed. How did the Boks plan this one?

    I enjoyed the game and congratulate both sides, but pathetic comments like yours make me wonder about the average rugby fan.

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  • 152. At 00:25am on 28 Jun 2009, southafrica2010 wrote:

    ctmanbok
    its South Africans like you that give the rest of your country a bad name

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  • 153. At 00:47am on 28 Jun 2009, redscorpion7 wrote:

    Still 'gutted'. Can't believe we lost that match and still believe the ref 'bottled it' when the linesman gave him an out - "with its at least a yellow". Linesman who saw this not to be put in charge of schoolboy rugby matches. That said I wanted to beat the boks at 15 a side and this time we never shied away from the contest.
    Utter respect to Adam Jones, Rob Kearney and Simon Shaw who were "immense" as were all other 12 starters (including Wallace, Heaslip & Croft - did you see that lineout take??, Rees, Phillips & Jones..BOD, JRob, O'Connell etc). As an irish rugby fan respect to the Welsh & English players who moulded together with our own to wear the shirt with immense pride and were unlucky not to pull it off. Regretably whenever we heard the team announced most of us were querying the lack of cover at centre and full back from the bench. Hopefully if the injured guys don't make it for next week we will have the likes of Jones, D'Arcy and big Sherridan to carry on the 'fight'
    Hope they can lift themselves for third game as I for one would like to hammer the world champions and take a bit of gloss away from their series win!! The lions as ever will have every real true fan off the 4 HomeN's full support.

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  • 154. At 01:07am on 28 Jun 2009, LostInSeattle wrote:

    It was a great game, hats of to the Boks for fighting their way back in. Felt sorry for O'Gara who played the last 10 minutes with one eye half closed - we just ran out of subs. Still, I think Hook and Earls would have provided better cover that ROG and SW. SW was the one exception that the coaches made when going on former glory over current form, and it left us short on cover for the centers. We knew the centers would be targeted after the last game. And I think Hook could have survived the hits better than ROG, while still providing cover for place kicking. But what a game!

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  • 155. At 01:31am on 28 Jun 2009, DaveMycroft wrote:

    Congratulations to both sides on a fine exhibition of Rugby, the players can only play as well as the referees allow them and they put on a superb display.

    The referee should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute after today's display. He knowingly ignored the laws of the game by giving Burger a yellow card. decisions like this will result in supporters leaving the sport as it's no longer a sporting contest when referees are incompetent.

    Likewise the SA coach should be charged for his comments that eye gouging doesn't deserve any card........that's incitement to violence!

    All true Rugby fans should complain to the IRB over the standard of refereeing - [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 156. At 01:45am on 28 Jun 2009, bustleg8 wrote:

    i struggle to see how o'driscoll gets an 8 - he made no breaks, gave an intercept pass (although then tackled habana), forced a pass to kearney and knocked himself out in illegal tackle. did like him scrapping with matfield though.

    fitzgerald should get a 6 at most for letting in jp pieterson for his try - schoolboy stuff and should have done better when he was through in the first half. glittering career ahead of him though.

    roberts did all that was expected with the ball he got and his injury seemed to be like he had had enough of being a battering ram for the past 12 months - only error was kicking straight out so should have got more than a 6.

    heaslip was anonymous again today - while powell looks clueless, at least he has some go forward.

    wallace was average compared to how he plays for ireland and munster. was expecting great things from him but have been disappointed - i hope williams gets a test start next week as i think hes been on the bench about 10 times now!

    shane has been disappointing this tour and maybe monye should have been on bench. kearney was immense and was prob better than byrne has been.

    o'gara - right then - i do not rate him at all - all he does is kick to the corner and then hayes and o'connell pressurise the opppo in the lineout. he was on the field for 15 minutes, missed 2 tackles, did a stupid garyowen when the corner was needed and then conceded the match losing pen. i dont know if his banter is any good but i cant think of a worst tourist. i even read his book to justify how little i rate him and
    that stinks too. should never been allowed to tour. god bless mcrae for a premature (if totally brutal) beating (although i understand o'gara was nailing his mrs at the time - totally unfounded rumours obviously)

    sheridan was great i thought although a shame gethin and adam had to go off.

    i always thought matt rees was average at best but he has been a revelation in thes tests - i only counted one missed lineout.

    as for phillips im just happy hes welsh. scrum halves and 10s seem to be in abundance. imagine replacing phillips with peel and then jones with hook.

    all in all though a great series so far and well done to the boks. cant believe burger got a yellow card for a 10 week banning offence. either they saw the gouge (instant red card) or they didnt - a yellow card is here nor there and seems a massive copout. and sorry if that seems im blaming the ref.

    fourire de preez was immense

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  • 157. At 02:44am on 28 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    What a game, gutted we lost but we gave them a good game and if it wasnt for the injurys and a numpty munster man it could have been very diferent
    dont agree with ratings tho
    Kearney 8
    Bowe 6
    BOD 6 ( think he made a few mistakes and almost threw a pass 2 habana who would have strolled in 4 a try early on )
    Roberts 6
    Fitzgearld 6
    Jones 8
    Phillips 7
    Heaslip 7
    Croft 6
    Wallace 6
    Shaw 9
    POC 6
    Jones 8
    Rees 7
    Jenkins 6

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  • 158. At 02:56am on 28 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    Also was chuffd 2 see tha all the Welsh lads showd up wel on tour, people will go on about Shane not playing wel but with out the service what can he do, think tha the team was all wrong again, Martyn Willimas should have played, some of the Coaches Desicions have been very strange 2, When the props went off why not send Williams on 2 add some pace 2 the pack just think we could have won this series but made some very sill mistakes allround selection mainly, but hats off 2 the boks was a great series

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  • 159. At 03:25am on 28 Jun 2009, daijones17 wrote:

    Apropos nothing in the preceding posts, I do wonder what the TMOs see. If they see the same as the viewers, that's very poor. Video tracks have a time stamp that makes it absurdly easy to give a split screen view of a play, time synchronised, so that you can see on the one side the act of touching down from a front view, say; and on the other side a back view of the feet of the player, say. The synchronisation would mean that you can see exactly whether a player grounded before going out. I really hope the TMOs get such a view - the judgement is pointless without - but given some decisions, I suspect not. In any case, TV viewers should get the view, it's easily done. If nothing else, it would stop people claiming tries should be disallowed when they shouldn't be.

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  • 160. At 05:43am on 28 Jun 2009, BennyBlanco wrote:

    I can't understand how anyone can defend O'Gara. The game was a draw with 79 and a half minutes on the clock. He received the ball under little pressure. He is normally excellent at rolling the ball into the corners. Instead he hoists it high, landing it just inside the Springbok half and blindly runs into De Preez like a puppy. Anyone who has ever played rugby knows that if you make it look like you're going for the ball you'll be fine, if you don't you'll get pinged.

    Regardless of what went before, the gouging, the injuries, the Boks' slow start, the referee, even his pathetic attempt of a tackle on Fourie, the result was decided because an experienced international lost his head when the pressure was on. The management should also shoulder blame for having him on the bench in the first place when Hook clearly offered better cover for other positions. In fact, there were many better options than O'Gara: Earls, Darcy, Monye, John Hayes...

    If O'Gara hadn't done what he did the game would have been a draw. Simple as.

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  • 161. At 08:07am on 28 Jun 2009, handy-legend wrote:

    ROG and POC THE TWO MOST OVER-RATED PLAYERS IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE!!!
    NEITHER SHOULD HAVE TOURED AND POC AS CAPTAIN WAS A FARCE, DON'T GET ME STARTED ON O GARA- I'VE SEEN TEENAGERS TACKLE BETTER THAN HIM. WE SHOULD BE LOOKING TO DRAW THE SERIES ON SATURDAY, INSTEAD ANOTHER 3-0 PASTING IS ON THE CARDS.

    S JONES CREDIT TO YOU MATE, IT WAS LIKE NEIL JENKINS AGAIN EXCEPT WITH BETTER TACKLING!!!

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  • 162. At 08:20am on 28 Jun 2009, Brainztrust wrote:

    The comments by some are completely sensationalist and tabloid . The match is 80 minutes long not 30 seconds . By the 79 th minute the match should have been killed off but due to the nature of the South Africans they came backed and took their chances . The British mindset seems to be look for a scapegoat in this case its too easy to blame Rog a dubious penalty and you re all baying for blood .

    There were a few turning points - Burger should have got a red the linesman bottled it .
    Time and time again throughout the match we kicked down Steyns throat which he returned with interest .
    Defeat hurts and will seem like the one that got away but at least selection was right this time .

    So take it and stop looking for the easy target .

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  • 163. At 09:19am on 28 Jun 2009, cleverbillsmith wrote:

    The lions should have maintained possesion and and gone on apick up drive to kill time.They handed the victory tiot he Boks .Nonetheless a cracking game

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  • 164. At 09:43am on 28 Jun 2009, orkrugby wrote:

    Kearney was the outstanding Lion today with some fantastic takes under extreme Boks pressure.

    Shaw ran the full gamut today with much positive to his game but unfortunately also negative in terms of giving away needless penalties much like England in the 6 nations. Shaw claimed a lot of lineout ball but the ref was extremely lenient on Rees as most of these were far from straight.

    The Lions poorest player today by some distance was Croft. He had one good lineout take, which will off course be flagged up by SB et al, but other than that all the fears about his lack of physicality were to the fore with missed tackles and forced back on the few occasions when he got the ball.

    Wallace and Heaslip were much improved in the back row today and why Wallace went off rather than Croft was mystifying even if he was slightly injured as he offered much more than Croft and claimed some good lineout aswell.

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  • 165. At 09:59am on 28 Jun 2009, handslikeabuhamza wrote:

    O' Gara was poor, he got barged out the way before the try, then missed a tackle, then gave away a penalty, before that he was shouting his mouth off after the Kings game, should not have been a bench and shows he's being in n armchair playing for Ireland.

    The only worry with Burger(hopefully) banned for 3-6 months they'll bring in Roussow who's a much better player and thorn in the side of the Lions for 3 games.

    The tackling yesterday was very borderline on both sides, the ref did very well, he's French so gouging is just a standard part of the Top 14 game

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  • 166. At 10:33am on 28 Jun 2009, Wileszie wrote:

    Got to say I was really pleased that the Boks won!!!!!!!! To me this has been a very uninspiring tour where the rugby has been poor (apart from a small spell yesterday)!! The only players to show they are World Class during the last 5 weeks are Shaw, Croft and Kearney. The rest have been mediocre and only played well in parts. All this nonesense about Roberts been outstanding!! I dont understand it!!! He will be another Henson who will fade into the background in 6 months! BOD has been a magnificant servant to Irish rugby but I think he has lost some pace and ability. Paul OConnell was an OK skipper but, I dont think he inspired the troops to much. As for the coaching staff, well being 90% Welsh the Lions were always going to try and play that way. Dont think it always worked and they didnt have a plan B!!!!!! ROLE ON THE 6 NATIONS!!!!!!

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  • 167. At 10:46am on 28 Jun 2009, BennyBlanco wrote:

    Brainztrust,
    I hope you don't mean "dubious" because you think it shouldn't have necessarily been given. It was quite clearly a penalty, and any player should know that if you don't make it look like you're going for the ball you risk the wrath of the referee. Yes, the match is 80 minutes long, not 30 seconds. That is why it is all the more devastating to have all of the blood, guts, sheer determination and desperation of the preceding 79 and a half minutes completely undone by a moment of idiocy at the worst possible time. Yes the Boks came back, but so did the Lions and that was despite Berger still being on the pitch, the referee dodgy for both sides, a correct TMO call, multiple injuries, a replacement back line that is quite possibly the weakest ever to line up in a Lions Test, and O'Gara's pathetic attempt at a tackle. Despite the Boks hitting their straps they hadn't won the game had they? It was a draw still. The Lions were still in it.

    ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS KICK IT OUT. Or deep. Anything but high. And then all he had to do was let Du Preez land. Instead, his silly challenge gifted a chance to a kicker who kicks at Loftus every day of his life, and means the game goes from a draw and series still alive to a loss, and series gone.

    So if you think it is tabloid and sensationalist to say O'Gara cost the match, then call me Piers Morgan, because he did. The Lions did enough after 79 and a half minutes to be holding the Boks level. It was a heroic effort, and undone by something a player with O'Gara's experience should never have done.
    And selection wasn't right, clearly. When you have players like Hook in the squad who is able to cover 10, 12, and 15, and goal kick, then surely it made more sense to have him on the bench rather than O'Gara who can cover 10 and goal kick, and is worthily nicknamed "turnstile"? I am angry because the winning kick that settled the scoreboard was gifted to the Boks.
    ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS KICK IT OUT!

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  • 168. At 10:56am on 28 Jun 2009, Betsenbell wrote:

    Credit where credit is due.

    Thats why the boks are world champions what a kick by MS to clinch the series.

    I was absoloutley gutted when we lost the match, you cant fault anybody for effort whatsoever.

    Great rugby just a shame we were on the losing side

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  • 169. At 11:22am on 28 Jun 2009, BertisBigBanana wrote:

    i wasnt too fussed about OGara giving away the penalty as it could have been anyone

    BUT WHY ON EARTH DID HE SEND UP A GARRY OWEN, AND NOT JUST A HUGE PUNT DOWN THE FIELD?!?!?!

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  • 170. At 11:28am on 28 Jun 2009, morganoc wrote:

    I would love to sit here and type 'well done the Boks' and actually mean it. Unfortunately the actions of Burger and the comments of Peter De Villiers make it impossible to do so.

    Shaw was a man mountain. The Jones' (A and S) were heroic and Kearney was simply outstanding. In fact all of the starting 15 can hold their heads high.

    I don't want to bang on about it too much (it is a team game after all) but ROG cost us today. The final penalty is one thing but the incident I'm really disappointed about is the try. You have to make that tackle not just offer yourself up like a doormat. Awful.

    Anyway, two great tests - hopefully the boys can avoid a whitewash and M Williams will be given his first lions test start.

    I'm already looking forward to Oz.

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  • 171. At 11:58am on 28 Jun 2009, headgas wrote:

    Well done the lions i was really gutted today i thought they had really done enough to win.

    Is it just me or was there last try ( a try) i swear his foot hit the line and i saw a puff of chalk dust.

    Well done Adam jones tamed the beast,well done simon shaw fantastic first test, Rob kearney i take my hat off you,

    Burger should of been sent off full stop.

    Well done to the BOKS for winning but wow you know you were in a game. just a shame for everyone i think that it wasnt set up for a third test thriller.

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  • 172. At 12:00pm on 28 Jun 2009, PsychoJim wrote:

    Even a 5 is surely too generous on O'Gara who was dropped like a bad habit by Fourie on his way to scoring the try, and ultimately cost us the game with his decision to launch an up-and-under instead of kicking to touch and then clumsily clattering into Du Preez. Reminded me of when Gareth Cooper single-handedly cost a supposed Wales "B-team" a famous win in Australia. One may argue that singling out one player for the loss of a test match is unfair scapegoating, but when it's deserved, it's deserved.

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  • 173. At 12:11pm on 28 Jun 2009, dcplaymaker wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 174. At 12:23pm on 28 Jun 2009, sh-ra1982 wrote:

    5 is far too generous for O'Gara. He missed an easy and vital tackle that let SA in for a try, then he gave away a stupid penalty which cost the lions the match and the tour.

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  • 175. At 12:37pm on 28 Jun 2009, mhillmob wrote:

    Given that the Boks have won the World Cup and a Lions Series with perhaps the worst International Coach in the world, just imagine how good they could be with someone like Geech! A heroic effort from the Lions, disgraceful behaviour from Burger and PdV (comments), a match that will echo deep into Lions folklore

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  • 176. At 12:59pm on 28 Jun 2009, Pianoshifter wrote:

    I would like to offer some thoughts on the Burger incident. I said early on (see 2) that he was a disgrace, and I stand by that - definite red card. I felt BOD's tackle was not a premeditated charge, but looked a bit wild and clumsy, a POSSIBLE yellow card. I was shocked by Sheridan's punch/jab - a definite yellow and possible red. Botha - I didn't see the incident itself and would like to see what the citing panel conclude, but if it is a deliberate attempt to seriously injure (quite possible with his track record) then it should also have been a definite red.

    Unless you are in the game (and even then) it is impossible to know exactly what goes on, so we can only judge on what is seen - clearly both sides crossed the line of acceptable behaviour at times. But some infringements are in a category of their own, and Burger, Botha and Sheridan were at that end of the spectrum.

    This doesn't mean that the Boks aren't an impressive team - clearly they are capable of playing extremely well (their tries have been clinical and superbly executed), nor that the Lions are victims of unfair play/bad refereeing (they got selections wrong and didn't have the depth of talent they needed).

    De Villiers' comments are also a disgrace. If Burger gets banned by the citation then he should make a public apology for defending the indefensible.

    Next week I fear is going to be embarrassing - what kind of team can BIL put out and what kind of motivation will there be? It's over.

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  • 177. At 1:43pm on 28 Jun 2009, fedupwithelvs wrote:

    I only heard the game on the radio ( cannot aford SKY and the BBC have to pay the BBC so the choice is made for me) but from what was said on the radio the ref should have got 0 out of 10. Different view of course if you are south African.

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  • 178. At 2:19pm on 28 Jun 2009, stormerfan wrote:

    I suppose it is only natural to be biased, But judging by many of the comments I have read, I think I must have been watching a different game. I agree totally with Schalk Burger being sent off and hope he receives a lengthy ban. There is no place for that in the game, but then again neither is there any place for punching players in the groin, so why wasn't Sheridan sent off and cited. Having seen a replay of the Botha incident, I do not believe his action, going hard into the loose maul, was any different to what both sets of forwards had been doing for the whole game.
    I think the ref was appalling with both sides getting some very dubious decisions given against them. I don't believe the uncontested scrums favoured the Boks at all as the Lions had already started to fade in the last ten minutes of the first half.The uncontested scrums helped them stay in the game.
    Pierre Spies had an amazing game and would have been my man of the match. Brussow should never have been left on the bench and should have come on to replace Burger after the sin bin time had elapsed. Marius Steyn should have been in the starting line up as well as Jaque Fourie.

    Much has been made of the final penalty winning the game, but everyone seems to conveniently forget that Habana had gathered the loose ball and was headed for the try line when the ref prematurely blew his whistle. Burger's stupidity set the boks back and they had to fight back from a ten point deficit to win the game. That takes guts. Well done

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  • 179. At 2:43pm on 28 Jun 2009, JifferJohn wrote:

    Your ratings are pretty spot on Simon but your score of 8 for BOD and 5 for ROG are generous. I'd have given BOD a 7 at best as he passed to the turf on 3 occasions and was not at the same level as last week or the rest of the tour. Didn't see anything from him that deserved a score of 8. And how ROG deserves a 5 I'll never know. Was that just a sympathetic and sensitive score. He didn't do anything in his time on the pitch to even register a score.

    I also think there is a case to score Simon Shaw a 10 - unbelievable performance (and to think I disagreed with his selection!).

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  • 180. At 3:14pm on 28 Jun 2009, GrocerJac wrote:

    Absolutely gutted, as are most people on this site. Agree that Burger's eye gouging was disgraceful. Even if he gets a ban, it's too late to make a difference now. The ref bottled it.

    Lions tired out, was a turning point when both props went off - we were definitely putting them on the back foot with our scrummaging, which is always a lift for the team, as seen on that 5m scrum when we stuffed them.

    Stormerfan - this is the reason Spies had such a good game. Uncontested scrums, he was allowed easy ball with no pressure coming from the scrum and it gave him a nice platform to run off the back of the scrum. Simon Shaw deservedly man of the match, although from the Lions point of view, Kearney and Stephen Jones were fantastic too.

    Real shame with the result as next week would have been great as a decider, or even to draw the series.

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  • 181. At 3:37pm on 28 Jun 2009, runnerruckerrob wrote:

    The Lions defending off first phase ball was atrocious, its what ultimately lead to the first two tries.

    O'Gara, can be blamed entirely for 10 of the Boks points, it was a very very simple tackle to make, even a scrag tackle would have stopped the try, he showed right there, why he should not have gone on tour, he cannot cut it in a tight match.

    However, the Lions played fantastic attacking football when the ball got out to the backs, incredible to watch, the forwards also improved greatly over last week. Its a match the Lions would have won, if anyone but ROG had been there to make that tackle.

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  • 182. At 3:46pm on 28 Jun 2009, thewhitesrpants wrote:

    Gutted yesterday, i think we deserved at least a draw from the game, but lets not get the english media way of thinking and blaming one player all the time (O'Gara) when things don't go our way, we started to lose the physical game when the props went off and when BOD went off the points were going to be hard to get.

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  • 183. At 3:47pm on 28 Jun 2009, thewhitesrpants wrote:

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  • 184. At 4:04pm on 28 Jun 2009, Vincento1972 wrote:

    O'Gara's real rating should be 0.83. He was on the field for approximately 12 minutes, during which time he was culpable for the Boks scoring 10 points - easy maths 10/12...

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  • 185. At 4:54pm on 28 Jun 2009, Simon Austin wrote:

    Hello all. Many thanks for your comments - good stuff as usual.

    There seem to be a few common threads:

    * Ronan O'Gara - on reflection I probably was a bit generous there. He had a pretty disastrous cameo in the short time he was on - a missed tackle for the try and then conceding the penalty

    * Simon Shaw - quite a few people have said I was over-generous in giving him a 9. I did think he was immense, for the reasons given, but he did give away four penalties, it's true.

    * Brian O'Driscoll - I did think he had a great game - clever and creative and the fulcrum of most of our best moves. Having seen a replay of his tackle on Roussow, though, it was illegal and perhaps a bit foolhardy. And he did throw a few sloppy passes. Still a very good performance though, IMO

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  • 186. At 6:19pm on 28 Jun 2009, caymankai wrote:

    Can the ref be cited for being so bad !!

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  • 187. At 7:52pm on 28 Jun 2009, Will wrote:

    how can people say he was over-rated, he is the reason teams like ireland and wales don't win the world cup. Shaw made crucial decisions in crucial places.

    Even wen BOD plays badly he still gets a 7 or an 8. Because he is just that good.

    As much as i feel for o'gara he basicly lost us the test match and series. All that vickery abuse, well all those ireland fans who bashed him, now need 2 to take alot of the blame.

    But on a positive note, we went down fighting.

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  • 188. At 7:53pm on 28 Jun 2009, Will wrote:

    i was talking about shaw in the first sentence btw

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  • 189. At 8:37pm on 28 Jun 2009, famoussalfordlad wrote:

    Rog got out of bed on sat morning and sat on a bench; with ten minutes to go he was told to go on as a winger????? and for the last 24 hours sad people have been talking about him as if he were a pedophile.
    He cant tackle, is that front page news to anybody, but even people who can tackle sometimes get it wrong.
    Hes had a fantastic season and hes a young man who backed himself to reclame an up and under (Which he nearly did) All you people who think he should have settled for a draw after that Lions performance (The effort and pain.... immence)Should look at yourselves in the mirror, WE DONT PLAY FOR DRAWS.
    Im not a ROG fan I dont think he (or Hook) should be in SA and i've no idea why he was asked to come on and defend an 8 point lead as a winger
    (ellis is faster and can tackle) but the people who run these things did and do he went on and put him self in the way and bled;;; thats all you can ask a man to do.

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  • 190. At 9:30pm on 28 Jun 2009, powerRugbyG wrote:

    There are some serious idiots on this forum. ROG lost us the match blah blah blah. The guy was injured. Any other situation he would have been taken off, we just had run out of replacements. IF you cant see that you dont know what you are talking about.

    And look again at the 'penalty' he gave away, eyes focussed on the ball, nothing wrong with it.

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  • 191. At 9:46pm on 28 Jun 2009, timjed wrote:

    Why is everyone so picky? Jones stuffed the Beast - at the first scrum his (Beast's) inside arm came off ie Jones was under him - the "good shove" was a consequence I suspect. After that for a while the SA scrum was not an issue. Line-outs - Matfield remains supreme about his business

    The SA backs played better - two fantastic cut-throughs for JP and Habana.

    Shaw was total - best player on the field on that day - four penalties; how many scores? Overall the referee was even handed but seriously weak in conviction.

    I am bitterly disappointed at losing but surely we must be realistic - we lost a game that we could have won.

    Botha and Burger will be dealt with elsewhere but should they really be alone?

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  • 192. At 10:42pm on 28 Jun 2009, I_am_better_than_u wrote:

    Famoussalfordlad - O'gara came on and played #10 not winger- Stephen Jones switched to the centres with Tommy Bowe

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  • 193. At 11:12pm on 28 Jun 2009, Reaper_of_Souls wrote:

    8 is probably about right for Jones, fantastic goal kicking, especially under pressure, but missing touch with the earlier penalty that lead to the O'Gara / video ref inspired try was a bad and very damaging mistake; but the rest of his performance as excellent.

    However, giving O'Gara anything above a 3 is ridiculously generous - a couple of horrendous errors which cost the Lions the game, and no positive contribution I can recall, giving him 1 less than the other replacements is ridiculous.

    Still, the Lions failure to add more points when they were so on top in the first half and only crossing once and that when SA were a man down was probably decisive. Then they seemed a lot more negative in the 2nd half, maybe worried about running out of steam?

    However, SA showed great fighting qualities, the Habana try exploited indiscipline in the line and the controversial try in the corner was well finished, even if badly defended.

    Replacements provided the major turning points, Steyn for Pienaar resulted in a massive improvement for SA; and injuries exposing the lack of depth in the Lions squad epitomised by the O'Gara debacle.

    As in most sports, if you don't score what you should when you're on top and then make defensive errors you tend to get caught out.
    Its a pity the Lions were probably the better side, but the SA defence and ability to capitalise on the opportunities they got has to be applauded and is the epitome of a professional job, if not a partilarly good performance

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  • 194. At 11:13pm on 28 Jun 2009, brazilrugger wrote:

    i am neither ainglish or southafrican and would like to think i am neutral. I am pleased botha and berger wil be banned for their relative periods but i would like to know why sheridan was not cited for hitting a man in the groin, doesnt it seem one-sdided to you?
    rugby mad brazilian

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  • 195. At 11:14pm on 28 Jun 2009, dave-53 wrote:

    I can't believe all this abuse that Ronan O'Gara is getting. He deserves some criticism for his missed tackle and poor decision to kick, but people are forgetting that he took a few big blows to the head and if there were any replacements to come on they would have.

    Nevertheless his disastrous cameo did ultimately cost the Lions the series, so I can understand these comments. What I can't understand is people questioning his character as a person and a rugby player. Have these people been asleep for the last ten years? Have they missed his extraordinary displays countless times for Munster and Ireland? Munster and Ireland would have won nothing in the last few years without him, nerveless pressure kicking on endless occasions. In Welford Road in 2007, after a week of battering from the English Press after ROG questioned the Guiness Premiership and the English Rugby Press' idea that it was the best league in Europe, ROG stepped up to nail a kick to win the match from 55 metres, into the wind and rain, after 79 minutes of intense rugby. Afterwards he gave the most admirable interview I have ever seen by a rugby player. You can watch it on utube. The guy's got sheer guts. This is without even mentioning his performances in two Heineken Cup finals, and a cross kick to set up Tommy Bowe for a try in the grand slam match against Wales, not forgetting his drop goal to win it.

    So I can understand peoples grievances about this particualr match, and maybe there was a case to have James Hook on the bench instead to cover more positions, but people questioning the man's character or commitment is unacceptable and some of the comments I have seen on this site have been truly disgraceful, from people who clearly have know idea what they are talking about.

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  • 196. At 03:52am on 29 Jun 2009, BennyBlanco wrote:

    PowerRugbyG,

    O'Gara was injured by his own poor tackle technique resulting in him being smashed out the way by Fourie.

    If being injured meant it clouded his judgement so much that he was unable to a) kick the ball deep or b) jump in the air for the ball, then he can be absolved of blame. But I doubt that very much. Everyone knows that if you don't get off the ground you can't make a claim to be going for the ball. It doesn't matter what his intention was, or where his eyes were, if you clatter into a player when he is in the air and you are on the ground, the ref is only going to see it one way. It was a clear penalty. All he had to do was jump. Or kick it deep. If the smack on the head from his own poor tackling technique meant he forgot this, then I apologise to him.

    There is no escaping the fact that the Lions weren't losing till he did this. So the fact he did this and conceded three points from it, in injury time meant he lost the game.

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  • 197. At 04:11am on 29 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:


    Before I can get into the ratings I have to say a word about Ronan O'Gara.
    I don't think he was great. But I don't think he cost us the game or the series. I can't agree that he cost us 10 points. And he hasn't stopped being one of the best out-halves in the world.

    Last things first, the penalty. Now, all the people who complain on here that ROG is boring and only ever kicks to the corners are up in arms that in the last minute of a Test match he was trying to play, to get the win to level the series.
    Despite only being able to see from one eye, with blood pouring down his face, he hoisted an up-and-under and chased it. Let us admire his courage.
    He also judged the kick well, as he was right under it as it was coming down. So, he was under the dropping ball, eyes on the ball, when du Preez jumped over him and caught it. Where's the penalty? No, really. Full-backs come and collect high balls all the time, and if they fall over a player they jumped on, they don't get a penalty. Did O'Gara step away from the ball to 'take out' du Preez? No. So, it wasn't a penalty.

    When Rog came on we were already a defensive disaster, and Spiess proceeded to step on his head straight away. (I note that some posters are gracelessly calling that a missed tackle. I would call it a broken tackle. Missing hurts a lot less.) So he was pretty shook when Fourie ploughed through first him, then Phillips and Bowe, to score. Again, blaming that try 100% on ROG is harsh, he went high to stop the off-load and put his man in touch, and got bounced. The other 2 did no better.

    It's fair to say that ROG got blasted through in the tackle twice. At least he tried, at least he got to his man twice. He doesn't tackle any better for Ireland or Munster, and they seem to manage to win just fine with him at 10, so let's not start pretending that it makes him a bad fly-half, OK?

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  • 198. At 04:36am on 29 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:


    So, deep breath, I think the Lions have deservedly lost the series.

    Not to a great South African team, but because they have not played brilliantly, and most certainly they have not been coached brilliantly.

    Decisions about squad selection, team selection and bench strategy have been puzzling if not outright poor.

    South Africa were poor last week. They were muscular, but uninventive. The Lions should have had them on toast. This week they were better. All 3 tries were excellent. But Fourie should have started ahead of Jacobs, and Broussou ahead of Burger. Still, but for injuries and poor bench tactics, we could have beaten them again.

    Whatever your opinion of Phil Vickery, last week he was getting killed, and should have been off before half-time. He could always have come back if there was a need, as can any front-row. Bad coaching.

    This week, Ellis, ROG and Williams to cover the backs? Better pray no-one gets injured! I can kind of understand Williams. A last throw of the dice, type thing. But then why Ellis, as Williams covers scrum-half?
    As we lost both BOD and Roberts more or less simultaneously, it wouldn't have been perfect, but could we not have D'Arcy, who covers center/wing and fullback? Or Flutey? Or Earls?

    Substitutions themselves were poor. AW Jones for Adam Jones? We could have thrown on Ross Ford and kept scrumming. (OK, we could have tried.)
    Shane Williams on for O'Driscoll, with either Bowe or Fitzgerald moving to center I expected, but ROG for Roberts? With Bowe already off? Moving David Wallace to center or wing and bringing Martyn Williams on was surely better? Wallace has played wing and center before, and I assure you he's a lot better there than ROG or Stephen Jones.

    If Wallace too was injured then I absolve the coaches of that last error, but I don't think he was. From all I hear the atmosphere on tour has been great, so good management. But bad coaching.

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  • 199. At 05:00am on 29 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    My ratings. * indicates I agree with Simon. Where I differ, I explain.

    Rob Kearney - 9 *

    Tommy Bowe - 7 Good running threat when Lions were still playing.

    Brian O'Driscoll - 8 *

    Jamie Roberts - 7 Ran hard, tackled hard.

    Luke Fitzgerald - 7 *

    Stephen Jones - 7 While place-kicking was improved on last week, didn't keep control of the game.

    Mike Phillips - 7 *

    Jamie Heaslip - 7 *

    David Wallace: - 7 *

    Tom Croft - 6 Was a bit of a passenger I'm afraid, though a valued one for line-outs.

    Paul O'Connell - 8 Again held his own against the best line-out in the world, and turned over ball in the rucks.

    Simon Shaw - 8 I must eat my words. I didn't think Shaw was up to it, especially not for 80 minutes, and he exceeded all my expectations. Did give away a few penalties, but was admirably abrasive from the start, and was very solid at the set-piece.

    Adam Jones - 8 *

    Matthew Rees - 7 Did have a dodgy couple of throws, but worthy of the jersey and can take pride in his performance.

    Gethin Jenkins - 7 *

    Replacements:

    Andrew Sheridan - 7 Loved his aggression.

    Alun Wyn Jones - 5 Anonymous.

    Shane Williams - 6 *

    Martyn Williams - 5 Anonymous.

    Ronan O'Gara - 4 Didn't really get to do what he's good at, and had to do too much of what he's bad at.

    Looking back over, I find it hard to believe I'm rating a losing side so highly, as I don't think the Bokke were great. Though it was a very close game. Those 3 tries were all excellent though, and the Bokke replacements were better by far. So I suppose the Lions did have the better starting XV.

    Hope we smash them in the 3rd Test!

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  • 200. At 07:14am on 29 Jun 2009, BennyBlanco wrote:

    Ruck_Maker,
    A bit odd that you first defend O'Gara, then describe several different ways that the replacements could have been better managed to keep him off the pitch entirely!

    While I accept that O'Gara may have been positioned to catch the ball, and may have even been looking at it, any rugby player of any nous knows that a referee will interpret it as taking the man out if you don't get off the floor. The stupid thing he did was to forget that and stand his ground, which always looks bad and always goes in favour of the player in the air. If he had jumped slightly with his arm in the air it would have been fine. But he didn't, so the referee is always going to see it as a penalty.

    I completely agree that the bench selection was all wrong, and said so last week. Ross Ford obviously can't scrummage as a prop or that option would have been taken (not all hookers can like Smit). Hook was an obvious choice; he covers 10, 12, 15 and probably 13. And goal kicks. The 3rd back replacement could have been anyone. But Bowe didn't go off, the back line finished as Phillips, O'Gara, Jones in the centres with Bowe, and Williams, Fitzgerald and Kearney as the back three. Despite this mess of a back line (the weakest ever to play in a Lions test?) they were STILL level. Amazing! Until O'Gara left the referee no choice...

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  • 201. At 07:54am on 29 Jun 2009, Karkbiy wrote:

    Woah! What's with all the ROG bashing! It's fairly typical that we find a scapegoat everytime...

    O Gara has been poor on this tour - he'd be the first to admit it. Had Hook not been injured, there was a strong possibility ROG wouldnt have been in the 22. But he's still one of the best place kickers in the world, not to mention positional kickers. He's been key to Ireland's success in recent years. Fair enough he made a few crucial errors on Saturday, but get over it. We lost. The narrow minded stupidity of some people's comments never ceases to amaze me...

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  • 202. At 08:07am on 29 Jun 2009, fabuniquemembername wrote:

    On what grounds did Ronan O'Gara earn five points? Because of his clean shorts and combed hair?

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  • 203. At 09:15am on 29 Jun 2009, Ulster_Fryer wrote:

    Although hugely disappointed (after watching one of the great recent games of rugby), I have loved every minute of this tour, where we competed in every game. A vast change to the embarassment in New Zealand 4 years ago.
    If we had lost like we did to NZ previously, then there'd be no 'what ifs', but with such a ferocious contest, such bad luck with injuries (I can't remember a game of rugby where both centres had to go off at the same time, let alone both props) will be rued for a while.
    Shaw was immense, the back 3 did very little wrong all game, the backrow were finally coming togethor as a unit and POC played the sort of game we know he can play.
    I can take a bit of the myopic nationalistic bias/banter on here, but the calls from people for the ending of the Lions tour have infuriated me (as well as the complete idiots calling for the cancellation of the final test match - Have you followed rugby long?). This test was an amazing spectacle that brought rugby fans togethor and gave amazing entertainment. If you really believe Lions tours should be stopped, IMHO, you're following the wrong sport. Go back to xenophobic football if blind nationalism is your thing, but don't try and taint an amazing sporting spectacle that is the Lions tours.
    Well done Boks - you helped make a memorable summer of rugby. Long live the Lions!


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  • 204. At 09:47am on 29 Jun 2009, rockmaster1 wrote:

    Typical British refusal to point the finger and talk the truth.

    ROG-

    1) Missed crucial takcle for the SA score in the corner.
    2) Didn't clear his lines with 2 mins on the clock.
    3) Gave away a stupid penalty in a kickable position.

    It doesn't matter if it was an inocuous decision, he never should have been in that position in the first place.


    He should not have been anywhere near the field, especially with the rich vein of form Hook is in.

    Deadful player.

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  • 205. At 10:55am on 29 Jun 2009, pnelnik wrote:

    For Fourie to score his try, he needed to get round Shane Williams. It was embarrassingly easy. Shane just bounced off Fourie and end up on the ground. Fourie kept going. Two other Lions then tried to keep him out.

    Shane looked and acted like a boy amongst men.

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  • 206. At 10:57am on 29 Jun 2009, Dei1984 wrote:

    Ruckmaker

    Your lack of Rugby Knowledge again makes me wet my self :)

    First of all, all ROG had to do was Jump even if he werent even close to chalenging for the high ball and ref would have let it go, but to run straight in to a man mid air is 100% 10/10 a pen plain and simple, if it was the other way and du preez went in to a mid air ROG we would all agree it was a pen

    Second, like some one else has stated you have to be a recognised scrumager, Ford is not he's a out and out hooker, Smit has moved to play prop and can also play hooker, if you havent got 2 Recognised props on the feild you cant scrumage!

    I do agree with you on the bench tho, i remember Phillips played at centre against The golden lions for the last 10 or 20, so why not bring Ellis on at scrum half and Phillips at centre? surley that would have been better than ROG on the feild, as i said last week ROG takles like wet blanket and he proved me correct,why not bring Martyn Williams on for the injured Adam Jones, as there was no need for the weight in the scrum Williams could have linkd the backs and forwards as he does so well and we could have kept the pace of the match up?

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  • 207. At 11:04am on 29 Jun 2009, toady71 wrote:

    The main disgrace for me is the SA coaches view that " this is part of the game" when asked about the Berger incident. Speaking as the representative of SA rugby to a world audience this attitude is a disgrace to the sport and to SA (forget the alliances for a second). The whole point of the Lions is to showcase the sport of Rugby Union to the world and remember the origins and values of the sport.
    Unfortunately individual players do stupid things on the pitch (on both sides) but that's why we have referees and officials in the stands to stamp on it when it happens, when the 80 mins is over we should accept the result and move on.
    The coach however must lay down a marker as an official voice and a mentor- if anyone disgraced SA rugby it wasn't Berger or Botha but De Viliers.

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  • 208. At 11:23am on 29 Jun 2009, steppin8 wrote:

    haha...so many people have been sticking up for O'Gara on these boards for the last month, someone even claimed he was a 'great tackler' at one point....the truth is he should be a 'special teams' kicker in American football, come on and slot the kicks and leave the physical stuff to the big guys...

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  • 209. At 11:57am on 29 Jun 2009, churchofpunk wrote:

    These are perhaps the most comically poor ratings I've ever seen anyone give.

    How exactly does O'Gara get 5/10? An average performance? I'd hate to see the guy on an off day if you think that's middle of the road. Shane Williams better than average? Luke Fitzgerald a 7 despite his inability to tackle costing the Lions at least 7 points? Matthew Rees barely put a foot wrong at the line out when he missed three and a couple not straight...

    One really has to ask about the quality of journalist our license fees are paying for when drivel like this is published.

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  • 210. At 12:21pm on 29 Jun 2009, AlistairNWNewman wrote:

    The Second Test.
    As "Geech" said the history books now show a 2-0 winning series win for SAF.
    All Lion supporters and virtually all neutrals would have wanted the series balanced, making the Third Test a huge game.
    I am very disappointed by Peter de Villiers defending Burger. 8 weeks for gouging (Parisi had the same ban v NZ) is too weak for such a "foul" act.
    The Lions will continue, in 2013 Austrailia will greet them with open arms and NZ will no doubt wish to prove their world superiority in 2017 once more. These unions and the Argentinians rely heavily on TV money and commercial rights to fund their own home based game.
    The Lions were unfortunate in the First test, Monye, twice, and Phillips might well have added to the Lion`s three tries. Byrne`s run was also penalised, disallowing a possible try for Bowe. SAF scored more points and were 1-0 up.
    THE SECOND TEST should have been decided after about 00.30 mins. The Burger gouging incident should have led to a RED card. As it was The Lions led 0-10 at 10.30 mins but this did not sadly prove to be enough. Sadly Adam Jones was also victim to foul play.
    THE THIRD TEST should have been a huge event.

    CONCLUSION. Well done SAF but The Lions were deprived of true justice.
    Alistair, Rhandirmwyn.

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  • 211. At 12:58pm on 29 Jun 2009, Anchorian wrote:

    Simon Shaw was magnificent, he was an example to all what pride can do for 35 year old legs. The commitment of the whole team and the huge travelling support shows that the Lions should continue to exist for future generations to watch a game not dicated by money.

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  • 212. At 1:04pm on 29 Jun 2009, rosslynrock wrote:

    Good day all. Some good posts and as usual some blinkered posts.

    Truth is the Lions have been better for 80 minutes of the first two games and the Saffas better for 80 minutes. The shame is that the Saffas have been better when it mattered most and hence they've won two very entertaining close matches.

    On the foul play. I would like to see incidents like gouging and biting referred to the TMO. The reason is that this behaviour when seen on TV starts to infiltrate every grade of rugby. If very serious offences are referred and the correct card is given I think it sends the right signal to rugby players of all grades who are watching. By the way I think BOD's challenge was pretty poor - if the boot was on the other foot I'd have been screaming for action and that's how you've got to judge it.

    The real positives were Kearney, Shaw, the front row and Stephen Jones. The back row deserve credit - look at the vastly improved phase play. Sheridan was excellent when he came on as well. Philips cut out the two steps before every pass and was much better.

    A Jones did superbly in the scrum. I also think Jenkins, Rees and Shaw deserve credit. As do our video analysis team and Rowntree. I felt that last week the Beast was able to maul Vickery because they owned the engagement at the scrum and we weren't in a position to give Vickery a chance to deal with the boring. I think that changed this week.

    Some of the negatives. I thought SA did a very good job on Roberts and some credit must go to their coaching and video analysis team for that.

    I made my position clear on ROG before the game - I'll leave it at that.

    Again time and again I've bemoaned the bench selection (whilst conceeding that I'm in the office and not part of the lions coaching squad) but really. Last week I argued for the inclusion of either Hook or Fluety over ROG and Shane as I thought the incidences where we would use either of the latter effectively were pretty unlikely or the desired outcome was pretty unlikely (based on FORM this tour). The loss of not just one centre but both was a huge blow.

    We lost because the scrums went uncontested and that hurt us a lot. We also missed soooo many touch kicks either from our 22 or from penalties. I know they missed three kicks but we gave them a lot of points from missed touch finds. We also lost because of the bench. Why bring on AWJ over Martin Williams when we go to uncontested. The pack have the energy to make the rucks so let's get people on to compete more and cover the park.

    Interestingly if there was no TMO the try wouldn't have been given as the touch judge was imploring the TMO (even after the verdict had been given first time) to look at the foot. That said I agreed with the introdution of the TMO and I agreed with the question being changed to "Any reason why i can't award the try" so looking at the video evidence there wasn't enough evidence to show against the try - hence it's awarded.

    Still looking forward to next week. I hope rugby (and the Lions) come out on top.

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  • 213. At 1:08pm on 29 Jun 2009, Leeboy3000 wrote:

    The ratings given are, on balance about right, except I think you are being kind on "High Tackle" Shaw who faded badly after half time and very, very kind on O Gara who, leaving aside the debacle of thelast play, should have made a better tacke for SA's 3rd try.

    Fitzgerald was too weak in defence (especially positionally) to warrant a 7.

    Agreee on the whole with the rest though query whether O'Driscoll deserves credit for a stupid challenge which ultimately took him out of the game?

    And for all those who came on these boards and 606 and argued that S Jones should be replaced by the "master tactician" O Gara... Where are you now? Jones was awesome and proved to be the right decision long before ROG let us all down...



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  • 214. At 1:32pm on 29 Jun 2009, MunsterKen wrote:

    Glad to see comments from dave_53 and Ruck_Maker on this site. It restores my faith in the intelligence of the blogging public ...

    To say O'Gara's tackle was responsible for the try is laughable, to my mind Fourie was in touch .. can't understand how it was given ... no wait it's Stuart Dickenson ... that explains it.

    As far as the penalty at the end is concerned I'm sure if ROG had a mulligan he'd do it differently. Bangs on the head can do strange things. I agree with other posts here that Wallace or M. Williams should have covered centre.

    Other comments regarding Burger and the referee have missed the point somewhat. Berdos, who I actually think had a very good game, very fair, clearly didn't see the incident. It was the line judge who called his attention. The instruction was '... a yellow card at least ...'. What does that mean? If gouging was seen then the recommendation should have been red. No argument. Can't blame the ref. for poor advice, but again the linesman was the ref. from last week ... so no surprise.

    So Burger gets 8 weeks for a clear gouging and Alan Quinlan got 12 weeks for not gouging (as confirmed by the citing comittee and Leo Cullen). I think the rugby powers that be need to take a long hard look at things.

    It will be interesting to see what they do next week ...

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  • 215. At 2:14pm on 29 Jun 2009, david kidd wrote:

    I think the ratings a pretty well spot-on. I feel a huge sense of frustration that Berger didn't get the deserved red card, but we always get accused of being bad losers if we voice our disquiet at the aspects of the Boks' game which are at best dubious, at worst downright cheating. The Lions must be totally fed up at being on the receiving end of even more dodgy refereeing decisions.

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  • 216. At 2:30pm on 29 Jun 2009, Guy Thompson wrote:

    Lot's of one eyed posts I note; which is what you would expect from an opinion board. No gripe with that per se; although could we please learn how to spell loser as opposed to looser - completely different words! Regarding the match - confirms the words that "sport is war but without the guns". Great confrontational match that was spoiled a bit by Berger, linesman hedged his bets on what was an obvious red, and the Sheriden toe poke in the groin which was also delivered with intent but missed by the ref. The BOD tackle looked to me like the equivalent of a batsmen trying to take on a bouncer only to find it rising on him faster than expected. Not a shoulder charge as the various posters (and Stuart Barnes) seem to indicate, but a tackle he got horribly wrong. Would agree with various others here that BOD was the more natural leader of the BRIL, not O'Connel who I thought had a relatively quiet game. The whole thing went away from them once it went to uncontested scrums and the moment De Villiers woke up, smelt the coffee, and changed his fly half for a man that had laced his boots up right it was going to be tight.
    You have to question McGeechen's decision to send on O'Gara when it was clear that it would be backs to the wall stuff. My granny can defend better than O'Gara - he is not the man to have with you when it is trench warfare on your own lines. Still - the saffa's stuck in there and the line taken by Habana for the try was magic; especially at that pace. You can't argue with 3 tries to 1 and injuries or no injuries the Lions were found a little wanting tactically in the second half. But by comparison to the NZ tour they can come out of this knowing that they gave as good as they got and I am sure the Saffa's were mightily relieved that they managed to nail it in two tests as the 3rd could have been tough to manage the excape trick yet again.

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  • 217. At 2:40pm on 29 Jun 2009, Ruck_Maker wrote:

    Re: 200. BennyBlanco:

    "Ruck_Maker,
    A bit odd that you first defend O'Gara, then describe several different ways that the replacements could have been better managed to keep him off the pitch entirely!"

    ROG is a fantastic out-half, but the only person I would have had him replace is Stephen Jones! Himself and Jones are within a whisker of each other, ROG a slightly better kicker and game controller, Jones a slightly better runner and tackler. While having one of them at full-back would be acceptable, as a 10-12 pairing they are an open door!

    Most of the ignorant comments on here don't understand how much of a team game rugby is, the importance of combinations. Had Tomas O'Leary been the Test scrum-half, ROG would have been the Test out-half. As Phillips was unchallenged, Jones was in by default.

    I gave ROG a 4/10 for the game, as he did poorly. That doesn't make him a poor player, and I think that his injury was the reason for his poorness. Had he had more than 13 minutes on the pitch he could have done more to raise his rating. But I'm not one of the hypocrites on these boards who only see faults selectively.

    That said, I still think you're wrong about the penalty.

    "While I accept that O'Gara may have been positioned to catch the ball, and may have even been looking at it, any rugby player of any nous knows that a referee will interpret it as taking the man out if you don't get off the floor."

    That is a ludicrous statement. Full-backs take high balls over standing opponents ALL THE TIME, and whether they fall or not no penalty is given.

    "The stupid thing he did was to forget that and stand his ground, which always looks bad and always goes in favour of the player in the air. If he had jumped slightly with his arm in the air it would have been fine. But he didn't, so the referee is always going to see it as a penalty."

    I think he did well just to get there, and with that cut on his left eye I don't think he even saw du Preez coming. What you seem to be suggesting is that he should have pretended to jump for the ball, cynically taking out du Preez, but could have 'fooled' the ref.

    Whereas what he did was perfectly legal and the penalty was awarded in error.

    Regarding the bench;

    "I completely agree that the bench selection was all wrong, and said so last week. Ross Ford obviously can't scrummage as a prop or that option would have been taken (not all hookers can like Smit)."

    Going to uncontested scrums so favoured the Boks I'd have tried anything to avoid it. We had Rees, Sheridan and Ross left, that's 3 frontrow players, I don't know any more than you whether Rees or Ford can play prop, but if they can I would have tried it.

    "Hook was an obvious choice; he covers 10, 12, 15 and probably 13. And goal kicks. The 3rd back replacement could have been anyone."

    I don't think Hook is a good enough 10 at this level. Yet!
    Though he would have been a good option at 22.

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  • 218. At 4:48pm on 29 Jun 2009, brazilrugger wrote:

    as usual, the entire UK has adopted the moral higher ground. The Lions built up the test as a physical encounter and initiated the brutality and now cry foul when they lost. You have enhanced your reputation as whingers exponentially.

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  • 219. At 5:00pm on 29 Jun 2009, laughingabehan wrote:

    Thought for the day - Bernie Madoff gets 150 years, Burger gets only 8 weeks. There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere.

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  • 220. At 5:51pm on 29 Jun 2009, Baner_Glyndwr wrote:

    Don't agree with your 6 for Jamie Roberts, Simon. His contribution wasn't as obvious as last week when he found gaps and made half breaks. The Boks targeted him this week, but in order to do so it took 3 tacklers to bring him down every time and he made hard yards while doing so, that creates a 2 man overlap somewhere on that pitch, but the Lions supporting players weren't quick enough to get there and clear the ball out. To me that was a great contribution which wasn't exploited. He also did nothing wrong defensively. Between him and O'Driscoll the Boks had no joy in midfield, until O'Driscoll was concussed for the Habana try.

    In contrast, while I think Luke Fitzgerald had a good game and certainly showed well in attack, he did leave an open door between himself and Tom Croft for the Pietersen try and you gave him a 7.

    I have no wish to get involved in the blame game. I actually feel very sorry for O'Gara, it must have been very difficult to come on late in a game of such intensity and he took a hit early on, but he would hold his hands up himself and say he had a shocker, so why 5 for O'Gara and 6 for Roberts, just doesn't make sense. I would mark Roberts an 8 or the very least a 7.

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  • 221. At 6:18pm on 29 Jun 2009, Baner_Glyndwr wrote:

    205 pelnik

    What game were you watching. I think you'll find if you watch the game more closely next time or indeed if you read just about every other post on here that it was ROG that "bounced" off Fourie as you put it.

    Shane didn't have long on the pitch, as with O'Gara, but Shane did catch Adi Jacobs from behind and bring him down. His only outing in attack he was unfortunately nailed by the superb Broussow, but at least he tried to make something happen. To digress, we were very lucky he wasn't on from the beginning instead of eye gouger Burger.

    Leave Shane alone for crying out loud and indeed O'Gara. If you were a quarter as good, we might be talking about you gaining your first England cap and then slagging you off because you didn't score.

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  • 222. At 10:12pm on 29 Jun 2009, BennyBlanco wrote:

    Ruck_Maker,

    Yes full backs take high balls over standing opponents all the time. But O'Gara wasn't standing was he? He was moving forward, and as a result it looked like he moved into Du Preez. I'm not suggesting he pretended to jump. I suggested he ACTUALLY jumped, for the ball, to try and win it back, to prevent SA winning the ball. Any referee in the world would have interpreted that as taking the man out because it was clumsy and reckless. It was a stone wall penalty.

    And you obviously know little about rugby if you suggest Ford should have at least tried propping? So a hooker, with no experience at prop should just "try it out" for the first time in a Lions test against a massive powerful Boks front five? You obviously don't value his neck very much.

    And there is always an open door wherever O'Gara is playing, he's just been fortunate to have David Wallace to help him keep it closed.

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  • 223. At 01:09am on 30 Jun 2009, realybigdunc wrote:

    it was all shocking tbh, the shud of been a sending off, 4th official haven't we seen him before in 2007 final, how can the same man call that like tht, cueto was in on his try and the boks player was in touch on his, that tell me hes still anoyed that we knoked them out in the semi-final in 07 and his a shocking 4th official.

    o'gara made a mistake, its not his fault did you see anyone else helping. but the thing is when he plays another extreamly important game like tht and does right, for example he scores a drop goal, or a try or whatever, everyone will love him agen. so why say stuff like "he shud of never gone on tour" because frankly he is an amazing player and he's great at what he does and did some great thing on that tour but still all ya had to do was jump man and you might of got away and we might of wun!!!!!! i prefer james hook

    gech sed to see you leave wasps this year but u was to indiscive with the selection. you should of found your team and stuck by it, and why was simon left out of the first test he has had a blinder, played well all tour but to not even put him on the bench omg come on! and adam jones. also monye, bowe, ford and o'driscall had a great tour. i think we was copeing with not haveing props ok unitl o'driscall come off, i really do think he should of found his squad sooner, he left it to late!

    simon shaw for player of the tour!

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  • 224. At 5:43pm on 30 Jun 2009, genewilder wrote:

    Ok, so Schalke Burger's actions were disgraceful but can people stop moaning about 1. He should've been sent off and 2. He should be lynched.

    No one really gave a 2 hoots when Alan Quinlan did it, and I certainly don't see people lining up and crying out for him to be banned for years. Same with Parisse, Dylan Hartley and all the other gouging cases in days gone by.

    Lets face it, if we're going to put rules in place that say a ban for an eye gouge can be 8-week, 12-weeks, 16-weeks, whatever then we can only complain about the punishments themselves.... I personally can't work out how the severity of an eye gouge can be justified. You put your fingers in someone's eyes, you know exactly what your doing and the ban should be a long one. Ban them for 6 months.... how can that not be justified in the law book. An eye gouge = 6 month ban

    The Lions played very well for two halves of rugby over two tests, and the Boks strength in depth was ultimately the telling difference....

    There's no point trying to defend O'Gara for his actions. I feel gutted for him, but he missed the tackle and gave away the penalty that cost us 10 pts. Regardless of how good a player people think he is or isn't, he gave away those points plain and simple....

    Read miles up this blog something why Shaw hasn't got hundreds of england caps and why isn't he a legend.... probably somethng to do with Martin Johnson my friend!!

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  • 225. At 00:52am on 01 Jul 2009, weebaldulsterman wrote:

    I think the Lions played extremely well and so did the Boks. It was a ferocious encounter at a fierce pace. The player ratings are hard to argue with but it is easy to attach too much meaning to them and get a bit carried away. Sure Shaw was immense but he did give away penalties which cost us. S Jones place-kicked beautifully but out of hand was less good and missed one penalty line kick. He also lies so deep at set pieces that it makes it much harder for his centres to attack the gain line. He is not aidied by a ponderous pass from the otherwise excellent Phillips. ROG has his faults (a seven minutes to forget) but gets his backline on the front foot better than most and his kicks to his right wing are usually pin-point. Playing him as a centre sub was a mistake Ellis would have been better. Croft was useful in a misfiring lineout but missed too many tackles (where was he for Pietersens try?) in both tests to classify him as top notch. In all, the Lions to a man played their hearts out and we should be as proud of them as this wee bald Ulsterman is but the Boks were deserved winners. If they had kicked more of their penalties they could have been out of sight by 60 min and three tries to one underlines that the best team won.

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  • 226. At 03:03am on 01 Jul 2009, chewboy wrote:

    I am an Ireland and Leinster fan but for the last few weeks Ive been nothing but a British and Irish lions nut. I disregard the majority of the comments on this board as the majority are based on national/club bias. I feel half the problems that this team, who I felt outplayed the world champions over two games, have faced is the very difficult task of trying to unionise the players when the fans and in particular the press always have a slant. As a former player you have to be willing to 'kill and die' (only a metaphor, maybe not in south Africa) for your teammates, I could only see maybe 10 or so players who really bought into the jersey and the history.
    As in all sports it's only the points on the board at the end of the game that count, I have to applaud South Africa. A team of winners that gets out-played but win. You have to respect that.
    I just hope that next Saturday lady luck will be wearing a red jersey

    Btw I completely agree with non-biased justified praise/criticism of players. They are all gifted payed professionals who are carrying the hopes and emotions of millions.

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  • 227. At 4:34pm on 01 Jul 2009, gwilymbach wrote:

    I think people are having alaugh Pianoshifter saying O'garas performance was out of character. have you ever seen him play, he ain;t physical never has been and prone to drifting in and out of the game. he hasn't had a good season either and is a bit one dimensional, suited to Munster, but he hardly makes the back line tick or can offer much in terms of defence or broken play.

    Rob Kearney looked fabulous, hugely talented guy clearly got some GAA handling skills and swagger, more than a replacement for Bryne who hasn't looked right to me.

    In the end though they outscored us 3 tries to 1. Refereeing wasn't great but these guys know you have to play the referee so no complaining from me. Truly think the best side won the series in the end. All credit to the Lions though a scracth team pushing the world champions closeer than they have been for a while.

    Ultimately we suffered from real world class talent at its peak. Only BoD, Tom Croft, Gethin performed consistently in my view, too many others didn't, that is what makes the difference in the end. e.g. Jones missing two kick in 1st test, Moyne not being able to cary the ball on the right side for scoring a try, RoG being flakey.

    Looking ahead, tri nations will be interesting as NZ look very weak, reckon that are going to suffer a few loses. At the moment there are no real standout teams in world rugby and I wouldn't stay SA are the full ticket but they are as close as anybody. The probably Aus then NZ.

    Northern Hemi I reckon it's Ireland/France then Wales...England look very disjointed and generally lacking quality around the park. MJ has his work cut out for him if you ask me.

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  • 228. At 5:28pm on 01 Jul 2009, flying_corgi wrote:

    So effectively the above players are rated on a scale of 5-10; how else could one explain O'Gara getting a 5??? He missed the tackle on Fourie, who went on to score, and gave away the penalty that sealed the match for the Springboks. 10 points right there! Also Pommie scribes, please stop whinging. The match was hard and yes, what Schalk Burger did was deplorable, but it was a great game of rugby won by a team that knows how to handle pressure. Give SA credit where credit is due. As for the SA coach, get rid of the stooge. We won this series in spite of him...

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  • 229. At 11:47am on 02 Jul 2009, marineNick wrote:

    Ogara shudnt get a rating at all, what good did he do?

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  • 230. At 10:26pm on 02 Jul 2009, bigmrt1 wrote:

    As a South African living in the UK and being able to go to ~South Africa for the second test....... The intensity of a game like this have last felt in 1995 in June.... Rugby World Cup...... And may i say i think South Africa was lucky on the day but its the scoreboard that counts. We done to the Boks and looking forward to this weekend from my home here in Kent. The LIONS ..... what a team...... I must say this team have the respect off all South African, couple of call did not go your way but its neutral refs..... bad luck ... but this team proudly represented the LIONS shit and is ambassadors for their respective countries. My this tradition live for years to come and South Africa will see another Lions team in SA in 12 years. Some of these guys will again be there.... We done to the Lions for a wonderful tour and may you have a good game (not to go) on Saturday!!!!!

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