Two senior Springboks scoffed at suggestions that South Africa were lucky to win the second Test against the British & Irish Lions to clinch an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Craig Ray reports for The Times:
The Boks scored a breathtaking 28-25 win at Loftus on Saturday thanks to a last-minute penalty by replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn. It followed a 26-21 win in Durban.
“I don’t believe we were lucky to win at all,” said wing Bryan Habana in response to a question from an English writer. “I’ll definitely give the Lions credit — they played exceptionally well and forced us into errors.
“But we’re not No2 in the world for nothing, and we didn’t go to the UK last year and win all three games by chance. We prepared hard for this series for two years and won it. We weren’t lucky.”
Replacement centre Jaque Fourie was angry at the suggestion. “We won the series, why do you call it lucky? There was no luck involved,” Fourie said. “We practised hard and we’re now 2-0 up, nothing to do with luck.”
Lions coach Ian McGeechan didn’t say the Boks were lucky but did suggest they had had the better of key decisions in the first two Tests, which played a part.
“We haven’t had the rub of the green in decisions this week or last week,” he said after the game.
“In the end the result won’t change and you just have to accept it. How heavily it weighs on you is up to the individuals. We put in two great performances and could have been 2-0 up or 1-1 in the series. But as it is we’re 2-0 down and have to live with that.”
Habana and Fourie scored two of the Boks’ three tries and turned the match on its head in the second half after the team trailed 19-8 after 61 minutes.
Habana cut through a hole in the Lions defence from a scrum in the 63rd minute and Fourie touched down in the 74th minute to give SA the lead for the first time.
“It was a move we’ve been working on for a while now,” Habana said. “Jaque Fourie ran a great line and pulled [Lions centre] Jamie Roberts in, which made it easier for me. I can’t take credit for making the try but I had to finish.
“That started the revival. We were under pressure and it might have provided the spark we needed to get back into the game.”Tweet