How B&I Lions beat the Boks at their own game
South African coach Jacques Nienaber said the second-half mistakes his team made is “fixable” and they can still salvage the three-match Test series against the British and Irish Lions.
The B&I Lions came back from trailing 3-12 at half-time to win going away – replacement Owen Farrell kicking a late penalty in a 22-17 victory in the first Test in Cape Town at the weekend.
The tourists employed the aerial game – which worked to good effect for their hosts in the first half – to good effect after the break and dominated to go one up in the series.
The two teams go head-to-head against on the next two Saturdays – July 31 and August 7.
Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi admitted his team failed to maintain their intensity after the break.
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“We started well in the first half,” Kolisi said in his post-match analysis.
“We controlled the set pieces and everything.
“In the second half we missed opportunities, we knocked on the ball,” the Bok captain added.
Nienaber echoed similar sentiments, adding that the “aerial battle” they won in the first half was dominated by the visitors after the break.
“The kicking game was won by us in the first half and we got the rewards,” the coach said, adding: “In the second half it was a different story.
“They won that battle and it gave them territory, an advantage in broken field play and we had to scramble, and could not cope.”
Nienaber said the message at half-time was “more of the same”, as their tactics worked before the break.
“It [the tactics] was working for us.
“We were playing in the right areas.”
The plan was to improve their game at the breakdown, but lapses in discipline saw the Bok tactics unravel.
“Our discipline fell away,” the coach said.
“We started to make mistakes, especially at maul time.
“We did not make the step-up needed when required.
“We can certainly salvage this.”
The coach said they will do a “proper review”, but felt they can sort out any issues from the first Test.
“It worked in the first half and I believe what happened in the second half is fixable.”
The Bok coach also said he had full faith in the match officials, despite some close TMO calls.
“I completely trust the officials,” Nienaber said, adding: “That is their jobs, they are the professionals in that field.
“They are in a better position and have many angles to look at.
“Sometimes these calls go against you, as we found out.
“In the second half, we had three try-scoring opportunities, twice we were called back.
“Those are the small margins in this game.”