Jaque Fourie conceded the Springboks’ approach was predictable and lacked purpose.
Notwithstanding excellent defence from the British and Irish Lions, the Springboks were utterly rudderless in their attempts to break their opponents down. It was shades of their worst performances of the 2008 Tri-Nations, and was characterised by impatience, a lack of appreciation for possession and infuriating individualism.
The coaching staff were tactically naïve and arrogant to think that they could run the Lions off the track. Where they’d played the percentages in the preceding two Tests, they traded that successful game plan for a cavalier one that got them thumped at a ground they view as a fortress.
Fourie acknowledged their shortcomings, but refused to blame the coaching staff, saying, ‘We spoke about not wanting to change our game plan, but that’s what happened,’ he told keo.co.za.
‘I won’t blame the coaches. The key to the success of any game plan is good decision making by the players, and today I don’t think we made good decisions.
‘I thought we did well on defence, particularly our defence in the inside channels, but they took the chances they had and that was the difference today.’
Fourie added that the root of their struggles on attack was that they were being dominated at the breakdown.
‘We just couldn’t get phases together and as a result we had minimal attacking opportunities.’
Lock Johann Muller concurred with Fourie’s view.
‘We were our own worst enemies, we conceded too many turnovers, 10 or 12 I think in good positions, and that killed us,’ he said.
‘They benefited from having a true fetcher [Martyn Williams] who made a massive difference. They took the chances they created from turnover ball, and they must be given credit for how clinical they were in that regard.
‘Our cleaners weren’t good today and we have to take responsibility for that.’
Fourie did, however, intimate that the Lions were consistently breaching the offside line.
‘Ugo Monye was basically in our line before the ball was passed,’ he said referring to the winger’s intercept try, ‘so that’s something we’re not pleased with, but have to live with.
‘But it wasn’t the reason we lost. We had chances to win the game – when Zane [Kirchner] knocked on in the first half, if Monye hadn’t intercepted Zane was over in the corner, and the one at the end when Odwa [Ndugane] was denied a try.
‘That’s potentially 21 points and that would have been the difference between winning and losing. But credit to them, they took their chances and we didn’t.’
By Ryan Vrede, at Ellis Park