John Smit bemoaned his side’s lack of intensity after the Boks slumped to a 28-9 defeat at Ellis Park.
While Smit held up the Unity Cup for the series win, he was clearly disappointed to finish with a loss.
‘The guys didn’t rock up today in terms of intensity,’ he said. ‘If you look at how we did in the physical aspects of the game, you can see we weren’t in the right frame of mind.
‘We really wanted to win the series 3-0, get the whitewash and make history, but it didn’t happen.’
Meanwhile, Peter de Villiers claimed ‘the bounce of the ball went [the Lions'] way’ and that ‘the gods were smiling on them’.
The Bok coach added that he had no regrets about making 10 changes to the team that clinched the series at Loftus.
‘Some of the [new] players failed the test today, while others stood up. My mind is much clearer now going into the Tri-Nations’.
Lions coach Ian McGeechan hailed the way his side responded this week.
‘We’ve wanted to play a certain way on this tour and I think we’re a better team than people give us credit for,’ he said. ‘We’ve been part of one of the most outstanding series of all time.’
Paul O’Connell said that while they had lost the series, it was vital for them to get a win.
‘It’s an important day for us, as we hadn’t won a Test for a while [since Australia 2001],’ said the Lions captain. ‘We did well last week and lost a game we should have won. Who knows what would have happened today if it had been 1-1, but to get the win with so many top players missing, was a great effort.’
O’Connell also thanked the Lions fans, most of whom decided to stay in South Africa for the dead rubber.
‘During the week, our fans were still patting us on the back,’ he said. ‘Before the game, Warren Gatland and Geech both mentioned the travelling support, so we hope they have a great night.’