Lions claim third, but Boks win series - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions claim third, but Boks win series

By Luke Phillips 05/07/2009 03:21:12 PM Comments (0)

The Springboks were left delighted at their 2-1 series win over the British and Irish Lions despite going down 28-9 to the visitors in the third and final Test on Saturday.

The reigning world champions had wrapped up the series after claiming victory in the first two Tests, 26-21 and 28-25, but still had a chance of a first-ever whitewash of the Lions.

But it was not to be as a raft of changes in personnel disrupted the Springbok rhythm, allowing an also much-changed Lions team to seize the upper hand in all spheres of the game at Ellis Park.

"The Lions were all over us in all areas today," admitted Bok captain John Smit. "All credit, we didn't have a chance.

"They had more intensity and it was an emphatic victory that was well deserved.

"It makes us appreciate the series win more. The Lions are a top side."

Bok coach Peter de Villiers added: "One of our goals was to win the series and we did that.

"They were very good on the day, and we have to honour how they played," he said, adding that the changes he made to the team had stood them in good stead ahead of the Tri-Nations which starts later this month.

"We did a good thing for ourselves today," he said of the changes. "It's very important, we've got the Tri-Nations in three weeks."

Smit added: "As disappointing as the result today is, it's been a great series and great for the team.

"As important as the Tri-Nations is, the Lions tour was the priority this year.

"We'll have 10 days off and then come together for a colossal Tri-Nations."

Lions captain Paul O'Connell said the win, sealed with a Shane Williams brace, an Ugo Monye interception try and 13 points from the boot of Stephen Jones, had been "very satisfying".

"It's been a tough week for everyone," he said in reference to the nail-biting second Test, which Morne Steyn won with a penalty kick on full time.

"We wallowed for one or two days, but then got excited for this game.

"And it could have been a very long summer if we'd not won today," the Munster and Ireland lock said. "We've really had to dig deep... but it was a really big performance.

"It would have been tough to have come away from here at 3-0."

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan said he was happy to have had the luck of the bounce, something he claimed had eluded the visitors in the first two Tests.

"We got a couple of 50-50s," he said. "The games could have gone either way.

"It's been all the little edges. There was an eight-point difference in the first two Tests.

"I though that today we were very accurate and very intense and tactically kept the game plan.

"In six weeks what the players have achieved should not be underestimated. We've played the world champions in their own backyard and given as good as we've got."

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