CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland bemoaned missed opportunities as his side narrowly lost the third and decisive test to South Africa on Saturday.
The Lions had chances to win the game but were beaten 19-16 in the third and final test at the Cape Town Stadium to lose the series 2-1.
“I’m disappointed obviously but really proud of the effort of the boys. I thought we were bold and positive and we went out there to play some rugby,” said Gatland.
“We missed one or two chances, they get a lucky bounce and score a try against the run of play. A couple of 50-50 calls didn’t go our way but it was proper test match. It was tough, it was physical and that’s what you want with a Lions series.
“It was never going to be easy going away from home and playing against the world champions. It could have gone either way.”
The Lions were 10-6 ahead at halftime but could have had a bigger lead had they taken their chances but a try by Cheslin Kolbe turned the game South Africa’s way and veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked the decisive kick at the end of the game to win it for the Springboks.
Steyn also kicked the winning penalty when South Africa won their last series against the Lions 12 years ago when Gatland served as an assistant coach.
“It is a bit of deja vu having Morne Steyn score the winning penalty. The penalty count was against us 15-12. At this level it is so important.
“Your aim is to keep your penalties under 10 and if you can do that it makes a big difference. You get one or two chances at this level and you’ve got to make the most of it.
“When you are playing against the world champions you know they are going to be really tight contests. It is going to be the bounce of the ball or a call.”
Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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