Springbok Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has issued a warning to the British & Irish Lions: “We are ‘wounded Springboks’.”
The Boks slumped to a disappointing 22-17 defeat against the Lions in the first Test of the Series at Cape Town at the weekend.
After having the upper hand in the opening half, the Boks produced a rather disappointing second half display. They couldn’t get out of their own half, they struggled to cope with the Lions’ aerial game, their scrummaging dropped, and their discipline cost them.
Following the game at Cape Town Stadium, De Klerk said: “The British & Irish Lions were certainly not better than I thought,” said De Klerk.
“They are a quality side, and in their case the guy coming off the bench is probably as good, if not better, than the guy starting so that’s a challenge we have to face.
“Our discipline also slipped in the second half.”
He went on to say that the Series can still be salvaged.
“The guys are very disappointed and gutted. We really wanted to win the first one, but it is a three-Test series, and we have to hold our heads up high.
“There were a lot of learnings from this game, but we need to take this on the chin and move forward.
“We are a proud team and nation, and we’ll definitely make sure we rectify the errors that we made.
“We’ll come back with a bit more fire in our belly and a bit more anger, although we need to control that to make sure our discipline is in check.
“I think if our discipline is good and we can sort out our aerial battle, we should be good going forward. That said, it’s going to be another massive challenge next week and we are looking forward to it.
“We are wounded Springboks, and we have our backs against the wall, so we can fight our way out of that.”
“The first half went really well. We got into the air well and won many of the balls back, and we hoped that it would happen in the second half.
“Looking ahead we have to do better when they kick and we have to make sure we get in the air when we kick, so there are great learnings from this week and from the game, and we remain positive going forward.”
The Boks next face face the Lions in the second Test of the Series on Saturday.