Ian McGeechan has argued that the Springboks did not have the fitness levels to deal with the British and Irish Lions in the second half.
South Africa took a nine-point lead into half time but the Lions were the far better side in the second half as they ground out a five-point win to go one-nil ahead in the test series.
Former Lions coach McGeechan was speaking on Sky Sports after the match and argued that the Springboks’ below par second half performance was due to their inferior fitness levels.
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Ian McGeechan on the Springboks’ lack of fitness.
“I think in the first half [the Lions] were forcing it. They got into contact one-on-one and lost that contact and lost any momentum that they did have,” McGeechan said.
“In the second half they got out of their own half and structurally, they did really well. Their kicking game was excellent – their kick chase.
“Then when they got into South Africa’s half they were playing through phases. That’s where South Africa really kept giving the penalties away and giving the game away. But I felt they fell off their game badly.
“I don’t think South Africa had the energy and the fitness to actually raise their level to then match the way the Lions were playing… To be honest, they looked a really tired side by the end of it.”
Plenty of similarities with South Africa ‘A’ game.
The South Africans were comfortably the better side in the first 40 minutes in the first test, just as they were in the warm-up game between the Lions and a South Africa ‘A’ side packed full of Springboks.
South Africa ‘A’ won that game, but they failed to score in the second half and won by just four points after leading by 14 at the break after a second half Lions fightback.
Rassie Erasmus’ side weren’t able to hang on to win on this occasion, as they were outscored by 19 points to five in the second half to go behind the Lions in the test series.
The Lions played badly in the first half in both games, but if they manage to start off on the right foot next Saturday they should wrap up the test series a week early.