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It was penalty after penalty, and we were our own enemies, says Kolisi

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The Springboks were their own worst enemies in their first Test loss to the British and Irish Lions on Saturday, according to captain Siya Kolisi.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi is tackled by Anthony Watson of the British & Irish Lions during their first Test at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi is tackled by Anthony Watson of the British & Irish Lions during their first Test at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said that his team were their “own enemies” after they went down 22-17 to the British and Irish Lions in the first Test at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.

The South Africans let a 12-3 halftime lead slip in the second 40 minutes, as a reinvigorated Lions unit awoke from their slumber to roar to victory with an inspired display from their forwards, while the backs played with more fluidity on attack too.

The visitors’ accuracy with their high kicks was productive too, with the Boks unable to field those balls with great efficiency.

Flyhalf Dan Biggar slotted a few crucial second-half penalties, before replacement pivot Owen Farrell drilled the last nail into the Bok coffin with a final three-pointer in the last two minutes.

“We started well in the first half, and controlled the set-pieces – the scrum and everything. In the second half, our discipline let us down. It was penalty after penalty, and we missed opportunities in their kicking game. We knocked-on the ball, and they always caught the ball in the air and picked up the scraps,” Kolisi said in a post-match TV interview.

“There is a lot that we need to work on, but discipline is the number-one thing that we need to focus on in the coming games.

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“I think we were our own enemies today. In the set-piece and in the mauls and stuff, I thought we could’ve done better as a team – before even worrying about what they put towards it. We definitely made a couple of tactical mistakes as well.”

In a later press conference, the Bok No 6 was reluctant to say how he felt about Australian referee Nic Berry seemingly to allow the Lions a longer penalty advantage at times than the South Africans, adding that he thought the match official “was fair”, but that he will look at the match again.

But he again felt that the Boks battled to get their lineout drives going. “I think we had some opportunities in that second half, but there weren’t a lot of them,” Kolisi said.

“We didn’t get our maul going, and it’s something more where we need to look at ourselves, and it’s something that we (can fix).

“But I thought that they won most of the balls in the air and the scraps on the ground. They had more opportunities than us and used it well, and held on to the ball. But it’s something that we need to fix.”

But with two Tests to go over the next fortnight, the Bok skipper believed his team can come back into the series at Cape Town Stadium next Saturday.

“All that we can do is focus on what we can fix as a team – tactically, and mindset-wise,” Kolisi said.

“We want to make sure that we come back stronger and better next week. We will have another game under our belts, so hopefully next week, we can come back better and stronger.

“We will have a look at the tape, recover tomorrow and start again.”

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