Springboks have momentum against British and Irish Lions, says Jamie Roberts; Brad Barritt has huge empathy for officials
Jamie Roberts, Brad Barritt and Nolli Waterman give their views on the Lions' second Test defeat to South Africa as part of the Lions Breakfast show on Sky Sports; Roberts says the Boks have all the momentum; Waterman says the Lions can't get too frustrated; Barritt has empathy for refs.
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 02/08/21 11:39am
Former British and Irish Lions Jamie Roberts and Brad Barritt, as well as former England World Cup winner Nolli Waterman, dissect the Lions' Test loss to South Africa...
Roberts, who was a central figure the last time the Lions toured South Africa in 2009, spoke as part of the Lions Breakfast Show on Sky Sports.
"All the momentum lies with the Springboks now. Let's be brutally honest," Roberts said.
"The Lions were blown off the park in the second half yesterday. The score-line doesn't lie, and Pollard probably missed five points he should have kicked as well.
"And it was in a Test match which was all important for both sides.
"For me, I'm just trying to work out how the Lions want to play, and how they will approach this third game.
"They can't outBok the Boks two games in a row. They did it in the first week, couldn't do it in the second Test.
"They are not going to be able to do it next week either. So I'd like to see them go and play.
"Warren Gatland's selection is going to be extremely interesting this week."
Waterman, who picked up 82 caps for England in her Test career, was also present on the programme, and was asked what the Lions must do to get themselves right for the second Test.
"To not get frustrated with all the small things they can't change," she said.
"I think as players they will sit in that review and they will absolutely tear it apart and be very frustrated with a lot of the basics that went wrong.
"Whether it was the high ball catch or a poor tackle, or whatever it might have been, it's trying to put that to bed as quick as possible and then you move on to: 'How do we put it right?' rather than moaning or worrying about what's happened."
'Never has there been such a spotlight on referees'
After a week in which South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus put out an extraordinary 62-minute video criticising the performance of first Test referee Nic Berry - for which Erasmus, as yet, remains unpunished for by World Rugby - almost all the major decisions in the second Test went the Boks' way.
Cheslin Kolbe was extremely fortunate to avoid a red card for taking Conor Murray out in the air, Faf de Klerk avoided sanction for a high tackle, while Lukhanyo Am's try had a high degree of doubt due to his lack of control in the grounding.
Former Saracens and England centre Barritt, who was a late call-up for the Lions as cover on the 2013 tour to Australia, says he has great empathy for the officials involved in the series at this time.
"I have huge empathy for the officials at this current stage," Barritt said.
"Never has there been such a spotlight on two Test matches like this.
"The problem I guess with rugby is that there's always a degree of grey. Decisions aren't always white or black.
"I think he (Ben O'Keeffe) has had to make some really, really tough ones in the line of battle with the whole viewing public scrutinising every small decision.
"I thought the Lions were very impressive in that first half. For me, the big turning point was the five minutes before half-time.
"If the Lions had come away with a score there, they would have pushed the lead out, and in many ways the Boks probably did well just to hold on.
"No one would probably have predicted how strongly the Springboks would come back in the second half, we were all anticipating them to tire out.
"They didn't probably because of that slow-paced first half, which certainly suited the Springboks."