‘Massive spirit’ will lift Lions

Tom Croft believes the spirit and camaraderie within the Lions camp can help the tourists bounce back from yesterday's narrow defeat to the Springboks. [more]

‘Massive spirit’ will lift Lions

Tom Croft believes the spirit and camaraderie within the Lions camp can help the tourists bounce back from yesterday’s narrow defeat to the Springboks.

The Leicester and England flanker scored twice for Ian McGeechan’s men as they came so close to recording an historic victory over the world champions in Durban.

Despite the disappointment of the outcome of the ABSA Stadium contest, Croft is confident that the bond that has been developed by the Lions since first meeting up in mid-May will stand them in good stead ahead of next weekend’s second international in Pretoria.

“The boys are very close,” said Croft, in the aftermath of the 26-21 reverse that leaves the Lions needing back-to-back victories to secure their first series triumph since 1997.

“There’s a massive spirit within our squad.  We’ve shown what we can do and come the next game we’ll start with a bang.”

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Croft, who was making his first Test appearance for the Lions having missed out on selection for the original touring party, paid credit to his team-mates for their stirring second-half comeback.

The former Oakham schoolboy and England youth international believes the Lions have what it takes to level the series next Saturday, although he admits the Boks will not make it easy.

"The Boks are a good side,” added Croft.

“They took it to us in that first half. We gave away a couple of penalties where we shouldn’t have done. 

"In that second half we had them up on the ropes. We kept going forwards. All credit to the boys – superb performance, determination in the second half – but we’ve got to start well.

"We’re 1-0 down but we’ve got two games to go and we’ve shown what we can do. We can take that strength into the next game."

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