Springbok captain John Smit says his side have done the job they came to do after a 28-25 second Test win secured a series victory over the Lions.
Smit saw his side banish the demons of their 1997 loss to Britain and Ireland’s elite as they overcame a 19-8 deficit to claim victory with the last kick of the match at Loftus Versfeld.
“It was ironic that the last series 12 years ago was decided by a late kick after we missed so many penalties but this time we got the late kick,” said Smit, referring back to Jerry Guscott’s dramatic drop goal in Durban in ’97.
“It was a wonderful Test match. It was a real battle in every contest around the pitch. I’m sure it must be pretty hard to take for the Lions and they will feel unlucky to lose that game. But it feels great to be two-nil up in the series.
“The job is done, now it’s time to enjoy the final Test.”
Whereas as it was the Boks who had begun brightly during last weekend’s 26-21 victory in Durban, this time it was the Lions who gained the upper hand early on, only to be pegged back right at the death courtesy of a 54-metre penalty from the unflappable Morne Steyn.
A Rob Kearney try had helped the Lions into a 16-8 half-time lead but Smit’s men always kept within striking distance and finally pounced with 17 points in the final 17 minutes.
“It was a game of two halves,” explained Smit.
“We knew the intensity and physicality would be far more than last week but that wasn’t the start we anticipated. We didn’t bring much to the party in the first half and there were some harsh words said at half time in the dressing room. Then we came back from that handicap.
“We made it difficult for ourselves with a poor start but this team just keeps amazing me by digging out victory from nowhere.”