Gethin Jenkins has likened Wales’ defeat to the Wallabies to his 2009 adventure with the Lions.
Replacement fly-half Mike Harries delivered the killer blow in Melbourne last weekend with the last kick of the game after Wales had led by a point in time added on.
Harries’ heartbreaking intervention ensured Wales can no longer win the three-match series against the Lions’ next opponents having been beaten 27-19 in Brisbane a week earlier.
The manner of the defeat was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for loose-head prop Jenkins as he was part of the Lions Test team in South Africa three years ago when Britain and Ireland’s elite were pipped to the three-match series by the then World Champions.
With the Springboks having claimed the opening rubber in Durban, Morne Steyn kicked a last-gasp penalty in Pretoria to inflict a 28-25 defeat on the Lions in the second Test and secure series victory for the hosts.
"It was a little bit of deja vu in Melbourne after the Lions,” said Jenkins, who has already won five Lions Test caps and is among the favourites to make the front row Down Under in a year’s time.
“A last-minute kick and the series is gone.
"Last weekend was devastating and we were disappointed in ourselves that we couldn't finish off the game. We had some nice late wins in the season and now we know what it's like to be on the end of a losing game.
"We didn't get much sleep last Saturday night just thinking about that last kick and how we should have drawn the series. There wasn't much talk in the changing rooms afterwards, but it has been heads down (to work) since then as we try to pick ourselves up."
Ronan O’Gara’s tackle on Fourie du Preez in the air was the decisive moment at Loftus Versfeld, yet Jenkins says the blame for Saturday’s disappointment with Wales lies at the feet of the entire squad rather than Richard Hibbard, who gave away the crucial kick at goal.
"We should have seen the game out in Melbourne. With only two minutes on the clock we should have done something a bit different, but when it's as tight as that it's the responsibility of the 22 to nail it," added Jenkins.
"It probably wasn't the best of ideas the kick the ball away, but I thought we had a good chase and pinned them down 30 metres from their line. It was just unfortunate that we gave away two penalties which cost us the game.
"Looking back, I'm sure we could have done better to stop that driving line-out and not pulled it down. It was the last minute of the game, we'd all worked our guts out, but we shouldn't have been down there."