Gatland takes pride in his Lions despite defeat in South Africa

By Sports Desk August 07, 2021

Warren Gatland says the British and Irish Lions gave it everything but came up just short in their agonising Test series defeat to South Africa.

The Lions suffered last-minute heartbreak in Cape Town as Morne Steyn's penalty secured a 19-16 win for the Springboks, who take the series by a 2-1 scoreline having lost the opening match.

Gatland's side had taken early control of the decider, Ken Owens' try helping them claim a 10-3 lead before half-time.

However, the Lions were made to rue missed opportunities as the reigning world champions fought back, with veteran fly-half Steyn coming off the bench to land the knockout blow – just as he had done in the 2009 series between the same teams.

Nevertheless, Gatland was unable to fault the efforts of his players.

"I'm disappointed, but really proud of the guys," Gatland told Sky Sports. "We spoke beforehand about winning these Test matches being about big moments.

"We had a two-on-one when maybe Josh Adams should have scored and a couple of times we were held up across the line. 

"I thought we were bold in terms of the tactics and what we wanted to do and tried to play rugby.

"We had a couple of calls which didn't go our way and bounces of the ball, particularly the try they scored, but I'm really proud of the effort. 

"I can't ask the guys more than the guys giving 100 per cent and they definitely did that."

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