Gatland 'pleased with the officials' despite De Klerk try
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has said that he is ‘pleased with the officials’ after the Lions secured victory over a Springbok side that eventually gassed out in Cape Town.
Dan Biggar’s boot proved the difference as the Lions came from behind to beat world champions South Africa 22-17 in an attritional first Test match in Cape Town on Saturday.
Biggar kicked four penalties and a conversion for a 14-point personal tally to take the Lions to victory after they were 12-3 down at halftime on Saturday but came back strongly in the second half.
Luke Cowan-Dickie scored the Lions’ only try with Owen Farrell adding a key late penalty while the Springboks’ points came from a Faf de Klerk try and four first-half penalties from Handre Pollard.
The two teams meet again next Saturday in the second Test, also at the Cape Town Stadium.
The Lions roared back into the contest with a vastly improved second-half display as they gained the physical advantage and put the Boks under pressure with the high ball, which turned the tide in their favour.
Gatland, who behind closed doors had questioned the refereeing appointment of Marius Jonker earlier in the week, said he thought the officials had a good game, despite suggesting that the Faf de Klerk’s try shouldn’t have been allowed. De Klerk put the finishing touches on the 50th minute effort after there was a suspicion of a knock-on from Pieter-Steph du Toit in the build-up.
“We’ve seen an angle on the try they’ve scored where it’s hit Du Toit’s hand, but sometimes you have to live with those decisions.”
“Nic Berry refereed really well, he was clear in his instructions with the TMO and I was pleased with the officials.”
Gatland was clearly delighted with hard fought win, which puts the Lions massively on the front foot in South Africa.
“It’s up there. Any Lions Test win is special.
“For us, it’s been a challenge. We’ve worked hard and for me having been down points and been under pressure, fighting our way back was the most pleasing thing.
“To beat the world champions in their own backyard is really, really special.”
– additional reporting AAP
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