Gatland: We got what we deserved
June 18, 2013
Dejected Lions captain Rory Best leads his side from the field © PA Photos
British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland admitted his side "got what they deserved" following their shock 14-12 defeat to the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night.
The Lions suffered the first defeat of their current tour just four days before the first Test showdown with Australia in Brisbane on Saturday - and Gatland conceded they could have no complaints.
Gatland told Sky Sports: "There's no excuses, first-half performance wasn't good enough and we got what we deserved. It's just disappointing. In fairness to the Brumbies they played well, put us under pressure at the breakdown."
The Lions trailed 8-3 at the break after struggling in the first half but they put on a better showing in the second half to get themselves back into contention before falling just short.
Gatland said: "I was disappointed with the intensity of the first half, I thought we were much better in the second half. We just weren't quite good enough.
Kuridrani: We've been doing that all season%]
"We made a few changes, gave them a bit of a rocket at half-time and I thought we were much better in the second half. We seemed a little bit flat out there in the first half, played too much rugby in our own half and we probably needed to play a little bit smarter. It was a pretty tight game and there weren't a lot of opportunities."
Looking ahead to the weekend and the opening Test, Gatland said: "Lots of players will be disappointed but we just need to take it on the chin and start focusing on Saturday."
Captain and hooker Rory Best admitted his side had been out-played by their hosts. "We got physically beaten up up front, they put a lot of pressure on the set-piece and we got a bit nervy, and all credit to the Brumbies they were hungrier than us right across the board," Best said.
"We were feeling very confident, we knew it was going to be a tough task but we just didn't turn up tonight. Right from the very off they just wanted it more, they took their chances and you have to give them massive credit."
Best also refused to use the introduction of a ost of fresh faces into the Lions side - including the likes of veteran winger Shane Williams and the England trio of Billy Twelvetrees, Christian Wade and Brad Barritt - as a reason for the performance. "I don't think we're looking for excuses, we brought in quality players," he said. "When you looked across the team we had a quality team, we just got beaten up at the breakdown tonight.
"We definitely got nervy. At this level if you can't secure that ball you're always going to be under pressure. The forwards will stand up and take a lot of the heat, and deservedly so."
The Irishman added: "We let our standards drop tonight and it'll be up to the 15 and 23 guys picked this weekend to raise those again. We didn't want to lose the momentum that we've gained on the tour, but we've done that and now we have to dust ourselves down and see where we go from here."
'The Lions deserved defeat'%]
Brumbies captain Peter Kimlin said they had targeted the Lions lineout and scrum in a bid to put their opponents under pressure. He said: "Especially the lineout, at scrum time we had a pretty tough time because that's a phenomenal scrum they've got there.
"At lineout time we had good pressure there and it went a long way to winning the game tonight."
He added of the result: "To win is an incredible feeling, unreal".
The Lions' Ian Evans and Billy Twelvetrees pictured during this defeat to the Brumbies © PA Photos
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker