Tommy Bowe boomed out a defiant message in the wake of the British and Irish Lions’ 26-21 defeat in Saturday’s First Test.
The former Queen’s University and Ulster wing, now plying his trade with Ospreys, said the players can’t wait to get back out to face the Springboks, claiming that, if anything, Saturday’s Durban defeat has boosted the Lions’ self-belief ahead of the two remaining Tests.
“There for the taking,” is his assessment of the world champions. “We know we are good enough,” is his view of the Lions’ prospects.
“There is a hell of a character within the squad and the bond between the players is something else. It is going to be tough next week but we know they are there for the taking.
“We know we are good enough. On Saturday we left ourselves a mountain to climb but we still came back and were very close.
“We know we made a lot of mistakes. We gave them too many points and we had a mountain to climb, but then again we still showed we could definitely come back and could have won it.
“Yes, we have an even bigger mountain to climb next weekend and the week after but it's still definitely do-able. For everyone now it is just a case of wanting to get back out on the pitch and make amends.”
If they are to do that, however, the tourists must rewrite history. The Lions have never won a series in South Africa after losing the first Test – in three of the 12 previous series the ’Boks have recovered to win the war after losing the opening battle.
There is encouragement from the 1989 Lions who came from |1-0 down to beat Australia.
Before that, the Lions face the Emerging Springboks in Cape Town tomorrow night and the side could well feature Ireland prop John Hayes, called up as a late replacement for Euan Murray.
See pages 60-63