The Lions have been well and truly put in their place by a South African side who, as Sam Warburton said on commentary, tried harder at making sure Plan A worked after it had failed in the first Test.
The world champions showed their intended game plan in that opening Test – strong set piece, physical at the breakdown and an aerial game – but it only lasted whilst their fitness did.
They were confident, however, their strategy and selection was right, stuck to it and by the end on Saturday night were in complete control.
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In winning so comfortably, the Springboks have thrown up a whole load of uncomfortable questions for Warren Gatland which he needs to somehow deal with in the coming days.
Winning that first Test has proved to be something of a false positive for the Lions, giving the wrong idea of what is needed to beat South Africa.
You are not going to defeat them on home soil over the course of a three-match rubber with a Warrenball approach and an aerial competition, not when the precise and clever kicking of Faf de Klerk and Hansie Pollard makes them so clearly superior to Conor Murray and Dan Biggar in that aspect.
Given how heavily the Lions were beaten, I can’t see us winning the third game adopting those same tactics again.
A change of approach and personnel is needed. Some big decisions, I’m afraid.
We’re actually in a position where tinkering to the team won’t work because, as they get fitter, so too will the Springboks get better. Wholesale changes may have to be on the cards, far more than Gatland will be comfortable with, to freshen things up.
You could quite reasonably make a case for changing the lot here, but I’d leave Anthony Watson alone. He looked more a victim of circumstances than anything else and still has a lot to give, whereas Stuart Hogg, who was particularly poor, and Duhan Van der Merwe need to stand aside.
The introduction of Liam Williams and Josh Adams will not only improve the Lions under the high ball, in my view, but they will also improve the prospects of a Lions back actually looking like scoring a try in the Tests.
This is a problem area. You won’t beat South Africa with crash-bang Warrenball, you need far more subtlety, but given the personnel Gatland has chosen in the midfield I’m not sure what his credible options are.
Robbie Henshaw deserves another go; do you replace Chris Harris with Bundee Aki?
Aki may fit Warrenball even better, but it’s much of a muchness.
I’d probably stick with Harris.
This is where Gatland could signal real intent.
He could pick Finn Russell at 10, demonstrating a willingness to play a more inventive and open game that many will feel is needed to get away from the Springboks’ sheer power.
But we know Russell makes mistakes, as well as producing moments of magic, so it’d be a huge risk, particularly as the Scottish star has barely played on tour and will be undercooked.
Gatland could plump for Owen Farrell at 10 with Marcus Smith on the bench, ready to come on and offer the different skill set he brings.
In reality, it is a choice between Farrell and Dan Biggar, who suit Gatland’s methods better.
Toss a coin on that one. I’d probably stick with Biggar.
Inside him, however, I’d definitely make a change because Conor Murray simply hasn’t grasped the nettle at scrum-half. Ali Price did well in the first game and probably deserves another chance to inject tempo and pace into the Lions’ game.
Like the back three, this is an area in clear need of some surgery.
Tadhg Furlong has been the mainstay in the scrum and coped well in adversity and whilst under some intense pressure. I was surprised when he was taken off so early in the second-half because he was the one holding things together.
When he left the field the Boks really got on top.
He obviously gets picked again.
If fit, Wyn Jones has to come in at loosehead to offer greater solidity on that side. Rory Sutherland simply doesn’t fill me with confidence in the set piece and Mako Vunipola, whilst deserving to start on Saturday after impressing off the bench in the first game, can make more of a mark as an impact player again.
Jones to start, Vunipola to replace him in the second-half.
At hooker Jamie George must surely start? Luke Cowan-Dickie looked great in the warm-up games, but hasn’t really played that well in either Test, Ken Owens misfired on Saturday.
George will bring more stability. He started three Tests against New Zealand last time out, so knows what is required from the off in these high pressure games and I also think he’s more reliable throwing into the lineout.
Cowan-Dickie wasn’t always as accurate as he could have been on Saturday and Owens lost the first two throws when he came on
We’ve got to get the set-piece right, scrum and lineout, because without that back-to-basics foundation there’s no chance.
Jones and George can help to that end, be part of the solution.
We can talk about the back three, aerial duels, control at half-back, but ultimately everything starts up front.
The Springboks’ tight five will be brimful of confidence and we have to find ways to reassert our own authority.
Speaking of which, is it time for the unthinkable and Alun Wyn Jones to step aside?
Regular readers of this column will know how highly I rate the Wales and Lions skipper.
But if we took the captaincy aspect out of it and judged only on Alun Wyn’s performance on Saturday, then he might well be left out, so superior were the South African locks as the game wore on.
As a very minimum, he’d be under severe pressure for his place.
If we’re brutally honest, the captaincy side of it didn’t work either when you look at how heavily the Lions were defeated.
Alun Wyn has performed wonders to get back on the tour, but three high intensity and gruelling Tests back-to-back?
I feel a change is needed in the second-row as well. Maro Itoje has to stay, he’s been one of our better performers, albeit he didn’t reach the standards on Saturday that we’d seen previously.
Perhaps Iain Henderson deserves a chance next to Itoje to try to fix what became a problem area in the second-half.
I appreciate this is a big call, but we lost so badly in the end that big decisions probably do need to be made.
Henderson is good at the basics, will win his own lineout ball, brings grunt, tackles and is more than capable at the breakdown as well, which would be a nice bonus.
He’s played well on tour, he will be itching for his chance.
Another area of the team that needs something of a shake-up.
Courtney Lawes disappointed me. He played so well in the first Test, yet came nowhere near attaining those standards again.
And that’s a problem for Gatland. If your whole game plan is based around physicality, and you select players for that purpose, then you need consistency from those chosen ones.
Players have a responsibility to deliver on a consistent basis under those circumstances, otherwise what’s the point of having the game plan?
I think with Lawes it’s a case of he’s had his second chance, was off the pace and Tadhg Beirne needs to come in and offer something different.
Tom Curry? Another who didn’t play well. Do you keep him, give him the benefit of the doubt, or does Hamish Watson come in?
Like Biggar and Farrell it’s a 50-50 call. On this occasion I’d opt for the change and give Watson the opportunity. He’s done well when given his chance, this could be a great way to bow out of what has been a tremendous individual season for the Six Nations player of the year.
Whilst there will be a clamour for Taulupe Faletau to come in, I’d leave alone at number eight. Jack Conan has done as well as can be expected and Faletau simply hasn’t shown the form on tour we’ve come to expect from him.
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Whatever happens, changes are going to be needed, more than Gatland would have wished, and those selected will be desperate to make their mark.
Because of the make-up of this tour, the fringe players have had no opportunity to force their way into the side since Gatland picked his first Test team because there have been no matches.
On previous tours you could impress in the midweek games, force the coaches into a rethink, but the Stormers was the last opportunity on this one for so many.
They haven’t really had a look-in since.
Because of the manner of Saturday’s defeat, some of them might suddenly be presented with an unexpected final chance and will be really going for it in training.
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Graham Price was speaking in association with Nigel Jones, experts in dental implants