See below for post-match reaction from Tommy Bowe, Tom Croft and Mike Phillips, who all made their Lions Test debuts in the tourists’ 26-21 first Test defeat to South Africa in Durban on Saturday.
“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.
“If we’d taken our chances it could have been a different story going into next week.
“There is a hell of a character within the squad and the bond between the players is something else but unfortunately we gave them too many soft scores.
“There are still a lot of positives though and obviously it is going to be tough next week, but we know they are there for the taking.
“I think we showed our fitness levels at the end of the match because they were really starting to struggle and if we had of maybe been a bit more clinical it might have gone the other way.
“We know we are good enough to take them – today we didn’t, we left a mountain to climb, but we still came back and were very close.
“Yes we have an even bigger mountain to climb next week 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.”
“I think our first half discipline gave them too many easy kicks which is where they took the points. When we came in at half time we knew we had a lot in the tank.
“We’ve played provincial games up to the 80th minute so we knew we could last – we played exceptionally well in the second half and we took the game to them.
“Add a couple of minutes to the end of that half and it could have been a different story
“The referee has to referee the game, it was a fierce game, a highly contested game and the decisions have got to go one way or the other.
“Unfortunately, we had a couple go against us in kickable range and to be fair to the Springboks they took their kicks and got that lead.
“I think the second half was a real show of our character within our team, we work for each other, we don’t want to let each other down and we kept working until the 80th minute and next game, it could go our way.
“We are showing we are a dangerous team and I’d like to see on another day those nearly there scores go down.
“Credit to the Springboks, they defended well but in the second half those holes were opening and we were going through them so we have just got take that second half as the start of our next game and march on.”
“It was a big occasion for us, a massive day as an individual for your playing career – the pinnacle – and it was just great to be out there.
“It was disappointing not to get the result, but I thought we showed great character and heart to come back.
“Certainly we can take a lot into next week and maybe with a bit more belief and confidence who knows?
“I thought we really played rugby and we certainly cut them a few times and crossed the line a few times, but a couple of decisions didn’t go our way.
“Saying that, the Springboks are obviously a tremendous outfit – their forwards are massive guys, they run hard, they have great defence, great lineout and great scrum capabilities and this is the best of the best.
“We are playing against the top guys in the world and it is here that you can judge yourself as a player and it’s just a shame we didn’t get the result.
“Next week we just need to improve in a few areas – there’s a great spirit in camp.
“You know this is the big one and it is disappointing really that we lost the game but we showed great character and all the boys have had a spring in their step and just been dying to get out there today – it’s a massive occasion and we will take a lot ahead of next week’s Test.”