Lions captain Paul O'Connell accused Bryce Lawrence of only refereeing one side after South Africa held off a late fightback to win the first test in Durban. South Africa's loose-head Tendai "The Beast" Mtawarira was named Man of the Match for a performance that had veteran Lions prop Phil Vickery under immense pressure but O'Connell was far from pleased.
"The referee was saying Phil was constantly going in. Phil is a very experience prop, he has played at the top of the game. How he can be seen to be making mistakes in four or five scrums is beyond me. Every time he seemed to be reffing us and not them."
Lions head coach Ian McGeechan will review the video and send a report to the International Rugby Board's referees chief Paddy O'Brien. "It comes down to interpretation and that is what we need clarification on next week," said McGeechan. "The penalty count in the first half and second half killed us. There is a protocol to review this and we will then look forward to the next test.
"We forward our review of this game to Paddy O'Brien and any issues that come out of that go forward into the meeting with the three referees on Friday for any clarification. Both teams have got something to work off now and it is having that clarification that is important."
No Lions side have ever won a series in South Africa having lost the first test but McGeechan is confident this team have it in them to bounce back. "We are delighted with the performance and it gives us a lot of encouragement. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb but credit to the players and their attitude. If you look at the quality of rugby we were playing, some of it was outstanding."
O'Connell echoed those positives: "When we played today we played very well and we created lots of scoring opportunities. If we hadn't played well it would be harder to take. Even at half-time, even though we were conceding penalties we were happy with the way we were playing when we had the ball. It will give us great belief for next week."