Jason Robinson has urged the British and Irish Lions to claim the “Holy Grail” that eluded him when they face South Africa in Saturday’s second Test.
The Lions are one victory away from taking an unassailable lead in the three-match series after staging a determined fightback from 12-3 down to topple the world champions 22-17 at Cape Town Stadium.
Former England captain Robinson was a key component of the 2001 squad that fell to a 2-1 series defeat to Australia despite strolling to victory in the first encounter at the Gabba in Brisbane.
“This is an opportunity for these Lions to create history,” Robinson, who is a Land Rover ambassador, told the PA news agency.
“I’ve been there - we won the first Test but lost the second two. Winning the first game doesn’t guarantee you winning the series.
“Winning a Lions Test is amazing, but one thing I never achieved as a player was winning a Lions Test series.
“That’s the Holy Grail and what they’ll be looking for now. They’ll certainly believe they’ve got the players and the confidence to do so.
“It was a historic win against South Africa because now they go into that second Test with a lot more confidence and knowing it’s there for the taking.
“That’s a massive boost for the Lions because they’ll know what they can do with the ball in hand and that they can put pressure on South Africa.
“We know South Africa are a world class team and remember what they did to England in the 2019 World Cup final, but if the Lions didn’t have the belief they needed going into the first Test, they’ll have it for the second one.
“Sometimes you’ve got to fight fire with fire. Everyone talks about how physical South Africa are, but if you match them it puts you in a great place.”
Leeds-born Robinson, who also played on the 2005 tour to New Zealand, faced the Springboks on seven occasions for England and knows that Warren Gatland’s men will face a backlash.
“I have an idea of what’s coming in this next Test. South Africa will bring physicality and intensity,” Robinson said.
“They’ll know they only played for 40 minutes, as did the Lions, and that’s why it was such a close contest. South Africa will know they don’t have a cushion against the Lions, so they have to really take it to the Lions.
“Either team will know that on their day they can win this next Test and that’s what makes it interesting.”
Alun Wyn Jones has reminded his British and Irish Lions celebrating their stunning comeback victory over South Africa that the ultimate prize has yet to be claimed.
The Lions showed resilience to battle back from a 12-3 deficit at the end of a first-half dominated by the Springboks to clinch the opening Test 22-17 behind closed doors at Cape Town Stadium.
Victory at the same venue next Saturday would seal a first series triumph against South Africa since 1997 and Jones expects a backlash from the world champions, who became ragged as the tourists’ fightback gathered momentum.
“We know what we’ve achieved but we also know what we haven’t achieved. There is still plenty to do and this is a three-Test series,” the Lions captain said.
“Knowing the calibre of the player and the attitude our opposition have, we have to be better again - first and foremost within ourselves. But we also have to deal with what we know is going to come next weekend.
“There were smiles after the game. In any sport, you have to enjoy moments like this as they don’t come round very often.
“But the caveat to that is we are only a third done and that message has already been planted. It’s a time for everyone to take stock of where we are and be ready to move on to next weekend.
“Everybody has been part of this from the start of the Tour and they still are. A squad wins a series and that has in no way, shape or form diluted how we will enjoy this win.
“But the focus will come pretty quickly on Sunday and Monday when we’re straight back into it.”
South Africa stormed into the lead with four penalties from fly-half Handre Pollard until their coronavirus-disrupted build-up caught up with them after half-time.
Facing a Lions side that began playing with a renewed sense of purpose, the side that crushed England in the 2019 World Cup final began to look vulnerable as their discipline collapsed.
Their pack was bullied with Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes their chief tormentors, they lost control of the skies and they ran out of steam, although they stayed in the fight until the final whistle.
Remarkably for a 35-year-old who had dislocated his shoulder during a warm-up match only four weeks earlier, initially ruling him out of the tour, Jones finished the match.
“I didn’t know I was going to be selected but I’m happy to be part of it and add to the energy the guys brought.”
South Africa: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, De Klerk; Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Smith Reps: Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, De Jager, Elstadt, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse
British and Irish Lions: Hogg; A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Sutherland, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan. Reps: Owens, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.