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  Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Johnson sorry after series defeat
Martin Johnson tackles in Sydney
Martin Johnson commended the entire Lions effort
Lions skipper Martin Johnson apologised to fans after their 29-23 defeat in the third and final Test in Sydney.

The Lions lost their first ever tour to Australia, and the veteran second row immediately acknowledged the Wallaby effort.

"There were no excuses for us - they deserved to win it," he said.


The bottom line is that the tour is all about winning - and we didn't achieve it
Lions coach Graham Henry

"I could not have asked any more in terms of effort - it was a tremendous series and the players can be proud of themselves but we came up just short.

"I would like to thank all the fans for their excellent support.

"I would like to wish John Eales and the rest of the Wallabies team good luck for the rest of the season.

"To the players, be proud of yourselves, I am just sorry we did not win."

Despite his obvious disappointment, Lions coach Graham Henry commended the outstanding overall Wallabies performance.

"Congratulations to Australia, they were more consistent under pressure," said the New Zealander.

"We didn't do too well at the lineout and the tackle.

"It has been an horrendous tour in many respects but I wouldn't have done anything differently.

Justin Harrison wins yet another lineout
Debutant Justin Harrison was outstanding
"The players have shown a lot of guts and character and I am proud of what they have achieved.

"But the bottom line is that the tour is all about winning - and we didn't achieve it."

While a dejected Johnson left the field, his opposite number, John Eales, was in jubilant mood after capturing a historic series win at Stadium Australia.

"The whole series just turned on a few things," said the veteran.

"I felt we had a bit more control throughout the match and though the statistics might not back this up and I thought we had the balance in terms of territory and defence."

While Eales provided the stability in the line-out, it was his second row partner Justin Harrison, making his Wallaby debut, who earned all the plaudits.

Emotional time

"Under this sort of pressure, his display was very special," added Eales.

"The key to the success of this team over the last few years is that people have performed to their potential."

For Rod Macqueen, the victory was the perfect way to end his dominant reign as Australian coach.

"There is a tear in my eye," said Macqueen, who will be replaced by ACT Brumbies coach Eddie Jones.

"It is a very emotional time and I have been privileged to work with a great bunch of people.

"We played against a very good side, who we respect a lot."

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Lions captain Martin Johnson
"It was there for either side to win"

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14 Jul 01 | Lions Down Under
14 Jul 01 | Player views
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