South Africa’s backs Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am scored second half tries as the Springboks beat the British & Irish Lions 27-9 to win Saturday’s second test at the Cape Town Stadium and level the series.
Handre Pollard added five penalties and a conversion for a 17-point contribution while the Lions points all came off the boot of Dan Biggar in a niggly and ill-tempered contest that again was one for the purists rather than the enthusiast.
The result sets up a decider next Saturday after the Lions had won an attritional first test 22-17.
The Lions were 9-6 up at halftime but the Springboks bounced back with a dominant second half performance that turned the tide of the game.
“Momentum swings both ways,” Robbie Henshaw said on Sky Sports. “South Africa came out in the second half and got a bit of an edge on us in an arm-wrestle game. But a positive is that in the final Test next week, it is all to play for, which makes it exciting.
“We have to pick ourselves up next week and come back stronger. It is all to play for next week. It is finals rugby and at the top level. Everyone is going to be up for it, so it is going to be an exciting week.”
South Africa 11-9 Lions, 48 minutes
The Lions front row flex their muscles, both figuratively and literally, as they drive back South Africa and then display their biceps, but Ben O’Keeffe says it will be a reset scrum, rather than a penalty their way. A little bit off kilter, the drive.
And again that is the call as the Cape Town Stadium turf gives way to the sand beneath it. Great tranches of the yellow stuff poking up through the grass. Both eights shift over to the left for more scrummaging fun.
South Africa 11-9 Lions, 46 minutes
A long way to go yet, of course, and that won’t help the South Africans. An ominously quiet Jasper Wiese drops the restart and the Lions will have a scrum inside the Springboks’ 22.
TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 11-9 Lions (Makazole Mapimpi try, 45 minutes)
Brilliant from Handre Pollard! It’s that right boot again, swapping the rocket-launcher for a little pea-shooter as he spots Makazole Mapimpi surging into space on the left, eschewing any thought of a long pass as Mapimpi advances.
He weights it perfectly, allowing Mapimpi to gather in perfect stride, and shimmy past Stuart Hogg for a delightful score.
But Pollard misses the conversion! Simple enough by his standards, and that might, might, be crucial.
South Africa 6-9 Lions, 44 minutes
South Africa maul initially and then play away. Nothing doing so Handre Pollard looks up - another high kick...
Won back by South Africa and Damian de Allende has it in the Lions’ 22...
South Africa 6-9 Lions, 42 minutes
Penalty to South Africa. Tadhg Furlong slips his bind, falls to floor, and Steve Kitshoff takes the plaudits form his teammates as Ben O’Keeffe whistles his approval. The Springboks advance down the right via Handre Pollard’s boot.
South Africa 6-9 Lions, 41 minutes
As you were - up goes a high kick from Faf de Klerk after the opening phase of the second 40 minutes. Stuart Hogg comes forward to claim it...and knocks on. A second loose moment in the air from the Scotland captain.
The front rows punch in their time cards at the abattoir for the first scrum of the second half.
KICK OFF! The second half is underway
South Africa 6-9 Lions: Second half
Right - time for resumption. It is only half-time and already we have had more than enough action to fill these pages for the next week and beyond. What more fun awaits? Will we be done by the time the Third Test starts? The players are back out there and ready for the restart.
South Africa 6-9 Lions: From a new competition with a foot in both camps...
South Africa 6-9 Lions
Both defences are going well. Siya Kolisi’s intervention to somehow prevent Robbie Henshaw scoring could look more and more crucial as the game unfolds. I’d be surprised if we survive another 40 minutes without more disciplinary drama.
Lost, a little, in the chaos was the injury to Pieter-Steph du Toit - the blindside will be a huge miss, as will the impact that a fresh Kwagga Smith might have had in the final quarter. An already wobbly Springboks lineout will struggle, too.
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