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 6-6 Lions, 33 minutes
The Lions win possession back inside the South Africa half, but Makazole Mapimpi thinks he’s won another turnover as Tadhg Furlong is brought down. This time, however, he’s just strayed off his feet before latching on - penalty to the Lions, kicked for the corner.
PENALTY! SOUTH AFRICA 6-6 Lions (Handre Pollard penalty, 31 minutes)
Cleanly struck, but from quite a distance on the angle...it’s there! A fine kick from Pollard, putting just enough on it to clear the crossbar from wide on the right. Level pegging once more.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 30 minutes
Makazole Mapimpi! He was denied earlier at the breakdown when he perhaps might have earned a penalty, and this time is on the opposite side with Cheslin Kolbe in the bin, but shows perfect technique again as the South Africans smother Stuart Hogg.
Penalty their way, and Handre Pollard fancies another go...
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 29 minutes
Pilfered! Maro Itoje gets up highest to nick another lineout for the Lions.
Delightful handling to the right and their are brief glimpses of an opening for the Lions as they offload well, but South Africa drift well, and Stuart Hogg is brought to floor.
Around the corner...superb from Kwagga Smith! The replacement back row stands up his man, locks on to the ball and plants himself. The Lions fail to remove him and it will be a South Africa scrum.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 28 minutes
This is a proper mess at the breakdown now, with the Springboks spoiling the Lions’ ball and the Lions just about clinging on. Questionable legality from both sides but on we go.
Stuart Hogg peels out to fill the Duhan van der Merwe void as best he can on the left wing, but finds his options limited, chipping over the player confronting him but then watching it bounce into touch.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 27 minutes
Handre Pollard does very, very well to keep his eyes on the ball as Lions leap in front of him, and the fly-half claims the mark. He punts the ball downfield.
The Lions win the lineout through Alun Wyn Jones and play on near midfield, but fail to find much progress.
YELLOW CARD! Cheslin Kolbe is sent to the sin bin! South Africa 3-6 Lions, 25 minutes
It’s yellow. On balance, about the right decision. Kolbe joins van der Merwe on the naughty step, with one wing suddenly looking very bare.
“I’m very happy to keep going with yellow cards, or even further,” says O’Keeffe to the captains. “We are not talking right now, Siya and Alun, I am being clear with my message.”
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 25 minutes
Tom Curry and Maro Itoje had towered over Kolbe in fury, with the South African’s teammates arriving swiftly to support him. There is nothing else worth looking at in depth, rules Ben O’Keeffe, so it will just be a single judgement...
South Africa 3-6 Lions
Kolbe has his eyes on the ball but Murray has leapt high above him, and fallen on his front over the top of him, extending an arm to save his face. Kolbe didn’t jump, which will not count in his favour - he was never in a realistic position to catch the ball.
The officials appear to have come to a decision on that, and now will look at the fracas that followed.
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