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 3-6 Lions, 24 minutes
Stolen! Pilfered in the air and back on the Lions’ side. A crucial lineout grab from the Lions and they clear their lines.
Oh dear! Conor Murray goes tumbling over the top of a chasing Cheslin Kolbe and this looks nasty! We are going back upstairs, but the players are going to have a proper scuffle first. Tom Curry has charged in to start this - that may well be looked at, too.
YELLOW CARD! Duhan van der Merwe is sent to the sin bin! South Africa 3-6 Lions, 23 minutes
This will be yellow. Van der Merwe trips Kolbe long after the wing had collected a bobbling ball, and Ben O’Keeffe is left with little option. The referee goes to his pocket and sends van der Merwe for a ten-minute sit down.
Van der Merwe may claim he was trying to fly-hack the loose ball, but he followed through quite nastily on Kolbe. The Lions drop to 14 players; Handre Pollard finds the touchline on the edge of the Lions’ 22.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 22 minutes
Is that a trip? I think it is. South Africa are loose in possession with Handre Pollard throwing a curiously inaccurate pass, but as Cheslin Kolbe collects he might have caught a stray leg from Duhan van der Merwe. The officials are going to have a look...
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 21 minutes
Pieter-Steph du Toit is going off! Wow. A huge blow for South Africa in this first half as du Toit is led from the field. He landed on his arm in a tackle from Duhan van der Merwe in the opening minutes and has looked uncomfortable ever since, and the blindside is going to have to go off.
He looks distraught, and in real discomfort. That might please him - South Africa destroy the Lions scrum to win a penalty. Kwagga Smith is on.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 20 minutes
We suspected there would be plenty of kicking and this opening quarter has been true to type, the Lions twice getting up well to contest high kicks, first Duhan van der Merwe winning one back and then Dan Biggar’s bomb causing Willie Le Roux all sorts of problems in the backfield. He fumbles backwards but the South Africans have to scramble to cling on.
Penalty to the Lions? No! Jack Conan appeared in a strong position over the ball but Ben O’Keeffe said he already had it and was wishing to milk the infringement, so when the ball fails to emerge it will be a South African scrum to restart.
MISSED PENALTY! South Africa 3-6 Lions, 19 minutes
From the left, Handre Pollard to level things...
Not to be! He drags it ever so slightly to the left and it drifts by.
South Africa 3-6 Lions, 18 minutes
South Africa’s ruck intensity has been very good so far. A well-weighted high kick is slightly too deep to contest but the players arrive en masse to flood the tackle area and drive the Lions back, forcing Tom Curry to stray offside to retrieve the vulnerable ball. Penalty their way...
PENALTY! South Africa 3-6 LIONS (Dan Biggar penalty, 17 minutes)
Another simple enough one for Dan Biggar, slightly further out and slightly further left, but a confident, firm strike to bisect the uprights.
South Africa 3-3 Lions, 15 minutes
The Lions are varying their kicking game here, this time Dan Biggar looking for the large limbs of Maro Itoje withheld on the right touchline after the lineout. He finds him, but South Africa have the target-man marked well.
Penalty to the Lions again, but Cheslin Kolbe is down. Ooh, that’s nasty! Kolbe goes in too high on Tom Curry and the two bash heads. Kolbe a little lucky not to be sanctioned - he got his technique all wrong. Both men remain on the field, incidentally - no Head Injury Assessment for either.
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