Springboks bounce back to level series
MATCH REPORT: Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am scored second-half tries as the Springboks beat the British & Irish Lions 27-9 to win the second Test at the Cape Town Stadium and level the series.
Handre Pollard added five penalties and a conversion for a 17-point contribution on Saturday 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.
*To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
The result sets up a decider next Saturday after the Lions had won a similarly 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.
They scored 21 unanswered points in the second period, a reversal from the first Test when it was the Lions who roared to the win with forward dominance after halftime.
The Lions were clearly fired up from the start, led by captain Alun Wyn Jones, as they piled into tackles and beat the Boks back, but it was the home side who took the lead from an early penalty.
Biggar then slotted two penalties to put the Lions in front before both sides were reduced to 14 players within a few minutes of each other.
First Duhan van der Merwe received a yellow card for a cynical kick at the shins of Bok wing Cheslin Kolbe, before the latter was also sent to the sin-bin when he upended Lions scrumhalf Conor Murray in the air.
It was a contentious moment which could have seen him given a red card, but he was perhaps saved by the fact he had his eyes on the ball all the way and there was a lack of malicious intent.
South Africa levelled through a Pollard penalty just past the half-hour mark, but Biggar added to his tally and the Lions led 9-6 at the break.
The Boks, crucially, struck first in the second period when they swarmed into the Lions 22, and Pollard’s cross-kick was collected by Mapimpi on the right wing and he was able to score the first try of the game.
Both teams emptied their benches onto the pitch just before the hour mark, and it was the Boks who came out the stronger.
They drove a maul a full 25 metres into the Lions’ 22, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk’s clever grubber kick was pounced on by Am just before it went over the dead-ball line and the home side led by nine points.
They continued to force the Lions into errors at the breakdown and set piece, and Pollard extended the lead with his boot.
For South Africa:
Tries: Mapimpi, Am
Pens: Pollard 4
For British and Irish Lions
Pens: Biggar 3
Yellow cards: Duhan van der Merwe (Britsh and Irish Lions, 22 – foul play) Cheslin Kolbe (Springboks, 24 – foul and dangerous play)
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Marco Van Staden, 21 Albertus Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Ali Price, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Elliot Daly.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)