Lions roar back after half-time to beat Boks in first test

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
British & Irish Lions’ Dan Biggar kicks a penalty at Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
British & Irish Lions’ Dan Biggar kicks a penalty at Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Mike Hutchings/Reuters


Dan Biggar’s boot proved the difference as the British & Irish Lions came from behind to beat South Africa 22-17 in an attritional first test in Cape Town on Saturday.

Biggar kicked four penalties and a conversion for a 14-point personal tally to take the Lions to victory after they were 12-3 down at half-time.

Luke Cowan-Dickie scored the Lions’ only try, with Owen Farrell adding a key late penalty. The Springboks’ points came from a Faf de Klerk try and four first-half penalties from Handré Pollard.

READ:Aphelele Fassi: The man who comes alive on weekends

The two teams meet again next Saturday in the second test, also at Cape Town Stadium.

The Lions roared back into the contest with a vastly improved second half display as they gained the physical advantage and put the Boks under pressure with the high ball, which turned the tide in their favour.

Siya Kolisi attempts to hold off Robbie Henshaw’s
Siya Kolisi attempts to hold off Robbie Henshaw’s tackle during the first rugby union test between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium. Photo: Halden Krog/AP

The home side made too many errors as they visibly wilted in the closing quarter, stung by a lack of match practice and just one test in 20 months since they lifted the World Cup trophy in November 2019.

After a breathless opening 15 minutes, the Boks were the first on the board when Pollard landed a penalty, and then added another following a late tackle on De Klerk by Sale Sharks team-mate Tom Curry.

READ: Covid havoc in Bok camp

The hugely impressive Maro Itoje effected two excellent steals on the ground at the ruck, but the Boks continued to apply pressure, and Elliot Daly gave away a penalty at the ruck and Pollard made him pay.

There was a rare line-break at the end of the first half by centre Robbie Henshaw, but he spilled the ball forward under pressure from Willie le Roux when he had options for the pass on either side of him for what would have been an easy score.

An invigorated Lions turned down two kickable penalties early in the second half and their ambition paid dividends when Cowan-Dickie scored from a maul that was too powerful for the home defence.

READ: Side Entry | Explosive Willemse is Bomb Squad material

Le Roux looked to have hit back almost immediately with a breakaway try from Makazole Mapimpi’s kick, but he was adjudged to have been marginally in front of the kicker and the effort was ruled out.

But the Boks did get their score – Mapimpi again with the kick ahead and this time De Klerk put the on finishing touches after there was a suspicion of a knock-on from Pieter-Steph du Toit in the build-up.

But this time South African television match official (TMO) Marius Jonker confirmed the try was good.

Biggar kicked two more penalties to reduce the deficit to a single point again, before the Lions led for the first time just past the hour-mark from another penalty as the tiring Boks’ error count started to mount.

The home side had another try ruled out by the TMO for a knock-on in the build-up to Damian de Allende’s score, but Farrell added another penalty with two minutes on the clock and it was the tourists who won the arm-wrestle. – Reuters


Delivering the 

news you need

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24


Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that SA’s vaccine passport plans are coming on. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
We cannot be forced
32% - 36 votes
It’s critical
20% - 23 votes
Vaccines save lives
48% - 55 votes