Springboks level Lions series with a win in Cape Town
In a tense second British & Irish Lions test match, five Scots entered battle tonight in Cape Town which saw the world champions South Africa take the series to one a piece with a 27-9 win.
Both Stuart Hogg and Duhan van der Merwe retained their places in the Lions starting line-up from the victory in the opening Test last weekend, while Chris Harris was called into the starting XV. Ali Price and Rory Sutherland both made appearances in the second half from the bench.
It was a physical opening 40 minutes as passions and tensions ran high on both sides with three penalties from Dan Biggar giving the Lions the interval advantage.
Within the first few minutes of the game, Harris was quick to make a mark in his Test debut demonstrating his defensive skillset with a powerful tackle on his South African counterpart, Lukhanyo Am.
Along with intense physical phases of play, the ariel battle was highly contested with both Hogg and van der Merwe targeted under the high ball many times throughout the game.
Whilst Hogg saw out the full 80-minutes of action, van der Merwe’s time was curtailed, when in the 22nd minute of the game, he was yellow carded following a kick of the leg which unfortunately saw Springbok winger Cheslie Kolbe tripped.
The Lions were up by just three points in the first half (6-9), and it was set to be a serious contest in the second 40, with both sides still looking for the first try of the fixture.
Unfortunately, the opening try wasn’t to be for the Lions, as South Africa’s Makazole Mapimpi crossed the whitewash just four minutes into the second half.
Some ten minutes later Sutherland entered the forward pack coming on for 25 minutes of action, replacing Tadhg Furlong. Ali Price was the final Scot to be introduced to the fray, replacing Connor Murray in the 57th minute of the game. During his stint, the scrum-half made four tackles.
A second try scored by Am, followed by three further penalties goaled by Handre Pollard saw the world champions secure their first win of the series.
It’s now all to play for in the final Test match next Saturday (7 August) as history awaits The British & Irish Lions who will be looking to follow on from the Lions of 1997 with a series win against the Springboks.