Lions battle again to clinch sequence opener

Lions fight back to clinch series opener

The aerial battle was keenly contested all through
South Africa: (12) 17
Try: De Klerk Pens: Pollard 4
British and Irish Lions: (3) 22
Try: Cowan-Dickie Con: Biggar Pens: Biggar 4, Farrell

The British and Irish Lions drew first blood within the sequence in opposition to South Africa after combating again from 9 factors down at half-time to win.

The vacationers had been adrift on the break after Handre Pollard’s 4 penalties.

But hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie scrambled over from quick vary 4 minutes after the break to vary the tide.

Faf de Klerk’s scrappy strive briefly restored the world champions’ cushion however Dan Biggar’s boot and the vacationers’ superior conditioning noticed them residence.

The Lions survived a late onslaught when Owen Farrell’s penalty three minutes from time was adopted by a determined last-ditch assault from the hosts as they looked for a score-tying strive in useless.

With the subsequent two Tests to be performed on the similar sea-level venue, slightly than Johannesburg as initially deliberate, the Lions will return to Cape Town Stadium in seven days searching for the kill and a primary sequence win in South Africa because the iconic 1997 success.

South Africa’s winless streak within the metropolis now stretches again to September 2014. The hosts, who’ve performed just one Test in 20 months, will surprise how the match and momentum slipped away from them after a managed and composed first half.

Henshaw fails to make uncommon first-half likelihood stick

Robbie Henshaw
Henshaw didn’t discover a help runner as he burst via on the finish of the primary half

Twelve years in the past, the Lions had been caught chilly by a Springbok blitz of hits and heft within the first Test. On that event they conceded a strive inside the primary 5 minutes and had been 19 factors down early within the second half.

Lukhanyo Am landed an enormous hit on Elliot Daly in midfield, however, total, the Lions of 2021 greater than matched their hosts bodily within the opening exchanges.

Instead, South Africa’s shrewd kicking sport, forcing the Lions to play from deep, and the vacationers’ occasional indiscipline, Tom Curry and Elliot Daly chief among the many culprits, gave Handre Pollard 4 pictures at objective and the Boks a 12-Three lead on the half hour.

Biggar and Elliot Daly each missed probabilities to chop the deficit from the tee, earlier than Robbie Henshaw squandered one of the best opening both aspect had created within the remaining minute of a cagey half.

The Lions centre hared clear on a blind-side break after Biggar’s fast fingers beat South Africa’s rush defence. However, with choices on both shoulder, Henshaw could not get a cross away earlier than full-back Willie Le Roux dislodged the ball with an outstanding cowl sort out.

It appeared it is likely to be pricey. Instead it was an indication of issues to come back.

The sport opened up within the second half with Cowan-Dickie burrowing over in the back of a rolling maul that steamrolled via the center of the Springbok pack 4 minutes after the interval. The Lions not often appeared again.

The TMO takes centre stage

Lions coach Warren Gatland had positioned South African video official Marius Jonker beneath the microscope earlier within the week, questioning why there was no different impartial TMO when New Zealander Brendon Pickerill was unable to journey to South Africa.

The highlight duly swung on Jonker with two hair’s-width calls within the house of two minutes after Cowan-Dickie’s rating.

South African dancers took up place within the stands in a match behind closed doorways

First, Jonker overturned referee Nic Berry’s on-field choice, ruling out Willie Le Roux’s strive for an offside that solely he may see for sure.

Shortly after, Jonker couldn’t see any proof of a knock-on from Pieter-Steph du Toit as Makazole Mapimpi’s kick forward brought on chaos and De Klerk dotted down within the fray.

But that rating couldn’t cease the momentum slipping away from South Africa.

The hosts, enjoying solely their second Test since their Rugby World Cup remaining win in November 2019, appeared lengthy on fatigue and quick on stamina.

Their much-vaunted bomb-squad entrance row – Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx and Steven Kitshoff – didn’t ship the anticipated edge within the scrum as they arrived off the bench.

And Lions’ coach Warren Gatland’s religion that South Africa would fade in the event that they saved the tempo excessive and the ball in play was ultimately borne out to the delight of all the squad who spilled onto the pitch on the remaining whistle.

More to observe.

South Africa: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, De Klerk; Nche, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Smith

Replacements: Marx, Kitshoff, Malherbe, De Jager, Elstadt, H Jantjies, E Jantjies, Willemse

British and Irish Lions: Hogg; A Watson, Daly, Henshaw, Van Der Merwe; Biggar, Price; Sutherland, Cowan-Dickie, Furlong, Itoje, AW Jones (capt), Lawes, Curry, Conan.

Replacements: Owens, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beirne, H Watson, Murray, Farrell, L Williams.

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