The British and Irish Lions suffered a 2-1 sequence defeat to South Africa in extremely dramatic vogue as Morne Steyn kicked a late penalty to clinch a 19-16 win for the Springboks in Cape City.
In what was a nail-biting end, the hosts fought off a relentless barrage of stress from Warren Gatland’s males earlier than substitute Steyn kicked the successful factors within the dying embers of the match to disclaim the Lions a primary sequence win on the continent since 1997.
In a merciless accident, the 37-year-old additionally sealed the destiny of the 2009 Lions when he booted one other late penalty that gave South Africa an unassailable 2-Zero lead in a 28-25 win within the second Take a look at.
Impressed by Finn Russell who had changed the injured Dan Biggar, the Lions produced their finest rugby of the sequence in a first-half they lit up with off-loads, tempo and ambition.
The one concern was that Ken Owens’ 19th-minute strive as a part of a 10-6 interval lead was a disappointing return given the time spent within the opposition 22 and so it proved in a tense third quarter dominated by the Springboks.
Cheslin Kolbe struck with an excellent end to propel South Africa again in entrance and set-up a nerve-shredding climax to the sequence as Russell, Handre Pollard after which Steyn took over from the kicking tee.
However trailing 16-13, the Lions rolled the cube by choosing contact as a substitute of one other three factors and the gamble backfired when a scrum gained after they’d been held up over the road noticed the Springboks win a penalty to alleviate the stress.
They didn’t make the identical mistake twice, nonetheless, with Russell finishing a long-range try to stage the rating with 5 minutes left, however there was nonetheless time for Steyn to strike.
In a determined blow for Biggar, his departure quickly after lacking a shot at aim introduced on Russell who made an instantaneous affect with the ball in hand as soon as Pollard had despatched a kick crusing between the uprights to attract first blood.
The Lions had been gaining an important foothold on the scrum and after they squeezed the hosts as soon as extra, referee Mathieu Raynal awarded a penalty that Russell landed comfortably.
And Russell was on the coronary heart of a Lions assault that swept them downfield, sharp traces and slipped passes doing the harm and forcing one other kickable penalty, however this time Alun Wyn Jones opted for contact.
The gamble paid off as Owens was pushed over from the line-out and with Russell on track with the conversion, the lead stretched to 10-3.
Liam Williams ignored an overlap that will have led to a sure rating for Josh Adams because the Lions, guided by Russell, continued to make floor with the ball in hand earlier than a second try at scoring a maul strive ended with Raynal’s whistle.
Wyn Jones, the vacationers’ handiest scrummaging loosehead, was clutching his shoulder in discomfort and South Africa pressured a penalty on the set-piece that Pollard nailed.
The primary-half ended with the Springboks furiously defending their line with Siya Kolisi coming to their rescue with a vital steal.
Wyn Jones lastly departed together with his harm quickly after the interval and it turned the Lions’ flip to climate a storm as South Africa pounded away with out success, their disappointment compounded by a missed penalty by Pollard.
A excessive sort out by Russell on Kolbe was whistled however as soon as extra Pollard couldn’t hit the goal and with 55 minutes on the clock, the vacationers lastly escaped their half with a protracted kick from their mercurial fly-half.
However catastrophe struck virtually instantly when a hoisted ball bounced off Jasper Wiese’s shoulder and fell to Lukhanyo Am, who fed Willie Le Roux.
The previous Wasps full-back did his job completely as he drew his man and fed Kolbe who twisted and turned by despairing tackles by Williams and Cowan-Dickie to attain.
Russell punished an infringement by Wiese to stage the rating however Steyn changed Pollard and his first act was to land a penalty.
The Lions had been held up over the road and couldn’t capitalise on a five-metre scrum, however they had been again on the entrance foot by a rampaging break by Robbie Henshaw.
Russell then discovered the posts however Steyn had the ultimate say as he returned to hang-out the Lions.