Lions roar back to down Springboks in first Test

The British and Irish Lions have roared back to beat world champions South Africa 22-17 in a Cape Town comeback win, with Dan Biggar’s boot proving the key. Dan Biggar’s boot proved the difference as the British and Irish Lions came from behind to beat world champions South Africa 22-17 in an attritional first Test […]

Lions roar back to down Springboks in first Test

The British and Irish Lions have roared back to beat world champions South Africa 22-17 in a Cape Town comeback win, with Dan Biggar’s boot proving the key.

Dan Biggar’s boot proved the difference as the British and Irish Lions came from behind to beat world champions South Africa 22-17 in an attritional first Test match 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 halftime on Saturday but came back strongly in the second half.

Dan Biggar kicks a penalty in the first Test against the Boks (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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

The two teams meet again next Saturday in the second Test, also at the 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.

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 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 teammate Tom Curry.

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 Luke Cowan-Dickie scored from a maul that was too powerful for the home defence.

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 ruled out.

But the Boks did get their score, Mapimpi again with the kick ahead and this time de Klerk put the 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 TV match official Marius Jonker confirmed the try was good.

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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.

Source : The Roar More   

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Boks snub Lion king Gatland’s ‘mind games’

South Africa say they won’t fall into the trap of getting involved with the “mind games” of British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland before the eagerly-awaited opening Test clash. Head coach Gatland, looking forward to Saturday’s heavyweight battle up front, claimed the Lions had already dented the Springboks’ ego at the set piece despite […]

Boks snub Lion king Gatland’s ‘mind games’

South Africa say they won’t fall into the trap of getting involved with the “mind games” of British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland before the eagerly-awaited opening Test clash.

Head coach Gatland, looking forward to Saturday’s heavyweight battle up front, claimed the Lions had already dented the Springboks’ ego at the set piece despite South Africa A having toppled the tourists 17-13 last week.

The Springboks will host the Lions in Cape Town amid an increasingly tense off-field backdrop with the tourists frustrated by South African Marius Jonker acting as Television Match Official (TMO).

Gatland believes the Lions have already ruffled some feathers in the home forward pack, but Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick delivered a withering assessment of that stance on Friday.

“We were happy as a Springbok team; if you look at the most important stat in the game, which is the final score, we won the game,” said Stick.

“So I’m not too sure what it is that they dented.

“I’m not going to fall into that trick of playing the mind games, I’m not a mind games person. The game is going to be played between four lines.

“If Gatland is talking about the egos, he doesn’t really know much about us as South Africans.

“So I’m not going too deep on that. Let’s wait and see after the game tomorrow.”

(Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

South Africa-born Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe has already been braced for any Springboks’ sledging by the Lions coaching staff.

But South Africa captain Siya Kolisi insisted the Springboks will not be indulging in any such antics.

Asked for his response to suggestions van der Merwe could expect some verbals, Kolisi said: “Well you clearly haven’t had anything from our side.

“We’ve never been that kind of team and will never be that kind of team.

“We’re going about our business, focusing on the game and we’d never focus on one player.”

The Boks’ back line coach Stick insisted that, in different circumstances, the home side would even have been keen to mix with their fellow countryman this week.

Stick added: “You know very well that we are good people as South Africans; if it wasn’t for the pandemic, we’d have surely invited him for a braai.”

South Africa’s rugby director Rassie Erasmus will continue his role as water boy in the weekend’s Test opener.

Lions boss Gatland’s anger has been piqued by Erasmus’ pitch-side duties, hinting that the Boks boss has at times wandered onto the field in breaks of play without any water.

Stick confirmed that Erasmus will continue to water boy this weekend however, in a move that will doubtless frustrate the tourists.

“To keep it short and sweet, Rassie will be running the water tomorrow,” said Stick.

Source : The Roar More   

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