And here’s Warren Gatland: “We’re disappointed with that second half, well done to South Africa … we’ve got a Cup final next week, 1-1, so it’s pretty exciting really. We were happy at half-time, but couldn’t get any momentum in the second half. They did a good job slowing things down, we gave away some soft penalties. We’ll go back and train hard, we’ve been talking about staying tight and together. It’s not going to be tough to get over, we just need to put that disappointment behind us.”
“The aerial stuff, we didn’t get any return from that, any scraps.” On refereeing decisions, he says his team will have a look over the tapes, but he won’t be going on social media to air his views. “We’ll get the referee’s thought process on some of those decisions.” Gatland isn’t up for discussing changes yet, but accepts “fresh faces” may be needed. “Some of the guys who came off the bench didn’t get much of a chance to impact the game.”
Springboks captain Sia Kolisi: “It’s been a week and a half, the toughest week I’ve ever faced with everything happening … we made a lot of mistakes last week, and we put all our focus into controlling what we could in this game.
“The pressure was huge, even more than the World Cup – for me, I handle pressure by praying, reading, spending time with my family. You can’t control everything, but we can on the field. Lineouts, scrums, not giving away penalties, and just going all-out for it last week.”
We’re hoping to hear from Warren Gatland and perhaps Jacques Nienaber shortly. The actual South Africa head coach has been the forgotten man amid Rassie Erasmus’ antics, but he got his tactics spot on in the second half.
Here’s the Lions’ Robbie Henshaw: “Test match rugby – momentum swings either way. Credit to South Africa, they got some momentum in the arm-wrestle … those small things, the 50/50s, aerial battle, went their way today. Credit to our lads for staying in it, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“1-1, all to play for next week, top-level rugby – everyone will be up for it,” he adds, sidestepping questions about any of the refereeing decisions.
Full time! South Africa 27-9 British & Irish Lions
A spiky, stop-start first half ended with the Lions 9-6 ahead, but South Africa took control with two tries in a sobering second half for the tourists. The big calls didn’t go the Lions’ way, but the Springboks were dominant after half-time and deserve the win. Fancy a series decider next Saturday, then?
Penalty! South Africa 27-9 Lions
One more penalty, and Pollard adds gloss to the final score with another three points. South Africa win the second half 21-0!
77 mins: The TMO is checking a couple of South Africa challenges – Mostert on Farrell, and Am on Elliot Daly. Both tackles appear to be fair, and now the Springboks have a penalty for holding on.
Penalty! South Africa 24-9 Lions (Pollard)
More dominance from the reinforced Springbok pack, another penalty – and Pollard converts.
74 mins: If the Lions’ fightback last week was impressive, this is equally as good. South Africa 15-0 up in the second half, and dominant pretty much everywhere.
73 mins: Beirne replaced Lawes in the Lions pack, while Marco van Staden is on for Kolisi.
72 mins: Tadhg Beirne comes on, the final Lions change. De Jager wins a high ball, but the Lions do get the ball back – only for Marx to redistribute it at the breakdown. It’s another Boks penalty, and Kolisi heads off, his day’s work done.
Penalty! South Africa 21-9 Lions (Pollard)
He’s missed two penalties from roughly this spot – but not this time. The Springboks move 12 points clear!
69 mins: Another penalty, for collapsing the scrum. Not much at all has gone right for the Lions in the second half. Pollard will have a go at the posts …
68 mins: Another sloppy penalty from the Lions, a third in the last five minutes. Damian Willemse comes on for the first try scorer Mapimpi. The decision to bring De Jager on, and move Mostert into the back row, has worked very well indeed.
66 mins: There will be plenty of talk about Erasmus’ video monologue this week, and the key decisions that have gone against the Lions – but credit must go to the Springboks for the tactical changes and creative play that have turned the game in this second half.
64 mins: De Klerk hurt his hip playing that diagonal pass, and is replaced by Herschel Jantjies. The Lions again struggle under a high ball, Watson slapping it back into play. Elliot Daly comes on for Chris Harris in the Lions back field.
We’ll hear a lot about that decision, and Nigel Owens said he would not have awarded a try, as Am didn’t get a clear hand on the ball. I don’t think it’s the most outrageous decision, but Warren Gatland will probably take a different view.
TRY! South Africa 18-9 Lions (Am 62′)
Well, then. The replays show Am failing to get his hand on the ball, then controlling it with his forearm. It’s a marginal call, but the TMO finds no reason to overturn the decision. Pollard adds the two points, and South Africa are in control!
As the Lions try to patch things up on the move, the Springboks creep further and further forward. Ten metres out, De Klerk bisects the Lions defence with a brilliant kick, and Lukhanyo Am races through to ground the ball! The on-field decision is a try, but the TMO will look at the grounding …
60 mins: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch are on as South Africa call on their “bomb squad” to freshen the front row. Gatland, meanwhile, turns to Taulupe Faletau, replacing Jack Conan at No 8.
58 mins: Lions scrum, and it’s time for Ali Price to come on in place of Conor Murray with the Lions losing the aerial battle in this half.
57 mins: The Lions change their entire front row with Owens, Sutherland and Sinckler on. At fly-half, Owen Farrell is on for Dan Biggar.
55 mins: An odd, low lineout ball finds Wyn Jones before Harris gets a useful touch under a high ball. South Africa bring on Lood de Jager for the pugnacious Jasper Wiese – bringing another back-row titan onto the field.
54 mins: It’s been a good second half for the hosts, who have edged ahead and look to have the Lions on the back foot at the breakdown. I wonder if Gatland is preparing to make changes.
53 mins: Hogg claims Pollard’s high kick before Wyn Jones is flattened by Wiese, left like a felled oak on the turf. The Boks No 8 is involved again, grappling the ball from Henshaw, who knocks on.
Missed penalty! South Africa 11-9 Lions
Dan Biggar opts to go for the post. He’s 3 for 3 from the left side, but from the right hand side he hits the far post! It stays in play, but a brilliant bit of handling from Mostert helps South Africa clear the danger.
50 mins: Hogg carries into the South Africa 22 but as South Africa regroup, Kwagga Smith rips the ball out and bolts away. The referee had already blown his whistle though, and the Lions win another penalty …
48 mins: So, after a first half of making himself an absolute nuisance, Mapimpi reverts to his usual wing play in superb fashion. The Lions edge the next scrum, however, and gain territory downfield …
Missed conversion! After that perfect kick to set up Mapimpi, Pollard drags the conversion wide and South Africa stay just two points ahead. From the restart, the Springboks spill the ball. A useful 60 seconds for the Lions …
TRY! South Africa 11-9 Lions (Mapimpi 45)
He kicks for the corner and the Lions look short-handed. Makazole Mapimpi collects, barrels through Hogg and touches down. The first try of the game goes to the world champions …
44 mins: Hogg flaps unconvincingly at a high kick, but the Lions hold firm. There’s no room down the right flank either, so it’s worked back to Pollard …
42 mins: South Africa win a penalty from a scrum; Pollard kicks to touch and they have a lineout. This is their bread and butter – they win the lineout and surge forward, forcing their way into the Lions 22 …
“Everyone seems to be of the opinion that he should have been sent off – apart from Erasmus of course,” notes Diana Powell. One of the strangest things was the officials’ assertion that Murray landed on his back. He did not.
Here we go again
The second half is under way, the Lions a long old 40 minutes from winning the series.
Stepping away from the battlefield and regrouping in the dressing room, the Lions should feel reasonably confident. They were the stronger side in the second half in the first Test, and the warm-up against a de facto Springbok side.
The tourists have also looked marginally more likely to make something happen in the brief spells when either side has been able to play; the question is how much that energy-sapping, hour-long first half has taken out of them.
Half time: South Africa 6-9 Lions
That’s half time, and the Lions lead 9-6 – but that doesn’t tell a quarter of the story. It’s been an absolutely ferocious battle with a number of big refereeing calls, not least the decision not to send off Cheslin Kolbe. The dial is only going one way in the second half, so stick around.
39 mins: The scrum has to be reset – it looked like South Africa folded first. The Lions will feel they haven’t had the rub of the green so far, but they lead as the hooter sounds …
38 mins: It’s an hour since kick-off, and there are still 90 seconds to play in the first half. The Springboks have a scrum in midfield …
In the commentary box, Owens is asked what is the most queries he ever received from a coach after a game. “63!” he replies, naming no names.
Penalty! South Africa 6-9 Lions (Biggar)
Biggar kicks from right in front of the posts – the officials will be grateful for that. It’s been absolutely relentless so far.
No try! South Africa 6-6 Lions
Henshaw did so well to turn in mid-air and even attempt to ground it – but Kolisi did even better to rip the ball away. We go back for a penalty against Mbonambi, who simply went through two or three Lions players in the build-up.
Is this a Lions try? Lions ball, and an advantage for De Klerk’s tackle on Murray. The scrum-half sees a chance to lift a kick close to the posts – and Robbie Henshaw is under it! Under pressure from Kolisi, he twists to try and ground the ball. The on-field decision is no try, but it’s going to be checked …
34 mins: Van der Merwe is back on, giving the Lions a man advantage for the next minute – and Biggar kicks for the corner! Lions lineout, but they lose the ball – Etzebeth collects, then is forced back over his own try-line by the marauding Itoje. We’ll restart with a Lions scrum – this feels like a big moment …
32 mins: Itoje and Tadhg Furlong barrel forwards, taking the Lions to the edge of the Boks’ 22 – and Makazole Mapimpi is penalised for hanging on to the ball!
Penalty! South Africa 6-6 Lions (Pollard 32′)
This time, there’s no mistake and the score, which has felt a little irrelevant at times in this half, is level again.
30 mins: South Africa kick away and swarm forward as the Lions try to return, forcing the Lions to give away a penalty at the breakdown. Pollard, 1 from 2 so far, lines up the kick 30 metres out …
29 mins: Itoje almost rips the ball away at the lineout and when the Lions do get it back, the backs launch a nice flowing move towards the right flank. There are no gaps in the green wall, however.
27 mins: Back to some actual rugby, with Watson getting his first carry and the Lions working through the phases. Hogg tries a grubber kick down the left flank, but it’ll be a Boks lineout.
Yellow card for South Africa (Kolbe)
Both teams down to 14, but some will feel Kolbe has got off lightly there. Murray’s landing may have saved him. O’Keeffe has another word with Kolisi and Wyn Jones, for all the good it’ll do.
Murray was still a foot in the air when Kolbe, his eyes firmly on the ball, clattered into him at knee height. The fly-half was upended, but put a hand out to avoid a nasty fall. It’ll be a card, the question is what colour.
In the aftermatch, Curry shoved Kolbe while Maro Itoje was also involved. Dan Biggar also got a huge shove from Mbonambi and is left sprawled on the deck. What a mess!
25 mins: An exchange of kicks, and as Murray goes to collect, he is taken out in the air by Cheslin Kolbe! The pot, lid rattling away throughout, has now totally boiled over, with collars grabbed, pushing and shoving everywhere. Plenty for the officials to unpack …
24 mins: Ben O’Keeffe has a word with South Africa about their lineout shape – he’s going to be busy today. The Boks then gift possession with a poor throw, allowing Murray to clear …
Yellow card for Lions (van der Merwe)
There have been some marginal calls in this half, but that wasn’t really one of them – it was a rush of blood from Duhan van der Merwe. The Lions are down to 14 men for the next 10 minutes.
23 mins: South Africa pick up a couple of advantages, and as the ball is worked wide to Kolbe, he’s tripped by Van der Merwe. The TMO will have a look, but this looks like a yellow card…