CAPE TOWN : In beating the British & Irish Lions on Saturday and edging the sequence 2-1, South Africa added to their World Cup success of 2019 however with little of the conviction and beguiling nature of their victory in Japan.
The Springboks defeated the Lions 2-1 after a slim 19-16 win of their third and decisive take a look at on the Cape City Stadium, with the 37-year-old Morne Steyn reprising his profitable kick of 12 years earlier when South Africa additionally squeezed out a sequence success.
This time, South Africa rode their luck and had some good lucky in getting victory on the finish of one other attritional match.
All three assessments have been intense contests with little flowing play though the Lions made a good effort in Saturday’s final recreation to swing the ball. However they have been undone by poor selections at essential junctures and let success slip by way of their fingers.
After six weeks cloistered away in a bio-secure bubble, it was a merciless defeat for the vacationers, with South Africa’s physicality and stout defence telling in the long run.
Though the ferocity of the take a look at battle was compelling at occasions, this won’t be a Lions tour remembered with a lot fondness. Moments of rugby magic, equivalent to Cheslin Kolbe’s attempt for South Africa, proved uncommon.
To be truthful, the tour had little going for it from the beginning, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and devoid of the tens of 1000’s of supporters who historically comply with the Lions and guarantee a rollicking ambiance.
The Lions arrived in Johannesburg simply as South Africa was grappling with a 3rd wave of novel coronavirus infections and circumstances inside each camps threatened the tour, with one provincial opponent pulling out and the schedule having to be modified.
Empty stadiums and all of the groups concerned having to cloister in bio-secure bubbles stripped away the attraction of touring, however all camps did their finest to handle troublesome conditions.
The gamesmanship forward of the take a look at sequence added a nasty component, resulting in an admonishment from World Rugby to each the Lions and South Africa for questioning match officers.
South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus did his popularity as one of many recreation’s main lights no favour with a unprecedented 62-minute video, selecting out 26 officiating errors after the Springboks misplaced the primary take a look at, that was allegedly leaked.
Whereas it drew a lot criticism for undermining the values of the sport, there was additionally dwelling sympathy for his complaints. He’s now going through a World Rugby disciplinary listening to.
The Lions departed for dwelling on Sunday with an attraction from coach Warren Gatland to the house unions and golf equipment to permit extra preparation time for future excursions, beginning with Australia in 2025.
Having not performed a take a look at in 20 months earlier than July, South Africa now transfer straight on to the Rugby Championship with two assessments towards Argentina in Port Elizabeth over the subsequent fortnight earlier than they’re scheduled to journey to tackle Australia and New Zealand.
(Enhancing by Clare Fallon; modifying by Clare Fallon)