Morne Steyn landed a penalty with the last kick of the game to give South Africa victory in the second Test and wrap up the series against the Lions.
Rugby can be cruel when a team has done all they think is necessary to force a draw, they have it wrenched away in the last minute. However the Lions gave away too many penalties and then field position in the second half thus putting themselves under pressure. No one should lose sight that this was one hell of a fine test match.
The first half and the Lions got of to the best possible start, 30 seconds on the clock and a clumsy and possibly ultimately costly finger in the face saw Schalk Burger in the bin for 10 minutes. During this period the Lions scored first on 2 minutes from an offside Stephen Jones slotted the penalty 0-3. This was followed on 6 minutes by a well worked try to Rob Kearney, with Jones making the conversion 0-10. JP Pietersen went over for the Boks on 11 minutes to reduce the arrears to 5-10. But it was all the Lions at this stage, Jones kicking a penalty on 14 minutes 5-13 and then the pack even destroying the beast and getting a penalty when facing a 5 meter scrum. A drop goal by Jones on 35 minutes left the Lions leading 16-5 just before the break, but a Francois Steyn penalty on the half-time whistle took us into the break at 8-16.
The second half and the Boks had their chances to close the gap as ill-discipline krept into the Lions game, Ruan Pienaar missed pots at goal on 48 and 53 minutes and it was Jones who extended the Lions lead on 60 minutes 8-19.
By mow the game was taking its toll and injuries were costing the Lions, this was a contributiory factor as Brian Habana produced his usual magic to score on 62 minutes and Morne Steyn who had now replaced Pienaar slotted the conversion, game on 15-19. 5 Minutes later and Steyn kicked a penalty 18-19. Jones replied with a penalty on 70 minutes 18-22. Then the turning point of the game came as the Lions ran out of defenders and Jaque Fourie scorred out wide with Steyn yet again showing his worth with teh boot 74 minutes gone and South Africa in the lead for the first time in the match. The drama was not over yet, as back came the Lions forcing a penalty on 77 minutes which Jones slotted 25-25. Oh how we would have like to hear the final whistle, but right on full time O’Gara recklessly interfered in the air and Steyn cool as ever stepped up and broke the hearts of the Lions fans, slotting the penalty and giving us the final score of:
South Africa 28-25 Lions
Tries: Pietersen, Habana, Fourie Con: M Steyn 2 Pens: F Steyn, M Steyn 2
Tries Kearney Con: S Jones Pens: S Jones 5 Drop-goal: S Jones
South Africa: F Steyn (Sharks); J P Pietersen (Sharks), A Jacobs (Sharks), J de Villiers (Stormers), B Habana (Blue Bulls); R Pienaar (Sharks), F du Preez (Blue Bulls); T Mtawarira (Sharks), B du Plessis (Sharks), J Smit (Sharks, capt), B Botha (Blue Bulls), V Matfield (Blue Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), J Smith (Cheetahs), P Spies (Blue Bulls).
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Blue Bulls), D Carstens (Sharks), A Bekker (Stormers), D Rossouw (Blue Bulls), H Brussow (Cheetahs), J Fourie (Golden Lions), M Steyn (Blue Bulls).
British and Irish Lions: R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland); T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), B O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), L Fitzgerald (Leinster and Ireland); S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), A Jones (Ospreys and Wales), S Shaw (Wasps and England), P O’Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), T Croft (Leicester and England), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland).
Replacements: R Ford (Edinburgh and Scotland), A Sheridan (Sale Sharks and England), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), H Ellis (Leicester and England), R O’Gara (Munster and Ireland), S Williams (Ospreys and Wales).
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France).