The Lions return home with their pride intact following a superb win against the Springboks in the third and final test match in Johannesburg.
Right from the off it was obvious that even given the injuries the Lions had come to play. 3 minutes and missed penalty, but then on 9 minutes Stephen Jones kicked a penalty 0-3. The Boks as ever came straight back and Morne Steyn converted a penalty for not releasing on 11 minutes 3-3. The game then ebbed and flowed with neither side being able to convert pressure into points until the 24th minute when Shane Williams latched onto a pass from Heaslip and dotted down under the sticks.
An easy conversion, or so we thought until the ball fell of the tee and it was missed. 3-8. The Lions were still playing with confidence and trying things and on 32 minutes we had a piece of genius from Flutey which put Williams in for his second score. This was converted by Jones 3-15. Simon Shaw got binned on 37 minutes for knees in the back as he fell over Du Preez and then on 40 minutes Morne Steyn reduced the arrears to 6-15 with a penalty, bringing us to half time. 6-15.
The second half and the Lions played as men possesd as they kept the pressure on the Boks and so shipped no further points whilst down to 14. The game was still proceeding much as the end of the first half with neither side able to convert pressure to points until on 54 minutes Monye intercepted as South Africa were mounting pressure on the defence. He then ran 70 metres to touch down under the posts and put South Africa into game chasing mode with the score at 6-22. Both coaching teams were now making wholesale changes but the game continued at pace with the Lions defence being as key as their attack.65 minutes and Francois Steyn tried a long drop at goal and you now felt it was the Lions day, however on 67 minutes Morne Steyn kicked another penalty 9-22. But it was the Lions who turned the screw with two further penalties kicked by Jones on 71 and 73 minutes. Game over. The Springboks did continue to press and a well worked move on 76 minutes saw Odwa Ndungane denied with a foot in touch. Game over and the final score of:
South Africa 9-28 Lions
Pens: M Steyn 3
Tries S Williams 2, Monye Cons: S Jones 2 Pens: S Jones 3
South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Odwa Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Jongikhaya Nokwe, More Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Chilliboy Ralepelle, John Smit (capt), Johann Muller, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brussow, Juan Smith, Ryan Kankowski.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis (for Ralepelle), Gurthro Steenkamp (for Smit, 68), Deon Carstens, Steven Sykes, Pierre Spies (for Nokwe, 65), Ruan Pienaar (for Du Preez, 41), Francois Steyn.(for Fourie, blood, 24-28, for Kirchner, 56))
Lions: Rob Kearney, Ugo Monye, Tommy Bowe, Riki Flutey, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Andrew Sheridan, Matthew Rees, Phil Vickery, Simon Shaw, Paul O’Connell, Joe Worsley, Martyn Williams, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Ross Ford (for Rees, 37), John Hayes (for Vickery, 55), Alun-Wyn Jones (for Shaw, 67), Tom Croft (for Worsley, blood 30-34, 66), David Wallace (for M Williams), Harry Ellis (for Flutey, 55). Not used: James Hook.
Yellow card: Shaw (37)
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)