2009 Boks: The Lions tamers

2014-06-17 14:17
Jaque Fourie (Gallo Images)

Good things come to those who wait. 

Think back, back to 2009, the year the British & Irish Lions toured South Africa, and a time for the Springboks to serve a healthy dollop of revenge.

It had been 12 long years since the tourists left our shores in 1997 with a 2-1 series victory over the Springboks in the bag.

With the memories of the 2007 Rugby World Cup title victory still fresh in the minds of South Africans, the pressure was squarely on the hosts not to stumble as they did on the Lions’ previous visit.

Where were you when the Lions came to claim the scalps of the defending world champions? Vodacom was there with all Springbok fans to experience an unforgettable series!

The table was set for a mouth-watering series as the decorated Springbok side had its sights set on more accolades, while the British tourists were looking for the scalp of the world champions.

The first match in Durban went down to the wire as the Springboks enjoyed a comfortable 26-7 lead with 11 minutes left in the encounter before the tourists scored to late tries.

The Springboks, however, held on to go one up in the series and set up another nail-biting encounter in Pretoria the next week.

Like all South African supporters, Vodacom, the Official Telecoms Partner to the Springboks continued its loyal support for the national side.

The British & Irish Lions supporters turned up in their numbers as they painted Loftus Versfeld red with only patches of green Springbok jerseys visible.

With a series victory within the Boks’ grasp, the match developed into one of the most memorable matches of the past 20 years.

The match had more plot twists than a Hollywood blockbuster which started with a Lions try seven minutes into the match before Springbok flyer JP Pietersen scored five minutes later

The visitors, however, held onto the lead and the teams went into the half-time break with the Lions enjoying a 16-8 lead.

After two failed penalty conversions after the break Ruan Pienaar was replaced by Morne Steyn, who played in only his second Test for the Springboks.

Bryan Habana finally found the breakthrough, with Steyn converting before he added another penalty conversion to bring South Africa within a point of the visitors.

After a Stephen Jones penalty conversion the Lions held onto a four-point lead with four minutes left in the Test.

The remaining four minutes, however, developed into one of the most nail-biting finishes in Springbok rugby.

Jaque Fourie was the final receiver of an attacking Springbok movement where first fended off Ronan O'Gara before diving through two tackles to miraculously stay infield to score the try in the right-hand corner.

Steyn converted for a slender three-point lead before Jones again equalised with two minutes left on the clock.

The match was for all practical purposes done and dusted but fate had a different idea for Steyn and his team-mates.

With no more time left on the clock, Steyn stepped to the plate as he slotted a last-second penalty kick to hand the reigning world champions a dramatic 28-25 victory for an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

It proved to be a golden year for the Springboks as they also added the 2009 Tri-Nations title to that of a series victory over the British & Irish Lions.

Vodacom are proud to say we were there to see the Springboks through tough times which made the celebrations even sweeter!

Read more on:    springboks  |  rugby

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