Lions in SA

Lions thump Boks to end series

2009-07-04 17:03
Things get messy (Gallo)

Johannesburg - A sparkling Shane Williams twice helped the British and Irish Lions claim a comprehensive 28-9 victory in the third and final Test against South Africa at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

The Springboks had already won the first two Tests, 26-21 and 28-25 in Durban and Pretoria respectively, for the overall series win to avenge their 1997 defeat to the Lions.

But a much-changed home side lacked the cohesion and structure of the past two weekends and were dominated in set-piece and open play, where Martyn Williams shone for the visitors.

Winger Ugo Monye scored a third try for the Lions with Stephen Jones claiming three penalties and two conversions.

Morne Steyn kicked three penalties for the Springboks, who will no doubt still go into their Tri-Nations campaign with some confidence.

"We were very conscious of putting up a good performance," said Lions skipper  Paul O'Connell.

"A very proud moment!  very important win for the Lions. It has been a very tough week mentally for everyone. We dug deep.

"We are under no illusions that we didn't win the series but it (lap of honour) was a way of saying thank you to all those fans who spent a fortune on coming out here to watch us."

Lions head coach Ian McGeechan said: "I am highly delighted. This is massive. They (the Lions) picked themselves up.

"The dressing room last weekend was not one I wanted to be in. There was so much sadness. They are an outstanding group of players. I think we have been the best team in four of the six halves of rugby we have played in the Tests.

"The disappointment is that we could have been 2-0 up coming here or at least one up. So it is a slightly secondary satisfaction this victory brings. This is definitely my last Lions tour."

A scintillating start by the Lions, with the ball moving through numerous phases, saw a penalty chance fall to Jones in the third minute but the Welshman dragged it wide of the posts.

The Lions continued to make all the running, full back Rob Kearney scything through the midfield defence on a mazy 40-metre run before being hauled down.

The first scrum in ninth minute saw a psychological hurdle passed for Phil Vickery who was unceremoniously dumped after failing to cope with Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira in the first Test.

Up popped Bok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle and Jones hit the penalty only for Steyn to get the homes side's first points on the board just a minute later after a Jamie Heaslip infringement.

Tackles in quick succession by Mike Phillips, Joe Worsley and Matthew Rees on Jacque Fourie, John Smit and Jongi Nokwe all saved a certain try as the Boks attacked in front of the 58 000-plus crowd.

The Lions scored the first five-pointer a minute later, Heaslip riding the challenge of Wynand Olivier and offloading to the fleet-footed  Williams who went in under the posts. Jones scuffed the conversion, however, when the wind blew the ball over in his run-up.

Heaslip was on hand to produce a try-saving intercept as Odwa Ndungane skipped through Worsley's tackle down the touchline and tried to find Fourie du Preez on the inside.

Williams then showed a clean pair of heels down his left wing but his clever cross-field kick was cleared by Steyn.

Williams scored his second, however, when Riki Flutey delicately palmed off his own chip into the winger's hands for a try and Jones converted.

With three minutes of the half remaining, Simon Shaw was yellow carded for needlessly landing on Du Preez' back with both knees.

Kearney sliced a clearance kick and a Lions foul at an ensuing ruck saw Steyn hit his second penalty to make it 15-6 at half-time.

The second-half kicked off with Ruan Pienaar on for Du Preez, and he brought an added spark to the home attack, new cap Zane Kirchner just foiled in the corner by an excellent covering Tommy Bowe tackle.

The Lions held firm and in the 55th minute Monye seized on a speculative pass from Olivier for an 85-metre intercept try converted by Jones.

Kearney saw an ambitious 52-metre penalty attempt drift wide with 20 minutes to play and Frans Steyn saw an equally audacious drop-goal from well within his own half just miss.

Morne Steyn kicked his third penalty to bring the score to 22-9 with 12 minutes remaining.

But Jones hit two quick penalties after ill-discipline from Heinrich Brussow and Bismarck du Plessis.

Ndungane was denied a late consolation try after another great scrambling cover tackle by Bowe.


South Africa - Penalties: Morne Steyn (3);

British and Irish Lions - Tries: Shane Williams (2), Ugo Monye; Conversions: Stephen Jones (2); Penalties: Jones (3)

Yellow card: Simon Shaw (British and Irish Lions) 37

Test record of British and Irish Lions in South Africa since first official tour in 1910 (year, played, won, drawn, lost):

TOTAL: P 36 W 11 D 4 L 21

1910       3 1 0 2

1924       4 0 1 3

1938       3 1 0 2

1955       4 2 0 2

1962       4 0 1 3

1968      4 0 1 3

1974      4 3 1 0

1980     4 1 0 3

1997     3 2 0 1

2009     3 1 0 2


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