x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lions go down fighting in S Africa

The British & Irish Lions saw their hopes of a series win dashed in the dying seconds of a bloody encounter.

Players from the Lions clash with their South African opponents during a tough second Test match in Pretoria which the home country won to clinch the series.
Players from the Lions clash with their South African opponents during a tough second Test match in Pretoria which the home country won to clinch the series.

The British & Irish Lions saw their hopes of a series win dashed in the dying seconds of a bloody and sometimes violent encounter with the Springboks in the second Test in Pretoria last night. Morne Steyn, the replacement fly-half, landed a kick from four metres inside his own half to give the home side a 28-25 victory and a decisive 2-0 series lead.

It was a heartbreaking end for the touring side, who had held the lead for the majority of a fiercely fought battle with the Springboks. Schalk Burger, the back-row talisman for the home side, is almost certain to miss next weekend's final Test in Johannesburg. The fiery flanker was sent to the sin bin after just 50 seconds of last night's clash, and is likely to face greater sanctions for gouging Luke Fitzgerald's eyes at the bottom of a ruck.

It set the tone for a combustible encounter, and the Lions, in particular, were down to the bare bones by the end. Gethin Jenkins, the influential prop, looks certain to miss the last match of the tour after sustaining what looked to be a broken cheekbone. pradley@thenational.ae