The Lions who win the first round and their second wind, but also the missed match of Kolbe … Find the Tops and Flops of the match between South Africa and the British Lions (17-22).
The first for the Lions
The Lions won the first of three sets with many observers promising them hell. The symbol of this victory will remain captain Alun Wyn Jones, who forfeited after an arm injury on June 26 before returning to the squad and playing the entire first test. It remains to be seen if this victory will be able to make lie this statistic: the Lions won only two series when they lost at the break of the first test, out of a total of… 16 series!
Challenging the Lions
Two different teams. After a completely missed first period, the Lions reversed the dynamics of the meeting. They were able to find a new lease of life with an experienced team, since 12 of the 23 players were already present during the third test against New Zealand in 2017. Of the 19 tests contested against the three major nations of the southern hemisphere ( South Africa, Australia, New Zealand Editor’s note), the Lions had lost 17 when they were led by six points or more in the period.
What a crossover! If the show was put aside for a long time, the suspense remained until the very last moments. Siya Kolisi’s teammates even thought they had a match point when the siren sounded and they were at the entrance to the Lions 22 meters. Missed.
The disappointment for the Springboks
Crowned with their title of world champion, the South Africans fell from the top this afternoon. They can always claim that this meeting was the… second since their title obtained against England in Tokyo. Major nation of the oval planet most affected by the health crisis, they underwent a truncated preparation which weighed on the end of the meeting (19-5 cashed in the second period). They were penalized too much in the second act, and Dan Biggar rushed into this loophole.
South Africans have eased off
Worn out by the power of the impacts, and surely hampered by the wave of Covid, the premises decreased in intensity from the hour of play. Some players were particularly disappointing. Cheslin Kolbe, who comes out of a contrasted season with Toulouse despite the double achieved, quite simply conceded more turnovers than he carried balls. The Lions had planned to multiply the high balls on him and Makazole Mapimpi, a tactic that proved to be winning.
Pressure on video referee Marius Jonker
The video referee found himself unwillingly at the center of the controversy. In a press conference, Lions assistant coach Robin McBryde criticized the choice to put this South African referee in this post, and asked that he be perfectly neutral. After a first period, he found himself judging two particularly sensitive situations: a test by Willie Le Roux (45th) refused for a microscopic advance after long hesitation, and a test granted this time to Faf De Kerk (49th) after a monster mess.