British and Irish Lions get off to winning start in comeback over South Africa

The Lions got their tour of South Africa off to a winning start with a 22-17 victory in Cape Town.

Dan Biggar’s penalty just past the hour mark proved to be the crucial blow and ensure the first match of the series went to Warren Gatland’s men.

The Springboks had led for much of the match, having got their noses in front first when Handre Pollard converted two penalties just four minutes apart to give them the early advantage.

Lions’ fly-half Biggar then halved the deficit with a penalty of his own, but Pollard bagged another six points as the hosts opened up a significant gap.

Biggar then spurned the chance to pull his side back into it as his kick went wide of the posts, before Elliot Daly missed with a long-range penalty as South Africa held a nine-point advantage at the break.

Dan Biggar scored four penalties to help the Lions to victory

The Lions were first to strike in the second half though, forcing the ball over the line with a driving maul as Luke Cowan-Dickie got the first try of the series, with Biggar’s conversion bringing the Lions within two points.

It looked as though South Africa had hit straight back moments later when Willie le Roux scored a breakaway try, only for a TMO review to determine he was offside as the effort was ruled out.

There was no such luck for the Lions shortly after, though, when Faf de Klerk’s try was allowed to stand after the video referee saw no issue with the build-up, despite a hint of a knock-on.

Jack Conan of British & Irish Lions goes past Cheslin Kolbe and Siya Kolisi of South Africa
Jack Conan of British & Irish Lions goes past Cheslin Kolbe and Siya Kolisi of South Africa

Pollard’s perfect record was then dashed as he missed his conversion, as the tie then swung back in the Lions’ favour.

Three successful penalty kicks in succession from Biggar put Warren Gatland’s men ahead for the first time in the contest as the South African’s were punished for their indiscipline.

Owen Farrell then converted a late penalty to give the Lions slight breathing space as they held out for the win.

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