CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa won the series against the British and Irish Lions 2-1 after winning a gripping third test 19-16 with a 79th-minute penalty by Morne Steyn on Saturday.
Steyn clinched their last series in 2009 with a penalty, and was seemingly recalled to haunt the Lions in another series decider. He hadn’t played a test since 2016. But his experience and temperament came to the fore after being sent on in the 65th minute for flyhalf Handre Pollard, who had missed two consecutive penalties.
Steyn tied the score with his first penalty kick, and after Finn Russell leveled for the Lions in the 75th with his third penalty kick, they conceded a penalty under pressure in the 78th within kicking distance. Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies had a rush of blood with a quick tap, but referee Mathieu Raynal brought him back for not tapping from the penalty spot.
Steyn coolly slotted the 34-meter winning shot.
The Lions deservedly led at halftime 10-6 after their second try of the series, but South Africa went ahead with a converted try by Cheslin Kolbe. Russell and Steyn traded penalties to leave the Boks in front at 16-13.
The Lions had another kickable penalty soon after but elected to go for a try, not interested in drawing a series as they did in New Zealand four years ago. But replaement prop Mako Vunipola was held up over the line then South Africa received a relieving scrum penalty.
The Lions failed for the first time to win a series in South Africa after winning the first test.