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Lions vs South Africa LIVE: Latest score and first Test updates

British and Irish Lions in numbers

South Africa are primed to host the British and Irish Lions in the first Test in Cape Town.

A tour so far clouded by Covid problems and a lack of form for the Springboks due to such few playing opportunities, the real action begins for head coach Warren Gatland and his men.

The Lions may have lost to the ‘A’ side but they produced a dominant set-piece showing in a 17-13 loss in the build-up to this first Test, though Gatland’s side bounced back with a Luke Cowan-Dickie inspired win over the Stormers. Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick rejecting Gatland’s “mind games” ahead of the series opener, though he also vowed the hosts would prove their point in deed not word.

“From my side I won’t go deep on that one,” said Stick. “We were happy as a Springbok team; if you look at the most important stat in the game, which is the final score. We won the game so I’m not too sure what it is that they dented. I’m not going to fall into that trick of playing the mind games, I’m not a mind games person. The game is going to be played between four lines. If Gatland is talking about the egos, he doesn’t really know much about us as South Africans.

“So I’m not going to go deep on that. Let’s wait and see after the game tomorrow. Hopefully we can give the people a good show of rugby. We know they are going to be tough, we know they are going to be physical. So once again, when it comes the ego, we’ll see the egos between the four lines.”

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South Africa 12-10 Lions, 45 minutes

SMASH! Duhan van der Merwe absolutely pulverises Kwagga Smith as the number eight takes a high box kick, but Tom Curry can’t quite pilfer the ball at the ruck for the Lions.

South Africa play to the left, and they might just have scored!

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:10

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TRY! South Africa 12-10 LIONS (Luke Cowan-Dickie try, 44 minutes)

And it rolls right over! Luke Cowan-Dickie just about finds his jumper at the tail and races to add his input at the back of the maul, hitching his chariot upon his forward mates as they begin to drive through the South African bodies. It goes down within a metre of the line and Cowan-Dickie has his hands on the ball, squirming it forward the requisite distance to get it down, just about, against the white line.

Dan Biggar converts. An immediate score for the Lions, and how they needed that.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:09

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South Africa 12-3 Lions, 43 minutes

Luke Cowan-Dickie just about finds his man, and the maul gets rolling…

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:07

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South Africa 12-3 Lions, 42 minutes

Ali Price brings his forwards around the corner and asks them to make the hard carries in succession, eventually stepping back to allow them immediate access to pick and drive.

Penalty advantage coming for a high tackle by South Africa as Robbie Henshaw meandered, and after Stuart Hogg fails to skip between the green shirts, back we will come. Dan Biggar wastes little time – he’s kicking for the corner.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:06

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South Africa 12-3 Lions, 41 minutes

The Lions need to start fast in this second 40 and that is a good start. South Africa concede a penalty soon after resumption and the Lions will have a lineout in the opposition’s 22.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:05

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KICK OFF!

The second half is underway.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:04

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South Africa 12-3 Lions

It is hard to tell Warren Gatland’s expression behind the fancy initialled mask, but I doubt it’s a smile on the face of the Lions head coach.

South Africa are making a half-time change or two – three, in fact! As predicted, it’s that vaunted replacement front row introduced. Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe brought on; Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane come off shift at the abattoir.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:04

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HT: South Africa 12-3 Lions

A ratheer damning description from Ronan O’Gara on Sky Sports on his perception of affairs so far: “You get the feeling there are people in red jerseys not convinced about what they’re trying to execute.”

He’s not wrong, but that’s pretty punchy from the La Rochelle head coach. Henshaw’s break was the one moment they have managed to work the ball into any sort of space whatsoever and there has been precious little invention, with Duhan van der Merwe anonymous and Elliot Daly struggling to make an impact. Daly’s most prominent moment was being the magician’s assistant as Lukhanyo Am sawed him in half early on, and the Lions never really settled down after that immediate defensive statement from the Springboks. It has been very, very impressive from South Africa, who will feel they have more to come.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 18:01

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HT: South Africa 12-3 Lions

The Lions, though, have managed to stay in it, and greater accuracy from the tee from Dan Biggar and an extra couple of Weetabix in Elliot Daly’s bowl this morning and they might have trailed by just three. Maro Itoje has been magnificent but otherwise the forward pack has failed to impose itself and we have seen precious little of any of the backs. Just the one linebreak, that one late on from Robbie Henshaw, in that half for Warren Gatland’s side.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 17:56

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HT: South Africa 12-3 Lions

It’s been physical and frantic in Cape Town with neither side settling into an attacking rhythm, but South Africa have had the better of things so far. They’ve blitzed the Lions and largely won the key collisions, and Handre Pollard’s right boot has propelled them to a nine-point lead.

Both sides have competed hard at the breakdown and both coaches will be keen for greater security in that area, but South Africa have looked largely untroubled otherwise. They have definitely had the physical edge – Pieter-Steph du Toit and Lukhanyo Am continue to lead that formidable defence superbly.

Harry Latham-Coyle24 July 2021 17:54

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