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South Africa 9-28 Lions

South Africa (6) 9
Pens: M Steyn 3

Lions (15) 28
Tries S Williams 2, Monye Cons: S Jones 2 Pens: S Jones 3

Shane Williams (left) and Mike Phillips celebrate victory in the third Test
Shane Williams (left) and Mike Phillips celebrate victory in the third Test

By Bryn Palmer
BBC Sport at Ellis Park, Johannesburg

The British and Irish Lions finished their South Africa tour on a spectacular high with a stunning victory in the final Test in Johannesburg.

Faced with the prospect of a first series whitewash by the Springboks in 118 years, Ian McGeechan's men cast aside the agony of their last-gasp second Test defeat with a performance bursting with pride and passion.

A first-half brace from Wales wing Shane Williams, his first tries of the tour, saw the Lions take a commanding 15-6 half-time lead.

Ugo Monye's 70m interception effort after 54 minutes extended the tourists' advantage before Morne Steyn landed his third penalty for the hosts.

But two late penalties from Stephen Jones put the seal on the Lions' first Test win since Brisbane in 2001, and South Africa's first defeat at Ellis Park for eight years.

It was deserved reward for the Lions' contribution to a thrilling series, and a fitting way for McGeechan to bow out, if indeed this is his final Test after seven tours as a player and head coach.

If it was billed as a dead rubber in some quarters, no-one had obviously told the players, who threw themselves into the fray with the same rip-roaring intensity that marked the opening two Tests.

The Lions made a tremendous start, keeping the tempo high with their offloading game in which flanker Martyn Williams was to the fore in his first Lions Test start.

Full-back Rob Kearney picked up where he left off in Pretoria last week, fielding a succession of Steyn high bombs with ease, and counter-attacking with intent.

Jones missed an early penalty, but got the Lions off the mark in the ninth minute when Bok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle popped out at the first scrum.

Ugo Monye celebrates after running 70m following an intercepted pass
Ugo Monye made amends for missed chances in the first Test

A brief dust-up ensued between Heinrich Brussow.and Martyn Williams before Jones stroked over the kick, but it was swiftly cancelled out by Steyn.

Referee Stuart Dickinson spoke to both captains in an attempt to calm things down, but both sides continued to go at it hammer and tongs.

The Lions were forced into some desperate scrambling defence as Wynand Olivier sent his centre partner Jaque Fourie bursting through.

But a superb tackle from scrum-half Mike Phillips, followed by another last-ditch effort from hooker Matthew Rees, repelled the hosts.

The Lions got their reward in the 25th minute when Jamie Heaslip barrelled into Olivier, who failed to complete his tackle on the number eight.

The Irishman got back to his feet and released Shane Williams to run in under the posts from the 22, but bizaarely Jones was unable to convert after the ball slipped off his kicking tee.

Heaslip then saved a try at the other end when he gathered wing Odwa Ndungane's inside pass 10m from the line as the Boks threatened.

But the Lions continued to look the more dangerous in attack, Kearney's neat reverse pass on the left touchline sending Shane Williams away again, but the winger's kick inside found no-one up in support.

606: DEBATE
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Two minutes later though the Welsh wing wizard was again on hand though to finish off another splendid move after the Lions turned over South Africa ball.

They swiftly moved the ball left where Riki Flutey, who had a thunderous game before being forced off on the hour, chipped ahead and gathered the bouncing ball, flipping it in mid-air to Williams, who enjoyed an easy run-in for his second try.

This time Jones converted to put the Lions 15-3 up, but Rees was forced off injured before half-time, Ross Ford becoming the lone Scot to play a part in the series.

The Lions also had Simon Shaw sin-binned for clumsily putting his knee into the back of Springboks scrum-half Fourie du Preez.

Steyn dispatched his second penalty with the last kick of the half to reduce the Boks' half-time deficit to nine points.

But the Lions made light of Shaw's continued absence on the resumption with another series of sustained attacks.

Another try seemed imminent when Heaslip sent the impressive Tommy Bowe darting through the middle, only for the Lions to concede a penalty for holding on in the tackle when inches from the Boks' line.

South Africa then blew a clear overlap at the other end as Bowe's brilliant tackle foiled full-back Zane Kirchner, who knocked on in the right corner.

McGeechan salutes outstanding Test series

But the Lions got the decisive try they needed in the 54th minute as Monye rushed up to intercept Olivier's pass and race 70m for a raucously-received try from the mass of red shirts in the lower tier.

Exultant strains of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" rang out around Ellis Park as the game entered the final quarter, with Phillips moving to centre after Flutey was forced off, Harry Ellis coming on at scrum-half.

Kearney missed a penalty attempt from inside his own half and Frans Steyn, on as a replacement, tried a drop-goal from inside his own half that fell narrowly wide before

Steyn's third penalty with 13 minutes left reduced the gap to 13 points.

After a mini melee sparked by Francois Steyn's shove on Phillips, referee Stuart Dickinson awarded a penalty to the Lions that Jones stroked over, and another with seven minutes left settled the outcome.

The Boks eventually worked Ndungane over in the right corner with four minutes left, but after several minutes of deliberation by television match official Bryce Lawrence, the try was ruled out for a foot in touch.


South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Odwa Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Jongikhaya Nokwe, More Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Chilliboy Ralepelle, John Smit (capt), Johann Muller, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brussow, Juan Smith, Ryan Kankowski.

Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis (for Ralepelle), Gurthro Steenkamp (for Smit, 68), Deon Carstens, Steven Sykes, Pierre Spies (for Nokwe, 65), Ruan Pienaar (for Du Preez, 41), Francois Steyn.(for Fourie, blood, 24-28, for Kirchner, 56))

Lions: Rob Kearney, Ugo Monye, Tommy Bowe, Riki Flutey, Shane Williams, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Andrew Sheridan, Matthew Rees, Phil Vickery, Simon Shaw, Paul O'Connell, Joe Worsley, Martyn Williams, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Ross Ford (for Rees, 37), John Hayes (for Vickery, 55), Alun-Wyn Jones (for Shaw, 67), Tom Croft (for Worsley, blood 30-34, 66), David Wallace (for M Williams), Harry Ellis (for Flutey, 55). Not used: James Hook.

Yellow card: Shaw (37)

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Attendance: 58,318



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see also
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McGeechan hails outstanding Lions
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Prop Jones set for six months out
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Lions Test debuts for English duo
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Vickery backed to take on 'Beast'
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SA's Burger handed eight-week ban
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Battered Lions lose injured props
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South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union


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