South Africa were well and truly the better side, as they asserted their dominance over the British and Irish Lions in a decisive second half performance.
While the Lions will be extremely disappointed with how they allowed the game to get away from them late on, they will need to pick themselves up for what should prove to be a blockbuster final test against the Springboks.
Check out our Lions player ratings below.
80’ | @Springboks 27 – 9 Lions
🚨 FULL-TIME 🚨
A tough game but the #CastleLionsSeries is still very much alive.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 31, 2021
15. Stuart Hogg: 6
The Scotland captain was mostly solid at the back, although overall the Springboks certainly won the aerial battle. Hogg has had very little opportunity to attack in the first two tests, although he has done nothing to warrant getting dropped for the third.
14. Anthony Watson: 5
The Bath winger had one little half break near the end of the game, but he was given very little opportunity in a game that suited the Springboks down to the ground.
13. Chris Harris: 6
The Scotland international remained solid in defence, although he was rarely tested as the ball stayed with the forwards for the most part. Harris certainly didn’t do anything wrong, but he ultimately didn’t feature much in his first test appearance for the Lions.
12. Robbie Henshaw: 8
Very few of the Lions backs were able to show off their talents, but Henshaw was excellent in defence, making 11 tackles, while he was the only player to consistently find success against a ferocious South African defensive effort.
11. Duhan van der Merwe: 5
The Scotland winger made little to no impact after a solid performance last week, save for a silly yellow card for tripping up Cheslin Kolbe in the first half.
10. Dan Biggar: 6
Biggar kicked well from the tee, and was unlucky to have one of his efforts come off the post, but in open play the Welshman seemed to go to no other option than the kick and chase, which proved to be largely unsuccessful for the Lions.
9. Conor Murray: 6
The Irishman box kicked quite well, although the Lions were second best in the aerial game this time around, after being dominant in that area last week. Murray did everything that was asked of him, but was unable to spark the tourists to life in attack.
8. Jack Conan: 6
The Leinster man didn’t have the same impact he had last week, in a stop-start game in which he wasn’t given as many opportunities. The Lions number eight was constantly making metres in the first test, but the Springboks defence gave him no easy ground this time around.
7. Tom Curry: 6
The 23-year-old was the only back row forward to play the full 80 minutes, but he was actually the most quiet of the three, although his discipline was much better compared to last week.
6. Courtney Lawes: 7
The Northampton Saints forward was busy in defence again, putting in nine tackles, but he didn’t have as much success with ball in hand against a much-improved South African defence.
5. Alun Wyn Jones: 8
The Lions captain was unable to lead his side to another victory, but individually Jones played very well. At 35-years-old the Welshman was the tourists’ most energetic player, making eight carries and putting in 13 tackles.
4. Maro Itoje: 6
The Saracens man was deservedly named as man of the match last week, but Itoje failed to have much of an impact in the second test. He failed to make any turnovers and actually conceded one in a reversal of last week’s heroics.
3. Tadhg Furlong: 7
The Wexford man was more involved in open play than he was last week and made some big carries and tackles. However, South Africa did get the upper hand in the scrum, with Stephen Kitshoff beating Furlong on at least one occasion.
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie: 8
The Englishman threw far better at lineout time than he did last week, and while he didn’t get his name on the scoresheet, he put in a better all-round performance this time around, with nine carries and nine tackles.
1. Mako Vunipola: 6
Frans Malherbe just about got the better of Vunipola at scrum time, but the Saracens prop was busy in the loose in another forward-dominated game. However, he gave away two penalties, in a game where poor discipline proved crucial.
The Lions bench was unable to change the momentum, and if anything, the Springboks got more dominant once the replacements from each side was introduced. The South African scrum was on top from the start, and they continued their supremacy with the introduction of two new front rows.