Stuart Hogg had a mixed game in the second Test

Credit: AP

South Africa responded to first Test defeat with a victory over the British and Irish Lions to level the series.

The Springboks overpowered the tourists after the break, dominating the lineout and using their driving maul to great effect.

Which players thrived in a physical encounter? And who was off the pace?

British and Irish Lions

15. Stuart Hogg – 4

Targeted by South Africa’s kicking, at restarts and in open play, and did not convince at any stage. Failed to find room in phase-play, as well.

14. Anthony Watson – 4

Not involved in phase-play until half an hour had elapsed. Conceded a needless penalty for an early tackle on Pollard, which sapped momentum.

13. Chris Harris – 6

Picked for defensive solidity and rocked Lukhanyo Am before harrying Le Roux in the air. Taken off when the Lions had to chase the game.

Chris Harris made his presence felt early on

Credit: AFP

12. Robbie Henshaw – 7

Quietly knitted things together with defensive organisation and slick handling in midfield. Unfortunate not to dot down from Murray’s chip.

11. Duhan van der Merwe – 4

Launched as a weapon, but lacked control. Saw yellow after a clumsy trip on Kolbe and probably lucky to escape sanction for a late tackle on Du Toit.

10. Dan Biggar – 6

Attempted a couple of chips to manipulate South Africa’s defence. One pick-up in the back-field was superb but did miss touch from a penalty.

9. Conor Murray – 6

Began with strong defence around the fringes and kicked well, almost setting up Henshaw. Brave to carry on after hits from Kolbe and De Klerk.

1. Mako Vunipola – 7

Conceded two penalties, one at the breakdown at one at the scrum, but vindicated his starting role thanks to industry around the field.

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie – 7

Bar one Springboks steal, the lineout wobbles were left in the first Test. Cowan-Dickie’s ferocity, on both sides of the ball, was important.

3. Tadhg Furlong – 6

Superb in defence under South Africa’s early onslaught and threatened to impose himself on the scrummaging contest before the hosts took hold.

4. Maro Itoje – 7

Could he replicate last weekend’s heroics? Not quite. There was some disruptive excellence, but his influence faded as South Africa grasped the game.

5. Alun Wyn Jones – 6

Early handbags with Etzebeth set the tone and epitomised his calm yet steely leadership. Forced a maul turnover on Wiese but was eventually overwhelmed.

Alun Wyn Jones continued his mircaulous recovery

Credit: AP

6. Courtney Lawes – 6

Phenomenal in the first Test and started strongly here, holding up Wiese and stealing a lineout. Kicking struggles did not help him to assert himself.

7. Tom Curry – 6

Gathered a loose ball from the kick-off, which was a sign of things to come. Made big tackles on both of South Africa’s centres. Will be back for the decider.

8. Jack Conan – 6

Man-handled Kolbe in an important tackle and carried relentlessly in the first period, seemingly laying some decent foundations. It was not to be.


16. Ken Owens (on for Cowan-Dickie, 57) – 5

Could not turn the tide, with the lineout descending into chaos.

17. Rory Sutherland (on for Vunipola, 57) – 5

Conceded a needless penalty at a maul in opposition territory.

18. Kyle Sinckler (on for Furlong, 57) – 6

Some bright moments in phase-play, but not enough to change a game that slipped away.

19. Tadhg Beirne, (on for Lawes, 70) – N/A

Only had 10 minutes from the bench.

20. Taulupe Faletau (on for Conan, 60) – 5

Offered himself as a carrier without breaching the green and gold wall.

21. Ali Price (on for Murray, 59) – 5

Last week’s starter became a late replacement. He was powerless to help the Lions find fluency.

22. Owen Farrell (on for Biggar, 57) – 5

Gave away a penalty as South Africa’s maul ate up metres. Unable to conjure anything as the impetus slipped away.

23. Elliot Daly (on for Harris, 62) – 5

Restricted to chasing kicks after coming on at outside centre.

South Africa

15. Willie le Roux – 7

Spilled Biggar’s bomb to invite pressure in the opening minutes. More assured from there, aiding South Africa in the critical aerial contest.

14. Cheslin Kolbe – 6

Lucky not to be sanctioned for a collision with Curry, and fortunate his tackle on Murray only merited yellow. Caused issues chasing kicks.

13. Lukhanyo Am – 7

An important tackle on Watson while South Africa were down to 14 was typical of his defensive prowess. Landed an opportunistic try.

12. Damian de Allende – 7

As ever, he was a willing carrier and bent the defensive line even if he did not always make serious inroads. A backline breakdown threat, too.

11. Makazole Mapimpi – 7

Competed hard in the air and on the floor but summed up South Africa’s desperation, giving away three penalties himself before his fine try.

Makazole Mapimpi scored South Africa's opening try


10. Handré Pollard – 8

Dragged a kick wide before smashing over his next attempt from 54 metres and then found Mapimpi with a kick-pass for South Africa’s try. Unflappable.

9. Faf de Klerk – 8

Eye-watering commitment in defence, including a barely-legal hit on Murray, was complemented by accurate kicking. His snaking grubber set up Am’s try.

1. Steven Kitshoff – 6

Muscled a penalty out of Furlong after half-time on the occasion of his 50th cap. Still not as influential as he was at the World Cup.

2. Bongi Mbonambi – 7

A focal point for South Africa, constantly chatting to officials at scrums. Softened up the Lions for the late charge.

3. Frans Malherbe – 6

Went after Vunipola and was always a scrummaging threat, earning one penalty out of the Lions loosehead. Yet to find his best, which is ominous.

4. Eben Etzebeth – 7

Trucked into some strong carries early on. Much later, he was at the heart of the brawny maul that led to South Africa’s first try.

Eben Etzebeth and Maro Itoje locked horns throughout the second Test


5. Franco Mostert – 8

Leapt for a potentially try-saving lineout steal at the tail after the Lions opted for the corner in the first half. A dynamic, whoelhearted menace. 

6. Siya Kolisi – 7

Voiced his frustration at the officials beforehand and backed that up with a good display, especially around the ruck. A remarkable intervention foiled Henshaw.

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – N/A

Prominent out wide before making way due to an upper-body injury, perhaps sustained in a late tackle from Van der Merwe, after the first quarter.

8. Jasper Wiese – 6

A tough maiden Test start for Wiese, who was held up and turned over by Jones and Lawes and spilled a crucial restart. Did defend robustly, though.


16. Malcolm Marx (on for Mbonambi, 57) – 7

Breakdown turnover late on reflected what a weapon he is from the bench. 

17. Trevor Nyakane (on for Kitshoff, 60) – 7

Clearly capable of propping on both sides of the scrum. His muscle shunted South Africa home.

18. Vincent Koch (on for Malherbe, 56) – 7

Eked out a turnover as part of a successful mission for the Bomb Squad.

19. Lood de Jager (on for Wiese, 56) – 8

Introduced to shore up South Africa’s lineout in an inspired move. Stole a Lions throw almost immediately before guiding the maul that led to Am’s try.

20. Marco van Staden (on for Kolisi, 73) N/A

Replaced his skipper for the final minutes.

21. Kwagga Smith (on for du Toit, 20) – 7

Into the fray early and stripped Jones before conceding a second-half penalty for a similar steal on Hogg. Far more comfortable at flanker.

22. Herschel Jantjies (on for De Klerk, 64) – 6

Incessantly energetic as his forwards suffocated the Lions.

23. Damian Willemse (on for Mapimpi, 68) – N/A

Came on for Mapimpi to see out the final 12 minutes.