South Africa beat the Lions 28-25

The British and Irish Lions lost 28-25 to South Africa this afternoon in heartbreaking fashion in Pretoria. With the teams level at 25-25 all Ronan O'Gara was adjudged to have tackled Springbok scrum-half Flourie du Preez in mid-air handing replacement out-half Morne Steyn the chance to win the match with a place kick and he made no mistake.

The Lions had made a brilliant start to the match as they looked to level the Test series following last week's 26-21 defeat. Schalk Burger, lucky not be sent off, was given a yellow card for eye-gouging Luke Fitzgerald and the Lions took full advantage of their numerical superiority to take a 10-0 lead. Stephen Jones slotted a penalty before the excellent Rob Kearney scored a brilliant try with Jones involved again.

South Africa, widely expected to blow their opponents away, looked shell shocked in the face of the increased physicality of the tourists at the set piece and in the loose. But the world champions got back into the game before half-time through a training ground move which resulted in JP Pietersen slicing through the Lions' cover defence and touching down under the posts.

The physical exchanges, however, took their toll on the tourists who lost props Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins through injury leading to the game being played out with uncontested scrums. When the Lions lost their centre pairing of Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts midway through the second half South Africa clinically exploited the defensive frailties of the tourists' makeshift back-line.

Bryan Habana finished off a brilliant move for the world champions which Steyn converted to leave the scores at 19-15. Both Steyn and Jones exchanged penalties before Jaque Fourie broke a number of tackles to score a five pointer to give his team the lead for the first time in the game.

Jones thought he had earned his side a draw and kept the Test series alive with a brilliant touchline penalty late on, but O'Gara's indiscretion and Steyn's boot broke Lions' hearts and rendered next week's final game of the tour meaningless.

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