The British and Irish Lions shrugged off a shoddy first half to overcome world champion South Africa 22-17 in their tense first test of three at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
The Lions responded to trailing 12-3 at halftime with a bolder, disciplined and tactically superior second half. What also came to fruition was their belief they had better fitness and a better bench.
The Lions out-scored the Springboks 19-5 in the second half, grabbed the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute and held on.
The teams scored a try each, both in the third quarter, and South Africa had two other tries ruled out.
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The Lions were under the most pressure to take advantage of a South Africa side which was on ice for 19 months and playing only its second test since winning the Rugby World Cup in November 2019.
The Lions have never won a series in South Africa after losing the first test, but can now look with confidence at beating the Springboks in a series for the first time in 24 years.
Alun Wyn Jones, ruled out of the tour four weeks ago by a dislocated shoulder, showed the value of his four-tour experience and leadership at the start of the second half when he waived off a kickable penalty to go for an attacking lineout.
South Africa had on a fresh front row, but Courtney Lawes made the catch and the Lions out-muscled the Boks by mauling it over the tryline, hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie the scorer. Dan Biggar converted and the Lions' conviction was spiking at only two points behind.
Luck then fell on the Lions, ironically from South African official Marius Jonker, the TMO foisted on the series only last week.
The Lions were worried about possible bias but Jonker wiped out a try by Willie le Roux when he believed the Boks fullback was ahead of a chip by Lukhanyo Am. The video evidence wasn't obvious.