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Springboks do, what the All Blacks and Australia could not.

The Springboks have beaten the British & Irish Lions 19 - 16 in the 3rd test and clinched the series for a second time on the trot. It was a magical moment for Springbok rugby, but none more so than for Morne Steyn who marked his return to test rugby by knocking over the winning kick again, a full 12 years later. Déjà vu was certainly the theme of the night as well, as Cheslin Kolbe left Liam Williams grasping at straws in the same fashion as Owen Farrell in 2019.

New Zealand has been pretty vocal about the Springboks not deserving their number 1 ranking, with Ben Smith and company leading the charge in that regard. Calling the Springboks boring, one trick ponies and the likes. Well All Blacks, now is the time to recognize that you may just not be the best any longer. In 2017 the Lions series in New Zealand was a draw and the 2013 version in Australia saw it go down to the third test, where the Lions ended up blowing Australia out of the water. They can call it boring rugby, but that doesn't mean they won't need to find a way to beat it and as proven again now, that is easier said than done.

The Springboks now boast a Rugby World Cup trophy alongside their new silverware and have truly backed up and re-enforced the notion that they are a team on the rise. It may have been 20 months between the World Cup and the Lions series, but this team clearly has the formula and squad built for success and I can only see them improving throughout 2021 as they get game time under their belts and await the returns of stalwarts such as Duane Vermeulen, RG Snyman and Faf de Klerk.

The 3rd test was an extremely tight contest, with each side only slipping through for a single try and the boot was proving to be the method of choice for the evening. The loss of Dan Biggar early would have worried Lions supporters but Finn Russell came on and excelled at first receiver. One has to wonder what would have materialized if he had started all 3 tests, as it was the 1st time the Lions backline looked alive.

Handre Pollard struggled with the boot a bit and was replaced around the 60 minute mark, with the ever green Morne Steyn. At the age of 37, Steyn completed his return to Springbok rugby after last having played in 2016. In the same manner as he did on his debut in 2009 against the very same team, he was instrumental in slotting the two kicks that ultimately won the Springboks the series.

The addition of Liam Williams to the Lions back 3 definitely assisted them in dealing with the highball and he was extremely solid in this department, especially in the 1st half. Williams was battered by the big Bok defenders all night though and was eventually caught out by the hot stepping Cheslin Kolbe. Owen Farrell would have been delighted to have been in the stands for that one and not experiencing it 1st hand.

Both sides scrummed to perfection with neither team giving an inch, the margins for error were tiny and other than difficulties with the pitch, there wasn't much between them. Trevor Nyakane's arrival however came at a crucial point and he was instrumental in winning a penalty on the Bok try line that probably saved the Boks the series. Let us not forget however the beauty of a Springbok maul when it gets going. The Boks managed to barge over the lions for close to 20 meters with their maul and it was at this point that the momentum started to shift.

Cheslin Kolbe won man of the match for his try which saw him step his way through two defenders, but for me his most heroic moment of the night was when he managed to stop Maro Itoje in full flight with a one on one tackle. He may be small in stature but their is no denying this man belongs in the green and gold. He has the heart of a warrior and time and time again proves he is as tough as nails.

The series was not what it was destined to be, without fans it certainly lacked the excitement of the 2009 tour and Kolisi fittingly remarked on this in his post match interview. The stadium was quiet when the final whistle went, even if the Springboks knew we were all screaming at home. I still believe the tour should have been pushed out a year to maintain its authenticity, but World Rugby was not able to make this happen.

It was a fitting victory for this Springbok side and Siya Kolisi has lead with aplomb. The humble warrior inspires his charges and you can see the players will go to war for him, time and time again. The Springboks once again showed their superior discontent and have emphatically won a series against a combined four nations , the British & Irish Lions. History is written by the victors and you can count on this being a sweet read for years to come. 2033 is the next time we will see these sides meet again, but for now, we have the Rugby Championship to win.

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