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British and Irish Lions' Ross Ford (left) and Ronan O'Gara look dejected after the final whistle as they only just win against the Free State Cheetahs Photo by: PA Wire/Press Association Images

British & Irish Lions stumble past The Cheetahs

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British and Irish Lions' Ross Ford (left) and Ronan O'Gara look dejected after the final whistle as they only just win against the Free State Cheetahs Photo by: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Cheetahs began the second half brightly, too, but each time that Potgieter reduced the deficit with a penalty, Hook replied in kind to keep them at arm’s length... nine points!

The Lions gradually began to reclaim a modicum of control as the game drifted into the final quarter and they engineered plenty of advantageous attacking positions for themselves in the closing stages.

However, they repeatedly turned the ball over with the line in sight and were very nearly punished for their lack of a cutting edge when Uys touched down after intercepting Williams’ loose pass.

Indeed, they came within a whisker of losing the game but Strydom’s drop goal attempt missed its intended target.

It was desperate moment for the Cheetahs debutant, who must have seen immortality flash before his eyes, and he could so easily have been granted a second crack at the goal because an uncharacteristically poor knock-on afforded the home side good field position in the dying seconds.

However, after The Cheetahs had tried to drive forward, thus making the kick a little easier for their young replacement fly-half, Paul O’Connell forced the concession of a penalty, which won the game for the tourists.

However, The Lions captain will have taken little satisfaction from his game-winning play as he will know that further doubts have been raised about the strength of this current pride in Lion. Another backlash will be required in midweek if perceptions are to be altered once more.

Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller; Danwel Demas, Corne Uys, Meyer Bosman, JW Jonker; Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Tewis de Bruyn; Wian Du Preez, Adriaan Strauss, Kobus Calldo; Nico Breedt, David de Villiers; Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Hendro Scholtz (capt).

 

Replacements: Richard Strauss, WP Nel, Frans Viljoen, Kabamba Floors, Gerrie Odendaal, Louis Strydom, Fabian Juries.

British & Irish Lions: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, Keith Earls, Luke Fitzgerald, Shane Williams; James Hook, Harry Ellis; Andrew Sheridan, Ross Ford, Euan Murray; Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell (capt); Stephen Ferris, Joe Worsley, Andy Powell.

Replacements: Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Simon Shaw, Nathan Hines, Mike Blair, Ronan O’Gara, Gordon D’Arcy.

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