South Africa captain Siya Kolisi hailed team-mate Morne Steyn after his late penalty sealed a series victory for the Springboks over the British and Irish Lions.

Steyn came off the bench and proved the difference in Cape Town – his last-gasp kick securing a 19-16 win.

It was a first Test appearance in five years for the 37-year-old fly-half, who also landed the crucial blow in the 2009 series against the Lions.

The Lions were unbeaten in the final Test in each of their last three tours, but in a tightly contested tussle the Springboks produced a turnaround from 10-3 down to snatch a dramatic victory.

"As soon as he went for the kick, I thought 'no way!' It was beautiful to see him stay strong," Kolisi told Sky Sports.

"We didn't think he would come back and play. In his wildest dreams, he didn't think he'd get this opportunity again, so I'm very happy for him and the team.

"It was really challenging for both teams because there was a lot happening. But we focused as much as we could on what we had to do on the field, and that was most important.

"This is huge, 12 years – I will never get this opportunity again. I'm really honoured and proud of the team that we were able to achieve this. We can't compare it to anything else."

It was a heart-breaking end for the Lions and Alun Wyn Jones, who joined Mike Gibson and Graham Price as the fourth most-capped player in their history with 12.

Nevertheless, the skipper – who initially seemed set to miss the tour due to injury – revealed his sense of pride in the efforts of Warren Gatland's side.

"We are hugely disappointed – we were in it until the death. We had an opportunity at the end," he said.

"I am very proud of the boys and very conscious of who we represent but as I said, hugely disappointed at the same time.

"We wanted to come out for the second half with more of the same, we did that probably after the early exchanges, then the to-ing and fro-ing with the penalties broke up the game.

"It was probably similar to what we have seen in patches in previous games, we wanted to kick on but we could not do that."

Morne Steyn was the hero for South Africa as, just like in 2009, his penalty proved decisive in a 19-16 series-clinching win over the British and Irish Lions.

Steyn had last made a Test appearance for the Springboks back in 2016 but the 37-year-old came on from the bench to prove the difference in Cape Town.

Having replaced Handre Pollard, whose kicking was off in the second half, Steyn converted two penalties to secure a hard-fought victory from a tense tussle.

After Steyn's first effort, Finn Russell's penalty seemed to have sent the series to a draw, only for Steyn’s boot to once again prove the Lions' downfall with a 79th-minute three-pointer.

The Lions seemed to have been handed an early blow when Dan Biggar was forced off injured after attempting to tackle Lukhanyo Am, wth Pollard converting South Africa's resulting penalty.

However, Biggar's replacement Russell kicked a penalty five minutes after his introduction to restore parity as he asserted himself on proceedings.

Russell was kicking again soon after, this time adding the extras after Ken Owens marked his maiden Lions Test start by bundling over at the back of the maul for the first try.

A second Pollard penalty reduced the deficit, while Russell had a fortunate escape when he made direct contact with Cheslin Kolbe's head, a slip from the South Africa winger helping the Lions remain at full strength.

Pollard's penalty dropped just short, yet the Springboks finally found the breakthrough moments later, Kolbe holding off Luke Cowan-Dickie's challenge to race over in the corner after a loose ball had broken in South Africa's favour – the try standing after a long TMO review for a possible knock-on from Jasper Wiese.

An Ali Price error handed South Africa a chance to extend their lead, though the Lions held firm and Russell kept his cool at the other end to arrow a three-pointer through the posts after Eben Etzebeth's mistake.

Steyn, South Africa's hero in the 2009 series, entered the fray with 16 minutes remaining, and his first act was to nose the hosts back ahead.

Am's foul on Conor Murray handed Russell the chance to level the scores, an opportunity which the Scot took coolly, but it was Steyn who had the final say.

Herschel Jantjies tried to run the ball after the Boks were awarded a penalty 40 metres out, though fortunately the referee called it back, with Steyn holding his nerve to down the Lions.


OLD NEMESIS STEYN BACK TO HAUNT THE LIONS

Steyn kicked the penalty which settled the 2009 Lions tour in South Africa's favour, and history repeated itself on Saturday.

His 67th Test cap will last long in the memory for South Africa – two penalty opportunities, two successful attempts and a series win. He made four kicks in total in his 18 minutes on the field, including the final one out of play to signal full time and the end of the series. 

South Africa's triumph also means all three matches in this year's Test series were won by the side trailing at half-time.

RUSSELL'S EFFORTS NOT ENOUGH

Like his fellow substitute Steyn, Russell ended the match with a perfect record from the boot – all three of his penalties and his conversion finding the target as he collected 11 points.

It was all in vain, however, and Warren Gatland will be left to lament the indiscipline his team showed in the second half after getting themselves into a strong position. Six Lions tours have gone to a deciding game since they became three-Test series in 1989, with the tourists losing on three occasions, winning twice and drawing once.

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