Ruthless South Africa steamroller British and Irish Lions to level series

South Africa showed their World Champion credentials with a ruthless display of power and precision to steamroller the British and Irish Lions in the second test - levelling the series in the process.

After a close first half, Siya Kilosi's men turned up the power in the second to run in two tries and run up a humbling 27-9 defeat.

Much was expected of the Lions after their first Test win but they were simply outmuscled after the break and had no answer to the Springboks.

The series will be decided at the same Cape Town venue in a weeks' time.

The British Lions have much to ponder of the next week. Credit: PA

An often grisly spectacle disfigured by repeated stoppages saw the Lions build a deserved 9-6 interval lead through three Dan Biggar penalties, but having been largely bossed until that point the world champions began to snarl in the second half.

Makazole Mapimpi crossed to propel them back in front and then Lukhanyo Am touched down as they capitalised on excellent kicks from Handre Pollard and Faf De Klerk.

A feature of the match was the world champions’ growing control of the air as the Lions struggled to deal with the barrage of kicks raining down on them, while up-front the home pack muscled up in a dominant 40 minutes.

Unlike in the first Test that was lost 22-17, the ‘Bomb Squad’ had the desired impact from the bench, and the size of the win as the Springboks powered over the finishing line with their forwards rampant suggests they were undercooked for the series opener seven days earlier.

Referee Ben O'Keefe (right) speaks with South Africa's Siya Kolisi (left) and British & Irish Lions' Alun Wyn Jones Credit: PA

South Africa were lucky to see Cheslin Kolbe avoid a red card after he took Conor Murray out in the air, while a high tackle by De Klerk, also on Murray, was given only brief attention by the officials.

Otherwise it was a fine performance by referee Ben O’Keeffe, who was subject to unprecedented scrutiny after Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus released an extraordinary hour-long critique of the officiating in the first Test.

O’Keeffe was calm and composed throughout a fractious match that was constantly interrupted by reviews on a huge number of incidents, with the first half alone lasting over an hour.