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Sunday Jul 25, 2021

Unimpressed Vunipola loses patience with Cheslin Kolbe in Cape Town

British & Irish Lions prop Mako Vunipola picked up Springboks star Cheslin Kolbe like a rag doll during Saturday’s opening Test match in Cape Town.

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Kolbe landed heavily after competing in the air with Ali Price midway through the second half and lay on the floor covering his face in pain.

This appeared to irritate Vunipola as the replacement came over to Kolbe and lifted the 74kg winger straight back to his feet and stripped the ball.

Vunipola, who weighs almost twice what Kolbe does, had no issues getting the Toulouse star off the turf and although the Springboks were nursing a one-point lead going into the final quarter of the match, the Lions ran away with a 17-22 win.

“They’ll be hurt from this because they’re an incredibly proud nation and world champions. Next week will be even bigger and tougher, I would expect,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

“From our point of view, you win that first one and you know that, no matter what happens, you’re going to the last weekend of the series. That keeps everyone engaged and really interested in it.

“For us, we feel like there’s an awful lot more in us too. From a conditioning point of view, it looks like we’re getting stronger and stronger and are able to keep the intensity and the pace going for the whole 80 minutes.

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“That’s a really pleasing aspect of how hard we’ve worked over the last six weeks or so.”

The second Test match will take place next Saturday, 31 July in Cape Town.

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