Two yellow cards in two minutes in second Lions Test
Duhan van der Merwe and Cheslin Kolbe sin-binned
Of course it was going to happen.
After all the chat about officiating in the build-up, it was probably little surprise that there were cards shown in the first half of the second Test of the British & Irish Lions 2021 series against South Africa.
First Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe was yellow-carded 23 minutes in for tripping Cheslin Kolbe near the halfway line as South Africa launched an attack from a lineout and spread the ball across the pitch.
The incident was referred to the TMO and referee Ben O’Keeffe pulled out his card as it was clear that van der Merwe had tripped Kolbe.
Then just two minutes later it was Kolbe who was heading to the sin-bin.
The Springboks wing was penalised for taking Conor Murray out in the air as the Lions scrum-half leapt to claim a high ball.
Both that incident and the resulting ‘scuffle’, as players from both teams rushed in for the second time in the match, were sent up to the TMO.
O’Keeffe had previously warned players that they would be yellow-carded for off-the-ball incidents like that but as there were no clear offenders he stuck with just a yellow card for Kolbe for the foul play of taking Murray in the air.
Many felt that Kolbe was lucky to avoid a red card, with the fact Murray landed on his back after breaking his fall with his arm the apparent mitigating factor.
That the first half took 63 minutes from the first whistle to last illustrated how stop-start the second Test of this series had been.
The Lions took a 1-0 lead into the match having won the first Test 22-17 and this second fixture of the series was just as tight with the tourists leading 9-6 at half-time.
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