The British & Irish Lions were made to work for a narrow 26-24 victory in Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein…

Luke Fitzgerald made his competitive debut for the Lions and was forced off with what appeared to be cramp in the closing minutes, with the Enniskerry man replaced by his provincial colleague Gordon D’Arcy who was called up to the squad earlier in the week.

Tries early on from Ireland duo Stephen Ferris and Keith Earls, both of which were converted by James Hook, gave the visitors a commanding lead, while Hook also kicked four penalties, but with Ferris sin-binned, Danwell Demas and Wian Du Preez scored for the hosts.

Corne Uys’s intercept try from a Shane Williams pass with eight minutes left saw the Lions hanging on desperately.

Cheetahs (14) 24

Tries: Dumas, Du Preez, Uys Cons: Potgieter 2, Strydom Pen: Potgieter

British and Irish Lions (23) 26 

Tries: Ferris, Earls Cons: Hook 2 Pens: Hook 3


15. Lee Byrne (Ospreys/Wales)
14. Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
13. Keith Earls (Munster/Ireland)
12. Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster/Ireland)
11. Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales)
10. James Hook (Ospreys/Wales)
9. Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England) 

8. Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
7. Joe Worsley (London Wasps/England)
6. Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland)
5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland) CAPTAIN
4. Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster/Ireland)
3. Euan Murray (Northampton Saints/Scotland)
2. Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland)
1. Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks/England)


16. Matthew Rees (Scarlets/Wales)
17. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
18. Simon Shaw (London Wasps/England)
19. Nathan Hines (Perpignan/Scotland)
20. Mike Blair (Edinburgh/Scotland)
21. Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Ireland)
22. Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster/Ireland)