Post-match scenes from Springboks changing room show Owen Farrell's big jersey swap
At least the England star left Cape Town Stadium with a decent memento.
In the end, after a fractious Test Series and two games that even the purists would not have enjoyed, the Springboks beat the British & Irish Lions 2-1. Owen Farrell got something decent out of the night.
The Lions players are back either in Jersey or, for the Irish contingent, at home after a seven-week tour that brought high-scoring wins in the warm-ups but much closer affairs against the Boks, and South Africa 'A'.
Debates over the match officials, Television Match Official, Rassie Erasmus' frequent social media posts and a brutal, grinding style of rugby placed much of the Test Series under a cloud. However, once the final whistle went in that Third Test, it was good to see rivalries being put to one side.
Following the game, Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones confirmed that both squads had been mingling and chatting over beers in the 'Home' and 'Away' changing rooms.
"The Springboks came and guys are swapping jerseys, and you know are having a quick chat or a long chat because people are familiar, people play domestically together, there's staff that have worked with players.
"On a very basic level, the higher up the tree and more elite you go, the more people you know and the more familiar people are, so you can't escape that because that's what rugby is about. That’s what Lions is about and that's carrying on, obviously with all the testing and that in place it's pretty much safe cause we've just been going against each other for 80 minutes as well."
After his 50th cap for the Springboks ended with a Test and series win, Damian de Allende swapped jerseys with his Munster teammate Conor Murray.
— Saffas Abroad Rugby 🇿🇦🏉 (@SaffasRugby) August 10, 2021
Out on the pitch, before the dressing room beers, Bundee Aki embraced Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and congratulated him on the win.
Kolisi had a fine series and came up with a number of big tackles, turnovers and a try-saving interception on Robbie Henshaw in the Second Test. Aki proved, in that Third Test, that he was more than capable of doing a job for the Lions.
Back in the Boks' changing room, Trevor Nyakane was still dancing, Lood de Jager joined him, Faf de Klerk was buzzing about the place and both de Allende and Handré Pollard were reflecting on a hard-won battle.
The first Lions into their changing room were ones that had not made the match-day squad and had watched the game unfold from the stands. Jamie George chatted to some of the forwards while Owen Farrell swapped jerseys with the Springboks' match-winner, Morné Steyn.
Farrell had played the first two Tests but dropped out of the match-day squad for the decider. Steyn kicked the winning penalty in his first game for South Africa in five years.
Each player gets two jerseys before a game - one to wear and the other to trade. Certain players opt to wear a fresh jersey in the second half so that both Test jerseys will be match-worn.
Elsewhere, Rassie Erasmus celebrated with some bubbly while the rest of the squad downed some of the local beer. The big reunions with family members would come later on at the team hotel. The Springboks shared some of that great behind-the-scenes Whisper TV footage today.
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 11, 2021
A nice end to a Lions Tour like no other.