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With a loss to South Africa’s ‘A’ team, the Lions get a taste of what’s to come.

Sbu Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am scored tries in the first half as a powerful South Africa ‘A’ side beat the British & Irish Lions 17-13 in what was billed an unofficial’fourth test’ in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The game, according to Lions coach Warren Gatland, would be a useful measure of where his team is ahead of three tests against world champion Scotland.

They were better in scrums and maintained ball well through the phases, but they failed to deal with their opponents’ physicality and were repeatedly beaten back in tackles. Against the full-strength Boks, things will only grow more difficult.

The tourists’ solitary try came from prop Wyn Jones, who will have a much easier time when they face the Stormers of Cape Town on Saturday in their final game.

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“We needed a hit out against a strong side, the physicality was a different level tonight. We learned a lot of things,” Lions captain Conor Murray said at the post-match presentation.

“But we can be proud, we came back from 17-3 down and corrected things in the second half. It was really physical, we haven’t come up against that yet on this tour and the breakdown will be huge in this series.

“The loss doesn’t mean a lot, we can learn from the first half, that if we start slowly against this side we will lose.”

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