Here's what the press had to say about the 20-8 victory in Port Elizabeth…
Peter Jackson in the Daily Mail
Ronan O'Gara pulled the Lions through their first street fight of the tour yesterday, ensuring they take a perfect winning record into the Test series for the first time in 20 years.
Not since Australia in 1989 have Great Britain & Ireland United won all six pre-Test matches. Yesterday they had to lick their wounds while counting the casualties and came from behind after refusing to be bludgeoned into submission.
The first event at the spanking new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Republic's Friendly City deserved something better than enough low blows to have caused a stink at the old Madison Square Garden.
The Southern Kings, a scratch team reinforced by some overseas mercenaries, certainly made their cynical mark, often disgracefully. O'Gara had hoped for nothing more taxing than a pleasant afternoon sitting on the bench.
Instead, once James Hook had been led off not really knowing what day it was after taking a swinging arm to the head, Ireland's fly half rolled his sleeves up to make the biggest contribution.
Angry at the 'cheap shots' he had seen rain down on some teammates, O'Gara initially refused to shake hands with his opposite number, Jaco van der Westhuyzen. By then, he had kicked two penalties, saved an early Kings try and engineered the first of two second-half tries which he also converted.
The roughing up process began at the earliest available opportunity, Frikkie Welsh smashing into Gordon D'Arcy's back after the Irish centre had fed his wing. It was late enough to have warranted a sin-binning, let alone a penalty.
The Lions got neither, despite the incident happening right in front of the South African touch judge Kobus Wessels. Astonishingly, he kept his flag down, an error which encouraged Derick Kuun's team to create all sorts of mayhem with impunity.
John O'Sullivan in the Irish Times
This game did little for rugby, a contest with a nasty undercurrent where the home side periodically overstepped the boundaries of legitimate aggression. It was a pity because when they kept it on the edge, the Southern Kings, a team thrown together less than two weeks ago, gave the Lions their most serious physical test before a crowd of 35,800 at the beautifully appointed Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
They hit rucks and tackles with a ferocity that knocked the visitors out of their stride. Derick Kuun inspired his pack by deed and it was a challenge picked up by every one of their players and that extended to the backline. The Kings complained about Nigel Owens but the Lions wouldn't have been too enamoured with the officiating for different reasons.
Lions coach Ian McGeechan will have been pleased with the sixth straight tour victory but concerned at losing players like Euan Murray and James Hook to injury, the latter not seriously. Ronan O'Gara played virtually the entire match at the epicentre of the verbal exchanges that pockmarked the mini-flare-ups.
He kicked his goals, made one try-saving tackle and it was from his cross-kick that Ugo Monye scored his try. Keith Earls made some wonderful breaks, while Luke Fitzgerald ran some good lines, but once again the forwards dominated the patterns.
Rob Kitson in the Guardian
If there was not a Test match looming this weekend, there would unquestionably have been more fuss made. Every touring side travels in the knowledge they will encounter at least one host side intent on softening them up and the Lions finally took delivery of the entire kitchen sink in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The Southern Kings came looking for heads to crack and there could easily have been more than two visiting players, Euan Murray and James Hook, invalided out of the first Test.
How on earth no one was cited is a mystery known only to the French citing commissioner, Jean-Etienne Bernard. When Ronan O'Gara talked about "cheap shots" he was not whinging, simply telling it precisely as it was. Frikkie Welsh and De Wet Barry have both earned a living in the Guinness Premiership, with Bath and Harlequins respectively, and seemingly went out of their way to settle a few old scores. Welsh's late hit from behind on Gordon D'Arcy in the first couple of minutes set the tone and Jaco van der Westhuyzen's forearm smash on Riki Flutey, for which he was sent to the sin-bin, was not much better.
And yet. The best sides have always had to deal with such roughhouse tactics, and they have come out in rather better shape than the Lions frequently did in Port Elizabeth. As the Kings' coach, Alan Solomons, indicated after the game, things will be just as physical, if not more so, against the Springboks. He was talking less about gratuitous head shots and more about the sheer bludgeoning power of Bakkies Botha and co but the effect will be broadly similar. If the Lions are not able to dish out a little bit themselves, it could be a very long and painful afternoon.
Gavin Rich for Super Sport
Both protagonists involved in the forthcoming test series between the Springboks and the British and Irish Lions should be able to find something positive for themselves in the midweek game played in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
Although few of the Lions players in action against the Southern Kings in the bruising match held to celebrate the opening of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be in action in the first Test, the fixture should have impacted on the psychology of the tourists.
It was the first time a side really came at the Lions physically, and the "let's climb in at all costs" attitude of what was essentially a composite team that will never again play together did show up the Lions - at least in the first half.
Faced with a side that confronted them physically, the Lions dropped balls and made mistakes unbecoming of an international team. In short, they had an absolute shocker, with the Southen Kings side spending most of the first half in Lions territory.
The attitude that seemed to emanate from the Kings camp afterwards was one of, 'We showed the Boks how it could be done'.
However, while the Kings were claiming some kind of moral victory, the Lions were equally adamant that their ability to withstand the onslaught and come out on top on the scoreboard was a big positive…It might just be that the increased resolve that would have come out of this additional character test might serve to benefit the Lions more than the Springboks.
Paul Ackford in the Daily Telegraph
First, the good news. This was a compelling game of rugby, a match full of vigour, niggle and attitude. On a tour which, frankly, has been pretty dull, there was at last something to get worked up about.
This is what the Lions will get on Saturday against the Springboks with knobs on. That Test will be several notches higher in intensity and the skill levels will be noticeably enhanced too. I'm salivating already.
Now, the even better news. In a match in which the Lions struggled for at least an hour, a match which the vast majority of the Test team were probably watching with their feet up in Durban, the midweek side did enough.
As long ago as last autumn, head coach Ian McGeechan was talking about the importance of the undercard to the Test effort. He recounted tales of 1989, when Irish lock Donal Lenihan dragged the Wednesday side round Australia, a smile, a quip and a victory always in his grasp.
This tour is unlike previous trips in that the midweek dirt trackers were never firmly established. Luminaries such as Brian O'Driscoll have featured away from the Saturday action, but that does not diminish the significance of this victory one bit. For the Lions to stand a chance against the Boks, they had to come first.
This match against the Southern Kings wasn't about the style of rugby the Lions will play in the Test. It was to do with whether they have the bottle to go the distance, whether they are tough enough to force the slightest chance of an upset.
The Lions hadn't faced a side like the Kings before. All their previous matches had been polite, pat-a-cake rugby. This match was raw and brutal. There were late tackles and cheap shots, mostly from Frikkie Welsh.
The Kings had two of their players sent to the sin bin, one for a professional foul and one for a delayed charge on Riki Flutey. It was exactly the kind of warm-up the Lions needed if they are to go into the Test properly fired up.
Chris Hewett in the Independent
Ian McGeechan must have been sorely tempted to let fly at some of the more blood-curdling tackles he witnessed from the Southern Kings yesterday as his British and Irish Lions chiselled out a sixth victory in as many matches on their tour of South Africa. But in Test week of all weeks, the head coach saw little point in creating a diplomatic incident over tactics used by a team no Lions party may ever face again.
McGeechan's captain for the day, the Irish lock Donncha O'Callaghan, admitted that some of the more nakedly aggressive incidents tested the tourists' powers of forbearance, while his countryman Ronan O'Gara expressed the view that there were more cheap shots in the course of these 80 minutes than in all five previous fixtures put together.
There was little doubt that the Lions camp were unhappy about the acid flavour of the contest and in their quiet moments, the coaching team will ask themselves how so many brutal tackles were allowed to go unpunished. But McGeechan declined to criticise the referee, Nigel Owens of Wales, in public.