JP Pietersen opened the Boks account five minutes later but Ruan Pienaar missed the conversion and as the Lions continued to dominate, Jones added a penalty and then a drop goal for a well deserved 16-5 lead.
Francois Steyn landed a late penalty to leave his side trailing 16-8 at the break.
Lions: Robert Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Luke Fitzgerald; Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, 4 Simon Shaw, Paul O'Connell capt; Tom Croft, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Ross Ford Andrew Sheridan, A-W Jones, Martyn Williams, Harry Ellis, Ronan O'Gara, S Williams.
South Africa: Frans Steyn; JP Pietersen, Adi Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, John Smit capt; Bakkies Botha,Victor Matfield; Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Deon Carstens, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Heinrich Brussow, Jaque Fourie, Morne Steyn.