South Africa (29) 42
Tries: De Klerk, Nkosi 2, Le Roux, Dyantyi Cons: Pollard 4 Pens: Pollard 3
England (27) 39
Tries: Brown, Daly, Farrell, Itoje, May Cons: Farrell 4 Pens: Daly, Farrell
England Rugby Union crashed to their fourth successive test defeat as they failed to hold of a stunning South African fight back to take the first test in Johannesburg on Saturday.
After the failure to impress in the Six Nations and the mistake ridden game against the Barbarians England looked to have sorted their issues out as they hit South Africa hard early in the 1st test. With some near perfect rugby and with number eight Billy Vunipola back in the side for his first test in over twelve months, it wasn’t long before he made his presence felt has he fixed up to Springbok defenders, allowing England to make space out wide for Mike Brown to open the scoring. Next up Elliot Daly raced over to increase England’s early advantage, before George Ford’s neat pass resulted in Brown finding space before sending his skipper Owen Farrell over as England opened a 24-3 advantage with only 20mins gone.
By now the result could have gone one of two either South Africa could have folded and England cruise to a record score or South Africa could get their heads in the game and fight back which is exactly what they did and it was two english based players that lead the way. Sales sharks scrum half Faf De Klerk and Wasps full back Willie Le Roux.
De Klerk’s try looked to settle the home side as he leads from the front, while La Roux interaction as a playmaker lead to two tries to south African flyer S’busiso Nkosi, only before La Roux crossed himself to give the Springboks a remarkable 29-27 half time lead.
After a 56 point first half, the second period was much more conservative as both sides defence’s were on top and with South Africa controlling possession and territory they would have opened an unassailable gap had Pollard been on target with more than one of his three penalty chances. However, Mako Vunipola’s untimely tackle on De Klerk earned him a yellow card and from their South Africa pushed forward and Aphiwe Dyantyi crashed over to give them a 10 point lead.
From their England regathered themselves as Maro Itoje and Jonny May crossed but a third Pollard penalty minutes from time just pushed the home side to a famous victory
Le Roux; Nkosi, Am, De Allende, Dyantyi, Pollard; De Klerk, Vermeulen, Du Preez, Kolisi, Mostert, Snyman, W Louw, Mbonambi, Mtawarira.
Replacements: Van der Merwe, Kitshoff, T du Toit, P du Toit, Notshe, I Van Zyl, Jantjies, Gelant.
Daly; May, Slade, Farrell, Brown; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Isiekwe, Robshaw, T Curry, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Marler, Williams, Shields, Hill, Spencer, Francis, Solomona.