South Africa recovered from 24-3 down to beat England 42-39 in a thrilling clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Three converted tries courtesy of Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell in the first 20 minutes, plus a gigantic penalty from Daly gave England the perfect start and silenced the Ellis Park faithful.
Faf de Klerk instigated South Africa’s fightback with a superb display with Duane Vermeulen and Willie Le Roux also playing huge parts in South Africa’s revival.
De Klerk scored to give the Springboks hope and his try proved to be a galvanising force as S’Busiso Nkosi crossed twice before Willie Le Roux added a fourth to give South Africa a 29-27 half-time lead.
South Africa continued to dominate in the second half but could only add a try and a penalty, and despite Maro Itoje and Jonny May going over to give England a fighting chance, South Africa held on to give new coach Rassie Erasmus and new captain Siya Kolisi their first win.
It was the perfect outcome to celebrate a landmark moment in South African history after flanker Kolisi had become the first black captain of their Test team.
Daly opened up England’s account with a mammoth 61m kick after just two minutes, giving South Africa an early warning not to digress.
However, it got worse for the hosts when moments later Brown went over in the corner, bursting through some poor defence by Handre Pollard and Damian de Allende. Farrell converted and England were 10-0 up.
Pollard clawed three points back to make it 10-3 after 10 minutes but England scored their second as George Ford and May exploited South Africa’s staggered defence to open them up and send Daly over.
With South Africa’s defence totally rattled, England struck again as Ford created their third try with a beautiful pass to May – who then released Farrell coming in at pace. His conversion made it 24-3 after 20 minutes and England looked unstoppable.
However, South Africa showed their character with their overseas players leading the charge. They hit back through De Klerk after S’bu Nkosi looked to run over Brown, but Pollard could not add the extras.
Their second try was opportunistic as Nkosi’s grubber looked to be well covered by a sliding Daly but he mistimed it and could not gather, allowing Nkosi to score South Africa’s second try – and his first for the Boks. Pollard converted to make it 15-24
That became 22-24 when Nkosi scored his second in the 32nd minute after some fantastic phases with Le Roux, Aphiwe Dyantyi and Nkosi combining. Pollard converted and the Boks were right back in the game.
South Africa scored their fourth as they struck from a driving lineout and quick hands saw Le Roux go over. While England kicked a penalty with time up in the first half, they still looked shellshocked as they headed into the tunnel with South Africa 29-27 up.
South Africa started the second half like they had finished the first – with massive lock RG Snyman making some big carries, but they could not turn their dominance into points.
However, Pollard did slot over two penalties – the second won at a dominant scrum – which opened up a five-point gap and it was worrying times for England, who were barely able to get their hands on the ball.
When they did counter through Tom Curry, a knock-on ended the attack and their frustration was clear when Mako Vunipola followed through on De Klerk, earning a yellow card.
And in the next play, South Africa had all-but-sealed the outcome when debutant winger Aphiwe Dyantyi juggled the ball while crossing the line before touching down.
Itoje and May plundered late tries, but Pollard’s boot meant the Springboks had done enough as England crashed to a fifth successive defeat.
Source – Skysports