South Africa condemn England to five defeats in a row

Eddie Jones’ side throw away another strong start as Springboks wrap up series

Tempers flare as a fight breaks out between the two teams in Bloemfontein.  Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

Tempers flare as a fight breaks out between the two teams in Bloemfontein. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

South Africa 23 England 12

South Africa profited from a second-half penalty try to inflict more misery on England with a 23-12 victory and a series win in the second test at the Free State Stadium on Saturday.

Poor discipline cost England again as they slipped to a fifth test loss in a row, piling the pressure on coach Eddie Jones some 15 months out from the World Cup in Japan next year. Number eight Duane Vermeulen scored a try for the Springboks, while outhalf Handre Pollard kicked three penalties and a conversion in a game that did not have the same high drama as the first test at Ellis Park, but was equally absorbing.

England scored their tries early through wings Mike Brown and Jonny May, while centre Owen Farrell kicked a conversion as they failed to register a point after the 13th minute.

For the second week running England surged into an early lead with two scores as they spread the ball wide and were met with brittle defence from the home side. The tourists sucked in the Bok forwards before creating a two-on-one overlap as Brown cantered in for the score.

Thomas du Toit of South Africa is held in the tackle by Brad Shields of England during the second test. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Thomas du Toit of South Africa is held in the tackle by Brad Shields of England during the second test. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

George Ford was bombarding the Bok back-three with high balls and England contested these well, pinning the home side back in their half. After again ensuring the Boks committed numbers to the breakdown in a narrow defensive line, they swung the ball wide, this time to the right, and May crossed to score, though he was aided by a weak attempt at a tackle by Bok wing S’busiso Nkosi.

England held a 12-point lead with 13 minutes gone, but the Boks came alive with a series of lineouts and driving mauls that took them into the visitors’ 22. The tourists resisted until Vermeulen had too much power for the England defenders as he held off three to barge his way over the line.

England’s discipline, such an issue last weekend at Ellis Park, began to slip again as referee Romain Poite penalised them first for obstruction at the lineout and then for not releasing at the ruck and Pollard punished them twice to hand the Boks a 13-12 half-time lead.

Thomas du Toit of South Africa is held in the tackle by Brad Shields of England during the second test. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Thomas du Toit of South Africa is held in the tackle by Brad Shields of England during the second test. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

The Boks extended that advantage after camping in the England half for the first 10 minutes of the second period, with Poite awarding a penalty try as the tourists collapsed the set-piece a yard from their own line having been muscled backwards. After Pollard extended the Boks’ lead to 11 points with another penalty, England introduced Danny Cipriani at outhalf for his first test cap since 2015.

But England’s discipline again let them down again as they were reduced to 14 players for virtually the remainder of the game when replacement Nathan Hughes was sin-binned for playing the ball on the floor, Poite finally losing patience with repeated infringements. It was always going to be difficult to break down an improved Bok defence in the final 10 minutes with a man down and the home side held on for the series win.

The third and final test will be played in Cape Town on June 23rd.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.