South Africa edge out England in Ellis Park thriller
England throw away 24-3 lead and feel the force of South Africa ‘Boklash’
South Africa’s centre Aphiwe Dyantyi scores a try. Photograph: Getty Images
South Africa 42 England 39
South Africa began a new era for their rugby with a dramatic three-point victory over England in the first test at Ellis Park on Saturday, coming back after conceding three tries in a horrific opening 17-minute spell to go 1-0 ahead in the three-match series.
The Springboks, with their first-ever black captain in Siya Kolisi and a new coach in Rassie Erasmus, powered their way back with five tries of their own after falling 24-3 behind in the early exchanges of a high-scoring and action-packed encounter but had to hold on grimly at the end for their narrow victory.
Debutant winger S’busiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi scored three tries between them but it was the return to the side of English-based scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and fullback Willie le Roux that propelled the home side to victory while condemning England to a fourth successive test defeat after they lost their Six Nations crown earlier this year.
England got off to a dream start as they eased through a leaky home defence and saw Mike Brown, Elliott Daly and George Farrell all score in a blistering start. Late tries from Maro Itoje and Jonny May allowed them to come close to snatching a win at the end.