Boks go big, then go home

CityPress - - Sport - SIMNIKIWE XA­BAN­ISA sports@city­

The Spring­boks got ex­actly what they bar­gained for when Eng­land broke the 10-year hoodoo the South Africans had held over them at Twick­en­ham in Eng­land yes­ter­day.

Hav­ing picked a hulk­ing team aimed at keep­ing things re­spectable rather than nec­es­sary to win a rugby game, they got just that as Eng­land weath­ered a spir­ited, if pre­dictable, storm of one-off run­ners and showed them for the di­nosaurs they are be­com­ing with each pass­ing week.

The Boks led the game 6-0 and 9-7, af­ter a promis­ing start saw fly half Pat Lam­bie slot two penal­ties and a left­footed drop-goal each time South Africa got into Eng­land’s ter­ri­tory.

But the mo­ment Ed­die Jones’ men wised up to the Boks’ pre­dictable fare of old mis­takes – a frag­ile de­fence, a barely ex­is­tent kick­ing game and shoddy break­down work – the hosts had as good as won. The mo­ment they took the out­right lead oc­curred in the 34th minute, to be pre­cise.

The Boks had come into the game look­ing to im­prove in sev­eral ar­eas. While the scrums and li­ne­outs con­tin­ued to hold their own – as they have in re­cent weeks – the team’s de­fence, kick­ing and aerial game, and break­down play were still in­fu­ri­at­ingly in­con­sis­tent.

While the Boks took turns shar­ing their own ball at the li­ne­outs – even cen­tre Damian de Al­lende took a de­lib­er­ate over­throw at the back – it was puz­zling as to why they did not con­test the hosts’ ball once in de­fence in the first half, in spite of hav­ing picked no less than five jumpers.

The scram­bling in de­fence sug­gested the Boks were will­ing to put their bod­ies on the line, but de­fen­sive er­rors still led to Eng­land’s first two tries, by wing Jonny May and lock Court­ney Lawes.

In the for­mer’s try, the Boks got flum­moxed by a well-worked move off a li­ne­out by Eng­land which had more dummy run­ners than a clothes shop win­dow, al­low­ing them­selves to be sucked into the mid­field – only for Eng­land to quickly re­cy­cle the ball out to May, who was on his own by the time the pass caught up with him.

The sec­ond try was a re­sult of not clos­ing down Ben Youngs’ space – in so do­ing, al­low­ing him a kick ahead that Ruan Com­brinck and Wil­lie le Roux failed to deal with, with 50th cap Lawes the last man to flop on a ball which had avoided sev­eral play­ers like a cake of soap.

Also, de­fend­ing around the ruck fringes was piti­ful, with the Boks al­low­ing Eng­land through on sev­eral oc­ca­sions in the first half be­fore be­ing pun­ished with a Ge­orge Ford try early in the sec­ond half.

Again the kick­ing game failed to reap re­wards, with the kick­ers ei­ther kick­ing too far for the chasers or South Africa un­cer­tain un­der the high ball when it came to their turn to dif­fuse the high bombs.

With broadsword flankers to han­dle the col­li­sions, Coet­zee’s men were ad­e­quate get­ting over the ad­van­tage line, but not hav­ing a des­ig­nated fetcher meant they couldn’t do much to slow the op­po­si­tion’s ball when de­fend­ing. SCOR­ERS: Eng­land 37 – Tries: Jonny May, Court­ney Lawes, Ge­orge Ford, Owen Far­rell. Con­ver­sions: Far­rell (4). Penal­ties: Far­rell (2), El­liot Daly SA 21 – Tries: Jo­han Goosen, Wil­lie le Roux. Con­ver­sion: Ruan Com­brinck. Penal­ties: Pat Lam­bie (2). Drop-goal: Lam­bie

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.