Escape to victory
Farrell’s controversial last-ditch tackle seals win against the odds for Eddie Jones’ men of steel Jones lays down challenge with New Zealand up next Farrell defends tackle amid late TMO controversy
Eddie Jones threw down the gauntlet to the All Blacks ahead of their showdown with England at Twickenham next Saturday after a heart-stopping 12-11 win over South Africa.
However, the head coach faces an anxious wait to learn if his co-captain, Owen Farrell, will be available as citing officers examine the fly-half’s added time tackle on Andre Esterhuizen. Referee Angus Gardner ruled it acceptable after consulting with his TMO, Olly Hodges, but match citing commissioner Keith Brown, of New Zealand, has until 5pm today to make a call.
“It was a good solid tackle,” said Jones. “We can’t wait to play New Zealand. They’re all sitting in their hotel, probably drinking cups of tea, maybe having some scones, saying, ‘Oh we’ll take these guys.’ They’ll be confident and we can’t wait to get them.
“New Zealand are a different kettle of fish to South Africa. They play the game differently. They want the game to be an athletic contest. We won’t be wearing singlets and running shorts out there. It will be a proper game of rugby. One hundred per cent we can win.”
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus acknowledged that he was frustrated by events and endeavoured not to admit to sarcasm as he stated that he must teach his players to tackle like Farrell as it was so effective.
“It was a good tackle, well done, because I haven’t seen Andre Esterhuizen being tackled like that in a while,” said Erasmus. “If it was all legal, we should start tackling like that. It’s obviously something that’s really effective. Nothing upset me. To tackle a guy like Andre Esterhuizen like that and stop him in his tracks, that’s unbelievable.”
Farrell felt his tackle was fine. “It went to the touch judge, he said check and then it all slows down,” said Farrell, who kicked three penalties. “Sometimes you can take what you want from it. It’s hard to wrap your arms around when you’re both hitting each other at that much force, but I tried to. [It was deemed OK], that’s what the referee said and that’s what is most important.”
England had lost five of their previous six matches and pressure was mounting on Jones, who was asked if this had been an important game and result for England in that context.
“Why is it always the most important game? Because you want to sack me? You’re going to do it at some stage,” he said. “If I stay long enough, you’re going to get me sacked. One day you’ll be happy. You’ll come in and say, ‘Fantastic, we’ve got another bloke we can terrorise.’ It was a good Test match. We’re happy, they’re not so happy.”
Shouldering the burden: Owen Farrell’s ‘no-arms’ tackle stops Andre Esterhuizen in the dying moments yesterday, ensuring England’s thrilling narrow victory over South Africa in front of an enthralled Twickenham crowd
Smiling again: Eddie Jones is delighted England made it two wins in a row against a reborn South Africa