Far­rell kicks Eng­land to vic­tory over waste­ful Spring­boks

Rugby

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - SPORT -

One way or an­other, Owen Far­rell was go­ing to be the de­ci­sive fac­tor in a tense fi­nale be­tween Eng­land and South Africa.

The Eng­land fly­half was re­lieved it was his late penalty, and not a dis­puted tackle, that turned out to be the de­ci­sive mo­ment in a 12-11 win over the Spring­boks at Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day.

Far­rell's kick put Eng­land ahead in the 73rd minute. His coun­ter­part Han­dre Pol­lard had a chance to re­gain the lead four min­utes from the end but his shot glanced off the right post.

The fin­ish was made more dra­matic in the fi­nal sec­onds when the Tele­vi­sion Match Of­fi­cial was con­sulted over a Far­rell tackle on An­dre Ester­huizen. But it was deemed just fair enough, and Eng­land held on for a morale­boost­ing vic­tory ahead of fix­tures against New Zealand, Ja­pan, and Aus­tralia.

South Africa scored the only try through Sibu­siso Nkosi but an 86 half­time lead didn't re­flect its to­tal dom­i­nance as turnovers from strong at­tack­ing po­si­tions helped Eng­land re­main in con­tention de­spite Eddie Jones' side not touch­ing the ball in­side the Spring­boks' 22 dur­ing the en­tire open­ing pe­riod.

Two Far­rell penal­ties kept Eng­land in touch be­fore a long-range El­liot Daly kick gave the home side its first lead af­ter the break.

South Africa went back in front through Pol­lard 12 min­utes from the end, but he failed to re­peat the feat af­ter Far­rell's last penalty kick.

With Eng­land play­ing its first test since los­ing a three-test se­ries to the Spring­boks in June and miss­ing key play­ers through in­jury, a lack of co­he­sion was ev­i­dent in the first half.

South Africa, which beat New Zealand in the re­cently fin­ished Rugby Cham­pi­onship, was sharp from the out­set and con­trolled the game via the boot of scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl.

Eng­land was pinned back and lock Maro Itoje was sin-binned.

The home side was in the as­cen­dancy as tir­ing legs led to more open pas­sages of play, but Pol­lard put the Boks ahead.

Iron­i­cally, the scrum which caused so many prob­lems for Eng­land in the first half proved de­ci­sive as Eng­land earned a penalty on a South Africa feed. Far­rell, who was limp­ing af­ter a big tackle mo­ments ear­lier, non­cha­lantly kicked Eng­land back in from near the left touch­line.

Then the Eng­land co-cap­tain al­most un­did all of his good work. The vic­tory gives Eng­land cru­cial con­fi­dence ahead of the All Blacks' visit to Twick­en­ham next week­end.

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