Eng­land slide to win as Boks slip to loss

Sunday Times - - Sport - By CRAIG RAY at Newlands

● Eng­land ended a five-test los­ing streak with a con­trolled per­for­mance at a slip­pery Newlands yes­ter­day to save some face and take a first win in South Africa since 2000.

An ill-dis­ci­plined Spring­boks con­ceded 15 penal­ties to Eng­land’s six.

Cen­tre Owen Far­rell gave a flaw­less kick­ing dis­play with six suc­cess­ful penalty kicks and a con­ver­sion for a 20-point haul, and wing Johnny May scored Eng­land’s first-ever try against the Spring­boks at Newlands to kill the con­test eight min­utes from time.

With­out ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion the Boks sim­ply had no an­swer to Eng­land’s much more clin­i­cal abil­ity to play the con­di­tions.

The Boks were be­hind on the score­board from the out­set and held the lead for two min­utes af­ter cen­tre Jesse Kriel pounced on a well-weighted kick by full­back War­rick Ge­lant early in the sec­ond half.

The treach­er­ous con­di­tions were al­ways go­ing to be a lev­eller in the match.

Con­sid­er­ing how wet it was un­der­foot, both sides man­aged the el­e­ments ad­mirably, but it was a match that would al­ways come down to who made the least mis­takes.

Eng­land’s play­ers are much more well­versed in soak­ing, cold con­di­tions and af­ter a strong start by the Boks that kept Eng­land pinned back for the open­ing ex­changes, the vis­i­tors grew into the match.

Though it was a tight, at­tri­tional bat­tle, Eng­land man­aged to cre­ate oc­ca­sional space more ef­fec­tively than the home team.

May car­ried on his form of the first two tests by mak­ing in­roads into Bok ter­ri­tory. Ini­tially he couldn’t fin­ish be­cause find­ing the fi­nal pass on a sur­face re­sem­bling an icerink was nearly im­pos­si­ble. But he had the telling say.

Two of the six penal­ties the Spring­boks con­ceded in the first half re­sulted in points from the boot of Far­rell. The Boks were also let off the hook when Eng­land full­back El­liot Daly kicked a penalty dead in­stead of set­ting up a li­ne­out close to the Boks line.

All things con­sid­ered, go­ing into the break 6-3 down af­ter fly­half El­ton Jan­tjies landed a penalty on the stroke of half time, was a good out­come for the Boks in the open­ing 40 min­utes.

Jan­tjies, who has never brought his Su­per Rugby form to the test arena, strug­gled to give his side shape in a match that couldn’t be fur­ther from a habi­tat he thrives in.

He twice knocked on kicks un­der rel­a­tively lit­tle pres­sure and al­ways looked un­com­fort­able in the con­di­tions and was with­drawn on the hour.

Most of the tac­ti­cal kick­ing was left to scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who was rea­son­ably ac­cu­rate with his up-and-un­ders but both he

It was a match that would al­ways come down to who made the least mis­takes

and Jan­tjies are left-footed and the Boks were oc­ca­sion­ally penned in with­out a right­footed kick­ing op­tion.

The set pieces were finely bal­anced through­out but Eng­land open­side Tom Curry was a menace at the break­down and edged that bat­tle, leav­ing the Boks look­ing to their heavy hit­ters to give them mo­men­tum.

Locks Franco Mostert and RG Sny­man and flank Pieter-Steph du Toit ran will­ingly into con­tact and were met with fierce re­sis­tance on the gain line while No 8 Nathan Hughes was Eng­land’s bat­ter­ing ram-inchief.

The big men all but neu­tralised each other in a con­test that turned on fine mar­gins. And with Far­rell driv­ing his team around the park with ac­cu­racy and Jan­tjies do­ing the ex­act op­po­site, there was only go­ing to be one win­ner.

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