No cause for panic as Jones tar­gets swift re­ply

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT - DUN­CAN BECH IN JO­HAN­NES­BURG ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

ED­DIE JONES in­sists South Africa used their “get out of jail card” at El­lis Park as Eng­land re­turned to their coastal base to lick their wounds.

A fourth suc­ces­sive Test de­feat was regis­tered as the Spring­boks fought back from a 21-point deficit sur­ren­dered in­side the first quar­ter to pre­vail 42-39 in a mes­meris­ing open­ing in­stal­ment of the se­ries.

It is Eng­land’s worst run since 2014 and the pres­sure is con­tin­u­ing to build af­ter a stun­ning open­ing salvo of tries from Mike Brown, El­liot Daly and Owen Far­rell was fol­lowed by a dra­matic col­lapse partly in­duced by the re­cur­ring flaw of in­dis­ci­pline.

Jones, who was ver­bally abused by South Africa fans in the tun­nel af­ter the match, be­lieves the Spring­boks had rid­den their luck as his team dropped to fifth in the global rank­ings.

“South Africa have used a get out of jail card and some­times you don’t get that again,” said Jones.

“They know they were in one hell of a game, they got home and did well to get home and de­served the vic­tory.

“They’ll take con­fi­dence from the re­sult, but we’ll take con­fi­dence from this game as well. Not at all will it be hard to pick the play­ers up.

“The way we played in the first 20 minutes is the way we want to play all the time. This game has set the se­ries up fan­tas­ti­cally well.”

While Eng­land re­turn to Umh­langa on the In­dian Ocean to be­gin prepa­ra­tions for Satur­day’s sec­ond match at Free State Sta­dium, South Africa cel­e­brates a land­mark mo­ment in the na­tion’s his­tory.

As the Spring­boks’ first black Test cap­tain in their 126-year his­tory, the reign of Siya Kolisi got off to a scripted start and the mean­ing of the oc­ca­sion is not lost on Jones.

“It’s a big mo­ment for the coun­try to have Kolisi as cap­tain and for him to win his first game at El­lis Park, the spir­i­tual home­land of the Spring­boks,” said Jones.

“It’s an enor­mously sym­bolic thing for South African rugby and shows that trans­for­ma­tion is work­ing. Kolisi will be a good cap­tain, let’s just hope he’s not too good in this se­ries.

“While I’m des­per­ately un­happy to have lost the game, I think it’s a great thing for rugby gen­er­ally and for the game here par­tic­u­larly.”

Eng­land could barely have made a bet­ter start as a mon­ster 61-me­tre penalty by Daly was fol­lowed by a try that started from in­side their own 22.

Quick hands re­leased Jonny May down the right wing with Ben Youngs in hot pur­suit and sev­eral phases later, Brown was given sight of the line and he showed strength to shrug off two tack­les and crash over.

South Africa came back hard but Eng­land struck again with Ford con­jur­ing a su­perb try.

Henry Slade sup­plied an out­ra­geous pass to Brown but the move was all about Ford as he picked out May and it was a sim­ple runin for Daly.

Two minutes later and they were over again, Slade’s long pass giv­ing May space and with the hosts in dis­ar­ray he sent Far­rell over un­der the posts.

But S’bu­siso Nkosi’s charge to within inches of the white­wash was fol­lowed by the out­stand­ing Faf De Klerk spin­ning over, stem­ming the flow of points at the other end and ini­ti­at­ing a high-oc­tane fight­back.

On the half-hour mark it was game on when a Spring­bok at­tack down the right was re­vived through their tenac­ity be­fore De Klerk’s vi­sion of­fered the light­ning-fast Nkosi a half-chance.

The dan­ger should have been averted but Daly made a mess of gath­er­ing Nkosi’s grub­ber and the alert winger touched down.

The dream de­but con­tin­ued when he popped up on the op­po­site wing af­ter a clever run from Wil­lie Le Roux cre­ated the space for fel­low debu­tant Aphiwe Dyan­tyi to send him over.

Le Roux then turned scorer from a scrum af­ter De Klerk and Han­dre Pol­lard, com­bined with Nkosi keep­ing his width, pro­vided the plat­form for him to ex­ploit a large hole in mid­field.

Two penal­ties from Pol­lard opened up a five-point gap and it was wor­ry­ing times for Eng­land.

When they did counter through Tom Curry a knock-on ended the at­tack and their frus­tra­tion was clear when Mako Vu­nipola fol­lowed through on De Klerk, earn­ing a yel­low card.

And in the next play South Africa had all but sealed the out­come when Dyan­tyi jug­gled the ball while cross­ing the line be­fore touch­ing down.

Maro Itoje and May plun­dered late tries, but Pol­lard’s boot mean the Spring­boks had done enough de­spite a nervy fin­ish.

PIC­TURE: PA

DRIV­ING FOR­WARD: South Africa’s cap­tain Siya Kolisi, fore­ground is tack­led by Eng­land’s Jonny May dur­ing the Red Rose’s 42-39 First Test de­feat in Jo­han­nes­burgh on Satur­day.

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