South Africa lose in Cape Town but win series
England finished their tour of South Africa on a high when they claimed a 25-10 victory over the Springboks in the third Test, in Cape Town on Saturday.
In an evenly contested and often dour encounter, play was restricted mostly to the forwards due to wet underfoot conditions and England got the rub of the green in the end as they committed less unforced errors and, although both sides scored a try apiece, it was Owen Farrell's goalkicking which proved the difference.
Although South Africa still clinched a 2-1 series triumph this victory is a significant one for England as it ends their six-match losing run and the result will be a big relief for their coach, Eddie Jones, who will be pleased with his side's performance as they stood up well to their opponents' physicality.
South Africa had an opportunity to open the scoring in the fifth minute, after England were blown up for a lineout infringement, but Elton Jantjies pushed his penalty attempt wide of the target.
Five minutes later, Chiliboy Ralepelle went off his feet at a ruck and Owen Farrell made no mistake off the kicking tee to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
The next 20 minutes was a slugfest as both sides tried to gain the upperhand but, apart from a couple of sparkling runs down the right-hand touchline from Jonny May and a big hit from Pieter-Steph du Toit on Mike Brown, there was little interesting to report with most of the play restricted to the forwards during this period.
The game came alive in the 31st minute, however, when the Boks launched a counter attack from inside their half. Jesse Kriel did well to straighten the line before offloading to S’busiso Nkosi close to the halfway mark. Nkosi kicked the ball upfield but May did well to gather close to his try-line before evading Kriel and Faf de Klerk and eventually booted the ball into touch.
England eventually extended their lead in the 37th minute courtesy of another Farrell penalty after another Ralepelle indiscretion at a ruck before Jantjies opened the visitors' account with a three-pointer off the tee on the stroke of half-time which meant England held a slender 6-3 lead at half-time.
England were fastest out of the blocks after the restart with Farrell adding his third penalty four minutes into the second half, but the Boks struck back in style when Kriel crossed for the opening try two minutes later.
This, after Warrick Gelant had delivered an inch-perfect grubber kick which Kriel gathered before dotting down. Jantjies added the extras to give the home side the lead for the first time but England were back in front by the 50th minute after Farrell succeded with his fourth penalty.
And the Saracens man gave his side some more breathing space when he slotted his fifth penalty in the 58th minute after Elliot Daly was off target shortly before that.
With a five-point buffer, England's confidence grew and they sealed their win in the 72nd minute when Danny Cipriani delivered an excellent kick which bounced around behind the Boks' tryline and May beat Handré Pollard in a footrace before diving onto the ball.
Farrell's conversion meant the visitors held a comfortable 22-10 lead and the fly-half confirmed England's win when he slotted his sixth penalty in the game's closing stages to restore some much-needed pride for his team.
For South Africa:
Pens: Farrell 6
South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’busiso Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Mike Brown, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Ben Spencer, 23 Denny Solomona
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
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