South Africa v England: Springboks beat England 23-12 to seal series

Duane Vermeulen scores for South Africa
Duane Vermeulen scores for South Africa

England surrendered their series to South Africa after being brushed aside 23-12 in a bad-tempered second Test at Free State Stadium that registers their sixth successive defeat.

A blistering start that saw Mike Brown and Jonny May run in fine tries to open up a 12-0 lead evoked memories of Ellis Park a week ago but, although the collapse that followed was not as dramatic, it was ultimately more convincing as they failed to score again.

Duane Vermeulen, a Springboks force at number eight, stormed over before the home scrum won a penalty try that placed Eddie Jones' men on the brink in the Afrikaners' heartland of Bloemfontein.

Once again the boot of Handre Pollard helped sweep South Africa out of reach as three penalties made their mark on the scoreboard, propelling the hosts to a 2-0 series victory with one Test still to play in Cape Town.

The ambition of becoming the first England team to complete a triumphant tour on these shores is in tatters, leaving Jones under growing pressure while the Springboks celebrated victory and another important landmark - Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira becoming their first black player to make 100 Test appearances.

Added to Jones' problems was the injury sustained to Billy Vunipola shortly before half-time after the big number eight limped off - which places his involvement in the climax to the series in grave doubt.

Images of the mesmerising opening in Johannesburg came flooding back as England surged into a 12-0 lead once an ankle tap by Owen Farrell had stopped Damian de Allende scoring an intercept try.

Billy Vunipola's bulldozing run through the middle produced the initial momentum and - with green shirts sucked in - they went wide to exploit an overlap with May drawing Willie le Roux before feeding Brown the scoring pass.

Space continued to open up out wide and England shipped it there as quickly as possible, a juggle by Brown releasing Elliot Daly before May sprinted over the whitewash.

South Africa fought back with a 15-metre rolling maul that began a period of home dominance interrupted by a series of mini brawls and ended when Mtawarira burst through the middle and Vermeulen ran over a tackle by Maro Itoje to score.

Itoje and Vermeulen locked horns but it was Mako Vunipola's slapping of Pieter-Steph du Toit's head into the ground that incurred the wrath of referee Romain Poite, although the Springboks failed to clear their lines with the penalty.

A pivotal spell unfolded as half-time drew close, Pollard landing two penalties to nudge South Africa 13-12 ahead just as Billy Vunipola departed having allowed Bongi Mbonambi to escape.

Nathan Hughes appeared at number eight for the second half but it was a baptism of fire for the Wasp as England came under fierce pressure as the Springboks initially attacked out wide and then down the middle.

A five-metre scrum provided the breakthrough as the Red Rose pack was driven backwards before splintering, compelling Poite to award a penalty try under the posts.

England's response looked promising only for the ball to get dislodged close to the line as Brad Shields sought to end a driving maul and, when they began to attack with intent, they were hamstrung by their error count.

Pollard hit the mark again before Hughes' yellow card made another dent on the visitors victory hopes as the Springboks cruised over the finishing line.

Related rugby union links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Gerwyn Price beat Gary Anderson in the Grand Slam of Darts final (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

Grand Slam of Darts: Final recap

A recap from a dramatic finals day at the Grand Slam of Darts as Gerwyn Price stuns Gary Anderson in a bad-tempered final to win his first major title.

Gerwyn Price wins the Grand Slam of Darts (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)2

Boos ring out as Price triumphs

Gerwyn Price triumphed in one of the most heated darts finals of all time as he defeated Gary Anderson 16-13 to win the Grand Slam of Darts.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring for England against Croatia at Wembley3

England secure finals spot

England came from a goal down to book their place in next summer's Nations League finals in Portugal and also condemn Croatia to relegation.

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury4

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

Ricardo Rodriguez scores for Switzerland5

Switzerland comeback stuns Belgium

Switzerland stunned Belgium as they came from two goals down to win 5-2 and pip their opponents for a place in the Nations League Finals in a remarkable match in Lucerne.

Most Read

Gerwyn Price beat Gary Anderson in the Grand Slam of Darts final (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)1

Grand Slam of Darts: Final recap

A recap from a dramatic finals day at the Grand Slam of Darts as Gerwyn Price stuns Gary Anderson in a bad-tempered final to win his first major title.

Gerwyn Price wins the Grand Slam of Darts (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)2

Boos ring out as Price triumphs

Gerwyn Price triumphed in one of the most heated darts finals of all time as he defeated Gary Anderson 16-13 to win the Grand Slam of Darts.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring for England against Croatia at Wembley3

England secure finals spot

England came from a goal down to book their place in next summer's Nations League finals in Portugal and also condemn Croatia to relegation.

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury4

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

Ricardo Rodriguez scores for Switzerland5

Switzerland comeback stuns Belgium

Switzerland stunned Belgium as they came from two goals down to win 5-2 and pip their opponents for a place in the Nations League Finals in a remarkable match in Lucerne.

Racing Tips

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Get on Grange

Ben Linfoot heads to Kempton's evening card on Monday for the Sporting Life Daily Nap and he's putting his faith in a course winner.

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

Royal Line (right) pulls clear to win the November Handicap

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in November 2018.

Next Race Off

08:20 Hyderabad
6
(7)
Asgard
J: Kunal Bunde
11
(9)
Royal Faith
J: Ajit Singh
9
(5)
Delphina
J: Praveen Gaddam

Football Tips

Sporting Life's betting tips for England v Croatia on November 18

England to burst out of the blocks

George Pitts fancies England to win their crunch Nations League match with Croatia on Sunday, with two recommended bets for the Wembley meeting.

Our best bets for the latest games in the Sky Bet EFL

Sky Bet EFL betting preview

There may be no Sky Bet Championship, but there is still plenty of value on offer in Leagues One and Two on Saturday.

Our latest goalscorer treble

Sporting Life Goalscorer Treble

We have three prolific goalscorers this season for our treble this week, enhanced to 11/1 with EFL title sponsors Sky Bet.