Home Sport Springboks beat England for first Twickenham win in eight years

Springboks beat England for first Twickenham win in eight years

Springboks beat England for first Twickenham win in eight years

Durban — South Africa looked every bit world champions when they swept England into oblivion at Twickenham and they sounded out a warning s that taking the Webb Ellis Cup off the Boks next year will require a special effort.

The 27-13 score line was as emphatic as the 2019 World Cup final between these teams and like that bleak day for the English, their forward pack was forced into reverse gear, and even when Bok prop Thomas du Toit was red carded with 20 minutes to go, the Red Roses could not blossom.

And making the most of good ball was the imperious Damian Willemse, who finishes the year as one of the games’ most dangerous flyhalves after having started it as fullback against Wales, while winger Kurt-Lee Arendse has exploded into the deadliest finisher on the planet.

Not long after the start, the normally dependable fullback Freddie Steward dropped a high ball to give the Boks a great attacking scrum and that first turned into first a free kick and then a scrum penalty as the Bok pack flexed its muscle.

Unfortunately, though, Faf de Klerk fluffed the shot at goal, and then it was the Boks’ turn to have a let-off when, a minute later, Owen Farrell steered a penalty kick wide of the posts.

But on ten minutes, referee Angus Gardner penalised Frans Malherbe for dropping his bind in a scrum and this time there was no error from Farrell.

At this stage, misty rain drifted in, making the tussle ever tighter and the next score was midway through the half, a De Klerk penalty after Evan Roos was high tackled in front of the England posts.

Farrell missed another sitter (by his high standards) and when Steward, who was named at fullback in the World Rugby Dream Team, kicked straight into touch just outside his 22, the Boks had great territory.

Unfortunately, the pack was held up over the line and as Gardner blew his whistle, Roos spun out of the ruck and scored, but the whistle had gone prematurely, luckily for England.

Very few could have predicted the next score … a snap drop goal by Willemse on the half-hour mark and it was the ideal move in the context of the arm wrestle.

It also lit the fire under the Boks. From the restart, Willemse broke blind, passed to Willie Le Roux and the fullback put away Arendse, who finished magnificently, completely skinning the last defender, Marcus Smith.

De Klerk badly missed the conversion but a minute before half-time he kicked the Boks into a 14-3 lead.

That lead was spectacularly extended 90 seconds into the new half when Willemse stroked home another drop goal.

Marvin Orie dropped the ball from the restart and from the good territory England launched an attack that culminated a penalty for Farrell to convert, and the Twickenham faithful sensed that this could be the start of an England comeback of the magnitude of the week before against the All Blacks.

But flank Tom Curry was yellow-carded for a cynical infringement and from the attacking lineout, Eben Etzebeth smashed over beneath the crossbar.

The dagger was thrust deeper into the England half when De Klerk struck a beautiful long-range penalty for a 27-6 lead.

There was a potential wobble when Du Toit was red-carded on the three-quarter mark for making contact in the tackle with the head of hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Bizarrely, a clearance kick by Manie Libbok hit the overhead “spider cam” and that meant a scrum was called five metres from the Bok line, and England won a penalty to kick to the corner.

The 80 000-crowd found their voice when Henry Slade scored nine minutes from time but the brave Boks tackled their way to a famous victory.


Springboks 27 — Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Eben Etzebeth. Penalties: Faf de Klerk (3). Conversions: De Klerk (2). Drop Goals: Damian Willemse (2)

England 13 — Try: Henry Slade. Conversion: Owen Farrell. Penalties: Owen Farrell (2).


IOL Sport

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