Let’s wrap things up with Rob Kitson’s report from Twickenham. Thanks for joining us throughout the autumn. See you soon.
Owen Farrell is on Amazon, with a face like a bad ham
“It’s not worked out for us today, but we’ve put some good work in over the past five weeks and we have to hold on to that. Lack of a bit of accuracy and bite at times, and we have to look to be better when the game is slowed down; there are plenty of things didn’t go well today. We’re hurting at the minute, but we’ll come back strong.”
Manu Tuilagi is offering his thoughts
“It was a tough game, we wanted to come out and attack the game which we did at the start, but South Africa put so much pressure on us and credit to them. The plan was clear for us, but SA are such a quality side and we weren’t good enough today. We’re building nicely [for the world cup], I know it’s hard to see, but we are.”
Siya Kolisi looks happy.
“Big relief for us to play this way. We’ve been working really hard for results to go our way, this was for the people back home who always support us. England were tough at the beginning, but we stuck to our guns and took our opportunities. We are grateful for Arendse, but that is what our team is about, we have different strengths and skills and plus all have determination and hard work. We feel there’s still a lot more we can do, we have learnt so much as we go towards the world cup.”
It’s hard to describe how utterly dominated England were here. Powdered up-front, stupid penalties given away, lineouts stolen, attacking pattern (such as it was) swarmed all over, and that is not an exhaustive list.
FULL TIME! England 13 - 27 South Africa
PEEEEP! England are put out of their misery.
81 mins. England’s last attempt at an attack is clamped way behind the gainline by the still energetic Bok defence. Jonny Hill is then pinged for lifting legs in the ruck and Manie Libbok decides to go to the corner to turn the screw.
Then boots it touch in-goal.
79 mins. Bok scrum is won on a penalty advantage, and they move it right to Willemse who runs miles but can’t get an offload away.
The South Africa subs are all embracing as the warm feeling of total victory settles in.
78 mins. A clean lineout win for England on the 10m line is spun to Slade at first receiver, but in a moment that sums up England’s day he simply drops it.
England have been out-thought, out-dogged and frankly outclassed for the whole evening.
76 mins. Hendrikse runs blind from the scrum and feeds Willemse who tries to grubber past Steward. He doesn’t manage it, but the England fullback knocks on while blocking.
Will Stuart is injured, so Sinckler is back on the field.
74 mins. Manu Tuilagi, who has done nothing today, tries to shovel a ball on in his own 22 to Steward, but it’s forward. An attacking Bok scrum in the England 22 awaits.
72 mins. Break in play for a water break while Faf De Klerk receives some treatment and leaves the field to be replaced by Jaden Hendrikse.
While this is going on Siya Kolisi is off for a HIA, replaced by Evan Roos
TRY! England 13 - 27 South Africa (Henry Slade)
71 mins. Faf De Klerk makes a mess of gathering a lineout tap down and England snaffle the fumble and go right to Nowell who is up into the SA half. A few phases later Ben Youngs taps a quick penalty, races up to the posts and the ball is fed to Slade to score.
They can’t do it again, can they?
69 mins. They might be a man up, but England are still giving away penalties to the Bok scrum, the latest being Will Stuart dropping his bind as the huge pressure shove comes on.
67 mins. England can’t capitalise as their latest 5m lineout is stolen by the Boks and when the home side have a promising counter-attack from the clearing kick, Malcolm Marx clamps on to win a trademark breakdown penalty.
Nothing is working for England at all, really.
65 mins. Yes, SA are disadvantaged as they are pinged for holding on when attempting to run out from the base of the scrum in a position they probably wouldn’t have been in but for the spidercam. The ball goes left on the England attack but a brilliant defensive read by De Klerk prevents Steward from capitalising on an overlap.
62 mins. Willemse goes for a clearing kick from his own in-goal after Moster nicks an attacking England lineout.
In a strange twist, the ball hits the overhead spider cam on the way into touch. The law states that on such rare occasions there’s a scrum from where the kick was taken, but as this was in-goal SA will have to play out from a 5m scrum.
So, because the ball hit a floating camera, the boks are significanty disadvantaged it would seem. Odd
Willie Le Roux is off for Canan Moodie
Henry Slade has replaced Marcus Smith
RED CARD! Thomas du Toit (South Africa)
The inevitable sending off happens.
60 mins. A huge counter-ruck by Nowell wins the ball for England on the Bok 10m line, but as they attempt to use it Farrell is powdered by two tacklers and the attack breaks down.
The TMO wants the ref to look at Thomas du Toit’s actions in a previous tackle. He runs in, shoulder first onto Cowan-Dickie’s head. This will be the end of his match.
PENALTY! England 6 - 27 South Africa (Faf De Klerk)
57 mins. SA penalty in front of the posts but nearly 50 metres out. De Klerk decides to kick it and any snarky thoughts are dismissed as he absolutely tonks it straight through the middle. A brilliant kick. This makes no sense.
55 mins. The South African pack give it the full press on the England put in and the pressure forces the home pack back and allows De Klerk to snipe all over Billy Vunipola at the base.
Billy loses both the ball and his place on the field as he’s immediately replaced by Sam Simmonds.
52 mins. Willemse can’t hold a simple pass in midfield.
Marco Van Staden has replace Evan Roos for SA
TRY! England 6 - 24 South Africa (Eben Etzebeth)
49 mins. From the latest drive at the line, Etzebeth gets his hands on it to force over from a few feet out.
Simply worked with power by the Boks, but that was all fruit of the same stupid tree planted by Hill and Curry two minutes ago. That could have sealed the game for SA.
YELLOW CARD! Tom Curry (England)
48 mins. Jonny Hill does a big time stupid by pushing De Klerk over which reverses a penalty England had just been given. From that SA have a lineout drive that Tom Curry is offside at after the ref reminded them they were still on a warning.
South Africa have freshened up their front row, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Thomas du Toit on for Frans Malherbe, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Ox Nche.
Dave Ribbans has replaced Alex Coles for England
PENALTY! England 6 - 17 South Africa (Owen Farrell)
44 mins. England have the ball and they are in the South Africa half after a great aerial take from Steward. Faf De Klerk is offside and nothing happens with the advantage after Smith tries to work it towards the right touchline.
Farrell slots this one no problem
“Hi Lee”, says Andy Flintoff (not that one) “Having caught the second two-thirds of the excellent Wales-Australia match earlier, I can tell you that this game is almost the direct opposite of that. England aren’t doing very well, but SA aren’t having to play that much better to be ahead - their one moment of incisive attacking led to a try.”
Yep, it’s pretty low-proficiency mini-thumping so far.
DROP GOAL! England 3 - 17 South Africa (Damian Willemse)
41 mins. The first sniff of territory with ball in hand for the Boks has Willemse again calling for the ball and hammering another drop goal over.
As the ball sails through, both sets of forwards and having a do with each other. There’s nothing in it and the ref tells them to calm down.
Eddie Jones had rung the changes at half time.
Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge and Will Stuart have replaced Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George and Mako Vunipola.
Jack Nowell is on for Freeman
40 mins. We return to action as Engkand gather a deep restart kick.
A horrible half of rugby, lit up by a moment of vision and magic by Willemse, Le Roux and Arendse for the try, that towards the end began to tell the story of what could well become the rest of the match: England being bullied a bit.
England are slowly losing the tight set pieces and being penalised in defence when scrambling close to the line. Expect more of that unless Eddie Jones can change something fundamental.
HALF TIME! England 3 - 14 South Africa
40 mins. PEEEP! That’ll do for this half.
PENALTY! England 3 - 14 South Africa (Faf De Klerk)
39 mins. Slowly, inevitably, the Bok front 5 are getting the upper hand in the scrum and another penalty is sent to the corner by Le Roux. It’s an unsurprising catch and drive and England are again infringing all over the shop, leading to Ref Gardiner issuing a warning to Farrell.
De Klerk, undeterred by previous failures, calls for the tee and does a good job.
36 mins. South Africa spring from deep again, Willemse feeding Arendse once more who this time pops up in midfield. He runs over halfway and tries to slide a grubber past Steward who does a brilliant goalkeeper save on it.
TRY! England 3 - 11 South Africa (Kurt-Lee Arendse)
33 mins. Deep kick to nothing from England is fielded by Willemse who moves up the right and finds Le Roux with an inside pop. The fullback draws a defender and finds Arendse out wide who does a full-pace in-to-out step to leave Smith with no chance of a cover tackle.
That’s livened things up a bit.
De Klerk’s conversion attempt is utter dreck.
DROP GOAL! England 3 - 6 South Africa (Damian Willemse)
31 mins. South Africa are on the attack on the England 22 and Willemse, no doubt analysing the game and assuming anything either side attempts with the ball will end in some maladroit mess, decides it’s a “drop goal after half an hour” type of match and boffs one over.
29 mins. Mapimpi hacks a loose ball on into the England 22, but Smith is there to cover. A few phases of short carries later, Van Poortvliet clears with the boot.
27 mins. This game is a challenging watch so far. Very little continuity and kicking like people have toblerone feet.
26 mins. Latest lineout for the Boks is as short as the last one was long. Etzebeth pops it back to Mbonambi who finds Kolisi to drive to the line, but it’s held up above the desperate England defence.
24 mins. More inelegant scrum woes gives a penalty to SA, and from the lineout then go very long and set up the maul before attempting to move the ball on the short side before it’s spilled.
There were multiple infringements by England to the Bok maul.
MISSED PENALTY! England 3 - 3 South Africa (Owen Farrell)
2o mins. England’s fast ruck speed continues, assisted by SA not really putting anyone in, something Nienaber will surely do something about soon. In the meantime the pace of the attack is good and it’s forcing the Bok blitz offside in defence.
The latest penalty is just on the right post, 3o metres out, and Farrell pulls it left with and audible “F**K OFF!” as he watch the flight of the ball.
PENALTY! England 3 - 3 South Africa (Faf De Klerk)
17 mins. Alex Coles is penalised for gripping Evan Roos in a headlock in the tackle. De Klerk, undeterred by his last kick, calls for the tee once more and slots this one from closer in.
15 mins. Much more zip to England’s back play this week, Van Poortvliet working at about twice he speed he did vs NZ. The latest attack comes left and there’s a sniff of space out wide, but the tip-on pass from Farrell goes a mile forward.
No blame to the captain there, he was under pressure and it was worth going for.
PENALTY! England 3 - 0 South Africa (Owen Farrell)
12 mins. England have a scum just in the SA half, which takes the best part of an eon to complete, hence not too many updates for a bit.
It ends in a England pen, against Malherbe for overextending; even thought it looked like Mako Vunipola was folded. Either way Farrell calls on the tee and gets this one a lot straighter.
It’s looking a little better in phased play so far, Guy.
MISSED PENALTY! England 0 - 0 South Africa (Owen Farrell)
8 mins. A few phases from England look enterprising in the Bok half, and Nche drifts offside trying to repel one of them.
Farrell calls the tee on and misses an absolute sitter from just right of the post. Beautiful contact, though. Not that that matters.
MISSED PENALTY! England 0 - 0 South Africa (Faf De Klerk)
5 mins. Oof! De Klerk goes through a lovely prep routine then shanks it miles left. The latest in the “will he do” strategy to place kicking from the Boks looks not to be a decent call. At All.
3 mins. Both sides have some energetic phases before Steward can’t field a kick cleanly and the Boks have a scrum around the England 10m line. It ends with a penalty to South Africa which Faf De Klerk is going to kick for posts
1 min. Farrell chips the ball deep and Marvin Orie gathers with 0% fuss.
Incredibly sad news as we wait for the kick off, as Scotland RU announce the death of Doddie Weir; a literally towering presence in the sport in Scotland and throughout the world.
Humility, humour, humanity, Doddie had it all and we are all worse off for him not being here, but better for having him.
Eddie Jones wants England to forget getting hammered in 2019 – which you would think beating the Boks in 2021 may have helped them with already, but what to I know?
Read more here…
Despite a difficult outing last week for Jack Van Poortvliet, Eddie Jones keeps faith with the young scrum-half and the hopeful promise of this partnership with Marcus Smith. There are changes elsewhere, though, as Tommy Freeman comes in on the wing, Alex Coles replaces Sam Simmonds in the back row and Mako Vunipola give Ellis Genge a breather at loose-head.
The Boks have promising Number 8 Evan Roos in the starting XV, while Makazole Mapimpi replaces the unavailable Cheslin Kolbe.
England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jack Nowell.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Canan Moodie.
Welcome to the Twickenham for the twilight of not only the day, but this season’s Autumn International series, as we prepare for the final match between England and South Africa.
The previous seven minutes of international rugby played by England saw them score 19 points, which is good. However, the 73 prior to that saw them score 6 and not look like being able to find a clue about how clock up any more until the side went double or quits on attack with the game vs NZ already gone to force an unlikely draw. The question still hangs for Eddie Jones about what his team are about, what the approach is and how they can consistently perform to a pattern that wins matches like last week, and today vs the Boks.
South Africa arrive after predictably thumping Italy last week, but this was on the back of losing their bigger matches vs Ireland and France. In many ways, Jacques Nienaber’s world champions have similar queries about their ability to create to win as England. Although Director Of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, seems to put their problems down to a New World Rugby Order with the sole intent of destroying his team, or something. An approach that has him banned for this match, which in his mind probably proves his point. I’m sure he’ll prepare a video informing us, either way.
The last decade of meetings has seen an even mix of wins for both sides and, 2019 World Cup final thumping aside, they are close results. Hard to see anything different this evening.