South Africa 42 v 39 England 2018 1s Test
June 12 2018
South Africa fought back from 24-3 down to seal a 42-39 victory over England in a thrilling first Test at Ellis Park Stadium. England really threw that game away and if it had not been for a penalty in the first half it could have been a draw. But they will learn from this
England scored three tries inside 20 minutes tosilence the Ellis Park crowd.
Daly landed a 60m penalty inside two minutes, his first kick of the game, and moments later there was more to come for England.
After an initial break on the right wing by May, England went through several phases and Brown went over in the left corner with the Harlequins man showing great strength to crash over. South Africa had their first points on the 10-minute mark, with Pollard sending over a penalty but a second try for England soon after continued their dominant start. Daly flew over on the left wing after Jonny May picked a fine line through South Africa's midfield as Farrell's conversion took the score to 17-3. George Ford, who was brilliantly orchestrating England's attack released May on the right wing and his pass inside was finished off by Farrell for a third try.
After their poor start it took a moment of quick thinking to spur the Springboks into action, sparking a 19-point momentum swing. De Klerk sniped from 5m out for a first try to reduce the deficit to 16 points, taking advantage of a slip by Itoje at the breakdown. Nkosi finished off his own kick through after Daly misjudged the bounce allowing the South Africa wing to get to the ball and Pollard's conversion continued their comeback.
The Springbok wing had a second try moments later, South Africa showing fine handling through midfield before a pass inside released Nkosi to fly over. Le Roux completed a stunning South Africa fightback, the ball spinning from a lineout maul on the left wing to the opposite side and the Wasps man seared through for a fourth Springboks try which Pollard converted to give them a 29-24 lead. Farrell sent over a penalty on the stroke of half-time, but the hosts held a two-point lead at the break.
In the second half Itoje was twice penalised, Pollard missing one but kicking the other to extend the lead to 32-27 with 50 minutes on the clock. Prop Harry Williams was sent on for Kyle Sinckler with the majority of the first 20 minutes of the second half played inside England territory. Vunipola went to the sin bin for a late tackle on de Klerk, while Luke Cowan-Dickie came on for hooker Jamie George but South Africa took control of the match with their fifth try shortly after the hour mark.
Dyantyi went over in the corner with South Africa's forwards doing the damage up front to create an overlap for the Springbok wing. Itoje reached over a ruck to touch down on the line and reduced South Africa's lead to seven points but Pollard added a further penalty.
However, May scored a superb individual try, which Farrell converted to set up a grandstand finish but the hosts held out to take a 1-0 lead in the three Test series.
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 18 caps), 14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 34 caps), 13 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps), 12 Owen Farrell (Saracens, 58 caps), 11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 69 caps), 10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps), 9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps); 1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 49 caps), 2 Jamie George (Saracens, 25 caps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 10 caps), 4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 19 caps), 5 Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 2 caps), 6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 64 caps), 7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 1 cap), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 34 caps).
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps), 17 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 56 caps), 18 Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 8 caps), 19 Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps, 0 caps), 20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 14 caps), 21 Ben Spencer (Saracens, 0 caps), 22 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 3 caps), 23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 2 caps).