It was a good all battle at Twickenham with England getting the win against the Springboks in the last test match of their European tour on Saturday.
A game of two halves which the Springboks will know that they did not take the opportunities that came their way and that was the difference between winning and loosing at the end.
England was a class act in that first half testing the Springboks defence and buildup a good lead which led the visitors to play catchup rugby for the rest of the match. It was a late Smith penalty that saw England take the win 27-26.
The Springboks took the lead through a Francois Steyn penalty minutes before the end of the test match but it was England day when Smith got a penalty with 1 minute left on the clock to secure the win in front of their home fans.
England had a lead of 17-12 at the break thanks to tries by Tuilagi and Steward.
South Africa was kept in the game with penalties by Handré Pollard but that first half belonged to England who was the better team on the field and deserved that first half lead.
One always expected the Springboks to come back at them in the second half and they did just that, but again questions must be raised why the Springboks this year could not put 80 minutes of play together like they did most of their second halves.
Pollard had opportunities to get closer but missed a few penalties as well which could have swung the momentum. They also missed some great opportunities to get over the line which is something they will have to work on going forward. Chances are few in test match rugby and if you do not take them you will end up on the losing side of things 99% of the time.
Pollard closed the lead to 17-15 with a quarter of the test match remaining before the Springboks try machine, Mapimpi almost got over after Marc put hi in some space. Mapimpi looked like scoring throughout the match but it was a penalty from Jantjies that gave the Springboks the lead for the fist time in the match.
The Springboks were pilling on the pressure but England defence on the day was brilliant and a small laps in defence by Damien De Allende going in saw Marchant hit the perfect gab in the midfield for another England try. That gave the lead back to England t 24-18.
The Springboks was not done and they were again pushing the English on their line. It was great play from the Boks to crate the extra man for Mapimpi to get his try and closed the gab back to 24-23.
England who gave a way plenty of penalties on the day saw Frans Steyn kick a simple kick over to give South Africa the lead with just a few minutes on the clock left.
Unfortunately for Steyn and the Springboks, it was Steyn who gave a straight forward penalty away with a minute left on the clock which Smith has no problem to knock over and claim the win over the World Champions.
It was a game of loss opportunities for the Springboks and one which England took everyone that came their way. There game plan counter the Springboks defence. Their attacking play was impressive and even in the set pieces they were better than expected although the Springboks got a few penalties in the second half.
All in all England deserved the win but in no way a bad year for the Springboks but plenty to work on going forward
England: Tries – Tuilagi, Steward, Quirke Conversions – Smith(3) Penalties – Smith(2)
Springboks: Tries – Mapimpi Penalties – Pollard(5), Jantjies, Steyn