Post Match Reaction: South Africa 36 England 27

England’s 2nd half comeback was not enough against a brutal Springbok side, who raced away into a 25-10 half time lead through a controversial try from Willem Alberts and another from Bismarck du Plessis. But England fought back thanks to a brace from Ben Youngs, before JP Pietersen’s score won the game.

What did you make of the game at Ellis Park?

57 thoughts on “Post Match Reaction: South Africa 36 England 27

  1. too many errors. moments of class from both 9’s. Reffing was poor- 1st try what? Questionable motives for going to the TMO for Youngs try. England were fighting against all odds, brave display and should learn a lot from it again.

    1. Walsh and Rolland double act – what do you expect! Sad as once upon a time I thought Rolland was one of the best refs in the World. Don’t know what happened to him.

      1. SImple Staggy. It was England. With him and Walsh on the pitch we were always going to be fighting 17 men.

  2. Brave display, yes

    But we lost to a better team, they blew us away in the first half. Forwards have to answer the questions, the pack we had on the field couldn’t control the SA’s. We didn’t have a fetcher to slow the ball down or we need a big hitter to knock them down. We didn’t have either.

    Waldron deserves a chance, we missed croft in the lineout, but we are far behin SA, when they play at 100 we are nowhere near.

    Glad for Youngs, SL showed faith and he paid him back, Flood had a good game.

    JJ showed he belonged but he didn’t get the chance to shine.

    We need a meaner pack, the backrow is not in the smae level as other teams.

    1. I agree. We did on the whole lose to the better side.

      The first try was a terrible decision. Really poor!

      Waldrom made a real difference when he came on. I think he should start in the next game. In terms of the fetcher, I think again Robshaw won that battle. So the problem with the back row is that we need another lump to stop them. For that reason, and it is really hard on Tom Johnson who again was excellent; I think we need to bring in Haskell at 6 to try and combat the running of Spies and Alberts.

      Youngs had a great game. Really impressed with his passion and desire to win. Flood was good also. Corbisiero made a real difference as well when he came on. Cole proved again he is a match for the worlds best.

      Team for next week:

      1. Corbisiero
      2. Hartley
      3. Cole
      4. Parling
      5. Botha
      6. Haskell
      7. Robshaw
      8. Waldrom
      9. Youngs
      10. Flood
      11. Strettle
      12. Tuilagi
      13. Joseph
      14. Ashton
      15. Foden

      What do you reckon?

      Well done to SA on the series win.

      1. Thought Parling was poor today. Got blown off way too many tackles and the line out didn’t work. I’d stick with Johnson though.

      2. How about a 5/2 split on the bench. Its the fwds where we need impact in 2nd half. Marler, Haskell & Morgan would really give us some go fwd. Really not sure about our 2nd row, hookers and wings though.

  3. For the home nations to improve we need more 3 test internationals in the S/H. Not one of the NH teams showed the class and skill levels of their opponents, we are so far behind in this aspect. We need to stop wasting our time with internal politics and the Lions tours ( which do not help or progress rugby in the NH ) we need to stop living in the past and move on. NH rugby are still 10 points of the pace to our SH counterparts.

      1. granted there is a disparity in skill level, the SH teams can play at ahigher speed becauase their skill set allows them to.

        However I don’t think the Lions tours are the problem here, the backbone of the great England team 0f 2003, the only NH team to reallt dominate was made on the lions tour of 97, listen to players like Back, Johnson, Diaglio, and hill and they will agree.

  4. granted there isa disparitt in skill level, that allows the sh teams to play at a higher speed.

    However the england team of 2003 was built on the lions tour of 97 players like back, johnson, hill ect were changed on that tour, so I don’t think that lions tours are the problem.

  5. Really enjoyed the ebb and flow of this game. The power and intensity of the Boks was scary but they took their foot off the gas and fair play to England they clawed their way back. Very impressed by Thomas Waldrom who deseves to start next week but does anyone else think Sky commentators extremely onesided and biased? The number of verbal orgasms gushing from messrs Barnes and Co was embarrassing to say the least. England did really well but not as well as the gushing compliments of the Sky team would have us believe!

  6. Corbisiero has taken his shirt back surely, last time our scrum was awesome was against ireland, as soon as he came on today look at the results. I mean, when was the last time you saw a South African scrum marched backwards!?!

  7. I just wonder what would have happened with a referee that knew the laws.It must have been a hell of a downer to give away 12 points through inefficency but we still need some big men that can tackle.

  8. So how is Catt doing in his audition? Thought we were very laboured when building an attack and our defence is going backwards. Was Youngs injured? The decision to take off our best player was very odd from SL. Marler, Morgan & Care should be used for impact. You either start with Dickson or don’t use him at all imo. Corbs and the tank to start and we really need some grunt in the engine room. Is Robson the only enforcer on the tour. Thought Parling was poor.

    Still very impressed with spirit of this group and their fitness. They never gave up and that mental toughness bodes well. But we desperately need Farrell back for defence and an experienced attack coach pref a SH one for attack and also to support SLs in game decisions. Taking Botha off when we were getting over powered was odd as was the Youngs decision, that tank change was predetermined I think.

    1. i disagree with the Dickson comment. I think he brings a certain speed to the game and ball delivery which Youngs lacks and that often means he works well as an impact sub
      .

  9. Did anyone else think that the game turned back in SA’s favour when we went for the penalty in the second half rather than the corner. Don’t the best teams stamp harder when they have the opposition down on the floor.

    1. The way our set piece was today think the points was the right option. Too many enforced errors, much though I would like to blame Roland and Walsh we really were the authors of our own demise.

      1. At which point in this game did England have SA on the floor? SA were cruising until they took their best players off and Lancaster proved he’s a bit dodgy by showing just how much better than Marler Corbs is.

        One overthrown line out and England were lucky enough to be back in it but then SA pulled away again at the end.

        Without all of that happening SA would have won by 30 so it’s a bit much to say SA were ever on the floor?

        1. We had SA rattled the kick off straight into touch was evidence for that. I find your comments incredibly ungracious you give no credit to quite a comeback from England. I understand your frustrations though, it must be hard to see your side fail to close out against Australia AGAIN.

          1. It’s Brighty! I wouldn’t worry.

            I know our lineout was struggling but I thought that let the pressure off SA, and thought it was a mistake. The SH teams have a record of winning games when they aren’t necessarily the best team on the park and this often comes from sustaining pressure when they are on top for periods. To be fair I thought SA were the best team today, but don’t know if this stands true for the OZ and NZ games.

          2. Its an opinion, one I believe, you belittle yourself by getting abusive about it.

            England scored a try through a quick tap that SA fell asleep for and then one from an SA line out overthrow. They didn’t craft those opportunities, they didn’t come from get play, they came from SA dropping off. Then Meyer made some suicidal substitutions, especially in the pack as commented on multiple times here, which further helped England. But at no point did England have SA “on the floor”. An 11 point loss, never closer than 4 points, never in the lead. I stand by my point and ignore your desperate attempt to label it as ungracious. I watched 4 games of test rugby today and the England result was the most clear and definitive.

          3. Maths not your strong subject I believe it was a 9 point loss. Whilst you are right that England didn’t craft any opportunities a point I made in another post we did exert pressure and take our opportunities well. I would also add that one of Wales try was an opportunistic hack down field and at least 2 of the boks tries came from England mistakes rather than great build up play. So should we devalue Wales and south Africa’s performances too?

          4. Benjit, I fail to understand why my assessment of England and SA in this match keeps prompting you to point out Wales’ failings. One does not negate the other, I don’t see a link, but if you insist … Wales were very poor. Naive and poorly executed tactical kicking, poor skills showed when close to the line (composure issues?), failure to adapt to the SH ref at the scrum and worst of all a shocking lack of sense in that last 2 minutes. The ability to come through in tight games when not playing to their best, an ability clearly demonstrated by beating everyone else in Europe this year, seems to have been lost. So yes, do “devalue” Wales performance, if you ever saw any value in at all.

            However, this has nothing to do with the idea, the one I initially replied to, that SA were “on the floor”. SA were never on the floor. They never looked like losing that game. SA painted themselves into a bit of a corner with some sloppy mistakes (the tap-penalty and the lineout) and the suicidally premature substitutions, especially in the forwards and halfbacks. A corner they scored a try to get out of. A corner they always looked like scoring their way out of despite the now dominant England scrum because England were not capable of using that advantage to craft tries the way SA could.

          5. Brighty I agree with some of your points, but disagree entirely that SA “never looked like losing this”. they were rattled when we got within one score, but sadly the basic errors that littled England’s performance handed them an easy out, notably Waldrom’s knock on and Farrell’s aimless kick. I do not think that England played well, nor deserved the win but I give them credit for their defiance and spirit in coming back and almost achieveing an unbelievable result, especially given the inexperience of both the team and managment.

          6. Benjit, I guess we’ll have to agree on the defiance/comeback but we’ll have to continue to disagree on the flow of the match. I (as I suspect you did?) watched it on Sky and was bemused (as were those watching with me, not all partisan Welsh supporters) by the commentators assessment that England were in the ascendancy, even dominant, towards the end of that match. My perception was that SA would always pull away, wouldn’t let their mistakes cost them the actual game, and that was how it looked it turned out to me.

            On the issue of the inexperience – I feel England are cut far too much slack here. Their backline has an average age higher than Wales (I do think comparison is valid here as Wales are not cut any slack for losing to Aus, rightly so in my opinion). They came 2nd in the six nations. They have a core of players with 2,3 or more years experience (Foden, Youngs, Ashton, Cole, Hartley) and even those with a lower number of caps are mostly over 25. I think it’s time to move on from the “developing” tag because they’re beyond the initial matches now. They’ve played an entire tournament and are halfway through a SH series, with a lot of the players who played in the World Cup still around. In his first season in charge of Wales Gatland won the slam, so inexperience can only be used for so long as any sort of justification for the inept and frankly weak (I literally do mean physically weak) way England played in those first 30 mins.

          7. The Wales 08 gs team was not inexperienced if memory serves it was the ospreys plus martyn Williams and whilst they had a NEW coaching team you could hardly call gatland inexperienced. Only Cole and hartley are in double figures cap wise so that is a very green pack which is where matches are won. Also age and experience should not be confused, bottom line was that side had a sum total of 150 odd caps against a side with 450.

            Clearly you have issues with England which I imagine are so entrenched I can say nothing to persuade you.

  10. The SA subs were far more influential than England’s. Minus Jannie and Bismarck the Saffer front 5 looked pretty ordinary. Moving Hoougard to the wing was great for us too.

    1. I really do feel that substitutions are SLs weakest area. Reminds me of the Wales match in 6n. Thought the Dickson Farrell and Botha substitutions were wrong given the state of the match.

  11. One of the other things that I can’t understand is why don’t English players run from deep so that they have a head of staem up when they get the ball and hit the game line. The Saffers did it for all of the first half and I don’t think that they failed to get over the gameline once. We did it about 4 or 5 times in the whole game and made yardage every time, but most of the time we were stationary or crabbing sideways and couldn’t get any forward momentum. Easy for a big team like the Saffers to defend against. SL really needs to sort this out!

  12. Congrats to the Boks for a deserved series win. I don’t think any side in the world would have managed to keep the boks out in the first 20 with the way they started, awesome intensity.

    The pros:
    – That’s more like it Ben Youngs! The man that can’t play unless given an armchair ride by the pack …. well he has that monkey off his back. Really pleased that even when he took wrong options it didn’t dent his confidence.
    – Thought we looked much more purposeful with Flood at 10.
    – The fitness in general was a huge plus. We were less fit than the top teams last year, so to withstand the onslaught and still be going flat out at the end at altitude is great progress.
    – Another step up from Johnson.
    – Corbs …. looking a bit leaner ….. wow I can’t recall ever seeing a Bok scrum go back like that.
    – Waldrom the long overdue debut shows he can bring his club form to the international stage.

    Cons:
    – 83% tackle completion. Parling just not physical enough for this level of opposition. Botha tank empty. The usually dependable Robshaw fell off too many as well. None of the starting pack got the better of their opponent in the first half. Morgan still not fit.
    – Use of the bench, really did not understand bringing off Youngs and Hartley for Dixon and Mears so close to the end when Youngs was playing so well and scrum was dominant.
    – Was Strettle on the pitch? All of 7 metres run. Completely overmatched and outclassed by his opposite number.
    – The non selection of Waldrom for so long, whilst we have had some good selections we have clearly been missing what he brings.
    – We had no ball to put through the centres so we didn’t learn much about their attacking potential. Was bemused by our cunning plan of not passing to Tuilagi, whilst they would have been expecting him we had to win some collisions early and Tuilagi seems to go better when he gets involved early.

    For next week I think I would start Corbs, Waldrom, Palmer and Monye (if fit) for Marler, Morgan, Parling and Strettle. Appreciate that’s a bit less lineout prowess, but we need the scrum and tackle power.

    1. Generally agree with your comments, except that we saw the best of youngs when our pack was going forward and he did have more of an armchair ride. Jury still out IMO.

  13. Whilst I thought Corbisiero played well once he came on, I think people are over estimating how much of the scrum improvement was down to him.

    Du Plessis had come off and Palmer and Waldrom had come on, giving us more power behind the front

    Thought Marler played ok. He shored up his side well and didn’t seem to fall off tackles like some did (Hartley). Still, perhaps a bench spot would be best for him at the moment

    Also thought Palmer looked good when he came on

    1. does palmer scrummage behind corbs or cole? because it was when palmer came on against ireland in 6N that the scrum really started to own as oppose to just being in control. thinking maybe its a combination of those two

      1. Palmer scrums behind Corbs, definitely helped. Both Du Plessis’ were still on for the first huge scrum. So I think he does deserve a fair amount of credit.

  14. Anyone else gutted we didn’t get a chance to see any of the attacking potential of our new centre partnership? JJ got snagged by de villiers because flood overcooked the pass, albeit he was under pressure from SA’s defensive line. We desperately needed someone to front up and smash the SA runners back, letting them get up to cruising speed only made life more difficult for the overwhelmed defensive line. Some decent flashes of what could be from floody, ashton and young’s. I thought when we did break the line our support was good. Stretts is a pile of crap, how we can field a winger with no pace in an international game is beyond me. Even though wades defence is poor I would still play him for his hunger and raw pace/agility. Botha looks tired and parling has fallen out of form. Think we need someone like Robson in the second row to go and take some names. I feel if someone had made a big hit England would have realised they were playing against humans. Was so painful to watch the first quarter, think we need care and waldrom should probably get a start. Ben Morgan looks lost against SA, a far cry from what he showed in the 6n. Think we need to see manu and JJ together again.

  15. To be fair the new centres spent most of their time defending, I think we need to give that partnership another go, Manu needs some games at 12 in order to get used to the role. However, I don’t remembering him crashing the ball up once, Jamie Roberts does it several times for Wales just to establish themselves physically, I would like the first few set play moves to be simple, quick, manu up the middle to set up quick second phase ball, Australia showed how instead of kicking slow ball, you can move it quickly away from the tackle area nd create quick ball.

    I would like to see Waldron and Palmer in for the next test, we are getting bullied up front.

    Greenwood called it we need a Wrosly or a Moody, somebody who loves the confrontation, somebody to tackle anything that moves. It’s allright rakling statistically about 17 or 18 tackles per match but if everytime you tackle the man crosses the gain line it isn’t so effective. Don’t know who that would be.

    1. I agree with you Ronnie. We need to stick with this centre partnership.

      Definitely Palmer and Woldrom to start next week. Corbisiero could come in as well. He was not only effective at the scrum, he puts himself about in the loose, and is good at the breakdown.

      As I have said before. I think we have to look to someone like Haskell. He has the size to be able to put in the hits against Alberts, B Du Plessis etc. Which would mean losing Johnson from the back row. Tough call, but we need a win in the next match.

    2. I think the problem was that we were not hitting the line at full speed like the SA players were. Our attackers need to run from deep, and hit the line harder.

  16. I think SA gained a lot of confidence from the first try. Which of course shouldn’t have been given. But as Rolland and Walsh are both so incompetent, and clearly don’t know the rules, this set the tone for the first half of the match. We got back into the game, and did well last 20, but it was too late. Haskell and Waldrom to start third test? If Haskell has a good game midweek, he should start, but reports from last week indicated he was rubbish. Difficult decisions to make Mr Lancaster.

    1. I agree re. Haskell. The reports weren’t too good about him from the midweek game unlike Waldrom. No good having a great lump in the back row to front up to the SA only to have him give away penalties, not do the other work well, and spend time in the sin bin. Much better to start Johnson IMO.

  17. Absolutely gutted, i started to believe towards the end that England might be able to pull it back, but perhaps we left it too late. I though Youngs was very good, as was Waldrom when he came on. I reckon Care to replace Dickson on the bench, he is quicker and could have more of an impact later on in the game. I think strettle has to go, completely anonimous.

    Us England fans should bare one thing in mind when looking back at these two matches is the poor, and highly unusual kicking form of Morne Steyn. Just saying that if he had his normal boots on the score line would not look as it does.

    Still, i think there is hope for this England side, and the final test should be highly competitive

    1. Lots of ifs in any game. If Walsh wasn’t useless we would have had a reset scrum rather than a SA try. It was what it was. SA were the better team. Let’s hope for a win next week.

  18. I see 4 basic problems with England at the moment.

    1. Physicality. England fell off too many tackles and those they did make did not drive the opposition backwards. If you are going to play Parling (and I wouldn’t as I do not see what he adds aside from lineout ability) he needs to be paired with someone with some grunt. Palmer made a difference when he came on.

    2. Line speed. As mentioned above, SA hit the ball running from deep and it made them so difficult to stop.By contrast, England were static when receving the ball, no matter whether it was a forward or a back. This has been an issue for a long time. I don’t understand why it is so difficult to instil this idea into the team

    3. Roles for forwards and backs. I want to see forwards in the rucks and the backs in midfield and on the wings. So often when we took the ball into a ruck, it would be a winger, a centre and Robshaw trying to defend it whilst the rest of the forwards hung around in mid-field. Forwards need to be hitting the rucks and if they are taking the ball then it needs to be close to the rucks or one out. If the ball goes wide, Let’s see it going scrum-half to fly half to centre to centre to winger/fullback for once. Not scrumhalf to fly half to prop to flanker to lock

    4. Subs. Mears and Dowson are not players who are going to bring much impact. Let’s put Marler, Morgan and Gray on the bench – they will give impetus at the 60 min mark if necessary

    1. Nice summary, line speed was an issue in defence as well as attack, tackler was not hitting the ball carrier, ball carrier was hitting a stationary tackler too often. Whilst I would not fancy the job of tackling Alberts, but if I had to do it I would rather get to him before he is at max velocity.

      The random distribution of forwards and backs in the backline prevented us having any pattern or structure in attack. We will never have a “centre partnership” if they are on opposite sides of the pitch.

  19. Barring his nice try-scoring support line I though Flood was abysmal, created nothing and sapped the momentum out of every backs ball by jogging away from the gain line before making his passes. For me Youngs was also not as good as everyone else seems to think; a few poor decisions and not as snappy as he is at his best – or as Care has been lately.

    Goode to start at Fullback, Foden on the wing in place of Strettle. Care starting at 9 with Dixon on the bench. Anyone but Flood at flyhalf! Corbs starting at loosehead with Marler on the bench. And if the lineout can function without Parling, he should make way for Palmer. Sorted.

    1. Nice suggestion on your replacement fly half!

      Do you think he played worse than Owen did in the first test?

      1. I honestly do! Backs moves are created by feeding the line with quick ball going forwards; what Flood served up was the opposite, there was never any space or momentum in the middle. This can’t all be blamed on good breakdown pressure and rush defence from the boks. Farrell may be a bit predictable, but at least he can ship the ball promptly. We have a potent new centre pairing and a very decent back three, they need to be unleashed. And in defence there’s barely any comparison.

        It can’t have been easy when every backs substitute meant a positional shift for another player. Maybe I’m wrong and it’s all Catt’s fault?

        Also, can anyone explain why Youngs has been box kicking off the back of rucks to clear the line, sometimes for touch, instead of the traditional to fullback in space for a long-distance hoof? Although he executed better this week it still doesn’t make sense to me.

  20. Flood’s ability to release the midfield is far superior to Farrell’s. In my opinion.

    Robshaw out of 3rd test, Hartley to captain.

    1. On a good day you’re probably right, but do you think he showed it in the last test? If it was there I didn’t see it. Maybe I’m letting my fanatical anti-Floodism get the better of me.

      Hardly needs saying that losing Robshaw is a blow… who will step into his shoes?

  21. I think Flood helped the running game of England, but all the blame should not be directed to him. I am a Springbok supporter, and to be honest England have not created any try through well worked centre or back play. The first test South Africa had basically stopped playing and competing when Foden scored. The second test we handed you 14 points on a plate again through our own errors. We switched off for the quick tap, and the line out over throw will probably never happen again with this current Springbok side. Granted the maul was good but arguably play should have been stopped after the penalty was awarded as our number 5 and defensive Lock was on the ground unable to move and receiving treatment. England have relied on their big Samoan centre to smash through defences against less physical teams but he has been totally taken out in both test matches. At the end of the day England’s problem lie in your forwards. You do not have the athletic and speed that our forwards produce to get us over the gain line and our backs running onto good clean quick ball…The fact Flood has time to jog back into position and then run onto the ball says it all from the one gentleman’s statement. England have only ever done well against southern teams when winning the break down and never on elegant quick back play as you do not posses the players our nations have. Adopt a better kicking game, make us play in our half and get your forwards smashing it up at pace phase after phase and you will have a chance, I did think we deserved a penalty try though as England committed professional fouls all the time in the second half to stop us from scoring a try on a few occasions and also brake up our flow. Maybe also adopt these tactics in the last test as our 10 has forgotten how to kick and you may just sneak a win against a much weakened Springbok team

    1. Brian, some of those comments are fair enough. The SA forwards were better in the loose and we did lack penetration in the back line but lets not forget one thing. The officials gifted SA 12 points. Alain ‘anyone but England’ Rolland and Steve ‘couldn’t agree more’ Walsh conspired their way to ignore what should have been a re-set scrum for the first try and the TMO should be shot for allowing the second try. No way was he in control of that ball. So a 9 point win with 12 points given to you suddenly doesn’t sound so hot. All that said SA were the better side and probably deserved the win anyway. To be honest though any sensible England fan will acknowledge that it doesn’t matter. Given where we were at the end of the World Cup this performance was something to be proud of and to build on. Put your money on England for a home World Cup win in 2015.

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