World champions South Africa rounded off their 2008 campaign in style with a record-breaking 42-6 thrashing of England at Twickenham on Saturday.
World champions South Africa rounded off their 2008 campaign in style with a record-breaking 42-6 thrashing of England at Twickenham here Saturday.
This defeat represented England’s worst losing margin at Twickenham, surpassing the 21-point gap they conceded to New Zealand in a 41-20 defeat here two years ago.
It was also South Africa’s sixth win in a row over England, whom they defeated 15-6 in their last meeting at the 2007 World Cup final in Paris.
The Springboks had enjoyed less than convincing tour victories this month over both Wales (20-15) and Scotland (14-10)
But there was no doubt about this win, with the Springboks scoring five tries through Danie Rossouw, Ruan Pieenaar, Adrian Jacobs and Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana.
Four of those were converted, three by Pieenar and one by Francois Steyn with Pienaar also landing three penalties.
England, in reply, could only manage two first-half Danny Cipriani penalties in a match the Springboks had all but won at half-time at 20-6 ahead.
Defeat for England, following last week’s loss to Australia, left manager Martin Johnson with much to ponder ahead of the November 29 visit to Twickenham of Tri-Nations champions New Zealand.
“We created more try scoring opportunities than in the first two matches but we didn’t take them,” said Johnson.
“Our execution in the final third was poor and we suffered a very heavy defeat. The guys are desolate. We will face the All Blacks next week and it will be a character week ahead of it.”
South Africa skipper John Smit said: “I asked a lot from our guys today and they gave me more. They took the ball up and made a lot of yards.”
In this match England actually went ahead in the first minute when the Springboks, surprised by Cipriani’s low kick-off, infringed.
The outside-half, who missed four out of his six shots at goal in the 28-14 loss to Australia, was on target from 40m out.
But five minutes later, prop Phil Vickery—one of only three England survivors from last year’s World Cup final—didn’t release and, from a similar distance to Cipriani’s opener, Pienaar equalised.
England, following a charged-down kick which led to a five-metre scrum, maintained possession only for South Africa right wing JP Pietersen to fly-hack the ball downfield.
From a scrum, the ball was worked across field and it needed a good tackle by Delon Armitage on opposing full-back Conrad Jantjes to prevent a try.
However, the Springboks didn’t have long to wait. A drive off the back of a close-range scrum saw the ball worked to Rossouw and the openside flanker held off the tackles of Cipriani and England centres Riki Flutey and Jamie Noon before scoring a try.
Pienaar’s conversion put the Springboks 10-3 up in the 15th minute.
Just a few minutes later they had another try when, for the second time in three weeks, a charged-down Cipriani kick led to a an opposition score.
Pieenar both blocked and then ran in unopposed for a converted score which stretched the Springboks’ lead to 17-3.
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers had warned that his side might be mentally fatigued but there as no sign as giant lock Bakkies Botha, looking to add a Twickenham win to his illustrious CV, sprinted across field to produce a try-saving tackle on Armitage.
England manager Martin Johnson had urged his side to play “smarter” rugby after giving away several cheap penalties against Australia.
But when Tom Palmer went in off his feet Pienaar punished England again.
England were in the tricky position of playing “catch-up” rugby although a Cipriani penalty did cut the deficit.
The Springboks were then reduced to 14-men when prop Beast Mtawarira was sin-bined in the 29th minute for going off his feet.
But it was England, run ragged by some fine passing, who looked as if they were a man down. They failed to score in Mtawarira’s absence and at halftime the Springboks had a healthy 14 point lead.
England pounded the Springbok line after the re-start but didn’t have the strength or guile to find a way past a committed defence.
And they were then caught napping by a Pietersen break which released Jacobs, who sliced his way through the cover defence for a try.
England number eight Nick Easter, a World Cup survivor, gave away a penalty which Pienaar kicked to stretch the lead to 30-6.
Although South Africa were again reduced to 14 men when Jantjes was yellow-carded for a late block on Armitage it made little difference, with the Springboks scoring two more tries.
From Steyn’s kick close to his own line, fellow replacement Fourie seized on indecision by Paul Sackey and Armitage to scoop up the loose ball before star wing Habana added to England’s woes. - AFP