Sloppy England Lose Breathtaking First Test Against South Africa

Sloppy England Lose Breathtaking First Test Against South Africa
18:11, 09 Jun 2018

England surrendered a commanding early 24-3 lead to fall to defeat to South Africa in their opening match of this summer's Test series.

Not since 1972 had the Red Rose prevailed in the Springboks’ so-called spiritual home of Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

But there was an energy, a self-belief and a collective desire about Jones’ troops which saw them reduce their hosts to so much rubble during a stunning opening quarter.

England’s teamwork was matchless, their conviction unshakeable.

Captain Owen Farrell, ably assisted by fly-half George Ford, provided the inspiration in midfield as South Africa were ripped apart to trail 24-3 after just 18 minutes.

After three straight defeats in the Six Nations and a humbling at the hands of Barbarians at the end of May, the onus is on Jones to conjure a winning formula in this summer’s three-match Test series against South Africa.

This looked being the perfect start to the tour but England were left facing an almighty home fightback as the Springboks roused themselves in quite spectacular fashion during the remainder of the first half.

They established a 29-27 half-time lead and stretched their advantage in the second half to condemn England to a fourth straight Test defeat.

Elliot Daly's penalty to put England ahead and then the first try came when Mike Brown evaded two tackles to go over and Daly converted to make it 10-0.

It was a classic winger's finish and Brown then showed his defensive qualities by pulling down S'busiso Nkosi just metres from the try-line.

Handre Pollard then kicked a penalty for South Africa but Leicester wing May then produced a delightful pass to send Daly over the line in the left corner.

Farrell converted and in the 18th minute England conjured a stunning effort when Ford and May combined to dissect the home defence as Farrell ran through to score.

South Africa were awful in defence but Sale Sharks scrum-half Faf de Klerk then dived over the line from close range for their first try. Pollard missed the conversion but the home side soon struck again when Nkosi reached his own kick ahead of Daly to score.

Nkosi then added his second after a great offload from Siya Kolisi and Pollard converted to cut the gap to two points.

As half-time approached, de Klerk found Wasps star Willie le Roux who touched down and Pollard converted. Farrell then booted a penalty to make it 29-27 at the break but the momentum was massively in South Africa's favour.

Brad Shields came on for his England debut but South Africa winger Aphiwe Dyantyi then added another home try after Mako Vunipola was sinbinned.

Late tries from Maro Itoje and Jonny May struck in the last five minutes for England but it was not enough to save England from a dramatic defeat.