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Springboks maintain Test dominance over England

Date

David Legge

SOUTH AFRICA 22 ENGLAND 17

Clash of the big backs ... Manu Tuilagi is tackled by Frans Steyn.

Clash of the big backs ... Manu Tuilagi is tackled by Frans Steyn. Photo: AFP

DURBAN, South Africa: South Africa maintained their dominance over England with a 22-17 victory Saturday in the Test debut of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

MATCH STATS

It was the eighth win on the trot since 2006 for the green and gold over the Red Roses and a fiercely physical clash was won in the second half when fly-half Morne Steyn and centre and new captain Jean de Villiers scored tries.

South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers.

South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers. Photo: AFP

Steyn had a rare off day with his goal kicking, fluffing three of seven shots, but landed a couple of late penalties to give his team a 10-point advantage before left wing Ben Foden halved it with a stoppage-time try.

Fly-half Owen Farrell succeeded with his four penalty attempts for England, who tackle South Africa twice more during a three-week tour, in Johannesburg next Saturday and on June 23 in Port Elizabeth.

A number of players finished the match bloodied and bruised with South Africa-born England inside centre Brad Barritt retiring before the hour mark because of a badly swollen eye.

Ben Foden scores England's only try.

Ben Foden scores England's only try. Photo: Reuters

De Villiers, the first centre to lead the Springboks in 88 years, said he was proud of his team, especially as they had less than a week to prepare after playing Super 15 rugby last weekend.

"The result was great although our performance had flaws -- we made some wrong decisions out there. It was a very physical encounter and we will learn from it," he promised.

England flanker and skipper Chris Robshaw said: "We came out all guns blazing in the second half but, unfortunately, they got an early score and managed to build pressure on us.

South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers scores.

South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers scores. Photo: Reuters

"Obviously, we wanted to win the first Test, but it is onwards and upwards now with a lot of hard work ahead. In the closing stages we put our stamp on the game and must learn to do that for the full 80 minutes."

A tight opening half offered few try-scoring chances and ended 6-6 with all the points coming via penalties with Farrell twice putting the visitors ahead and Steyn twice levelling.

Six Nations runners-up England impressed at the breakdown, slowing down South African ball, but were penalised several times by referee Steve Walsh for early engagement at scrums.

South Africa's Willem Alberts is tackled by England's Mouritz Botha. Click for more photos

Boks on top in Durban

South Africa win a tough contest under new coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de VIlliers. Photo: Reuters

Farrell put England ahead on seven minutes after debutant Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth did not roll away from the tackle and Steyn restored equality seven minutes later from his first kick at goal.

England won a vital turn-over inside their 22-metre area when South Africa threatened to score after several breaks from scrum-half Francois Hougaard took the green and gold close to the try-line.

A superb break from No 8 Ben Morgan culminated in a penalty for England which Farrell slotted between the posts after 27 minutes and the visitors were ahead again.

Tom Johnson charges down a kick by Francois Hougaard.

Tom Johnson charges down a kick by Francois Hougaard. Photo: AP

However, the advantage lasted just three minutes before leading 2011 Rugby World Cup points scorer Steyn kicked his second penalty after England were caught offside.

England were expected to have the upper hand at the line-outs against debutants Etzebeth and Juandre Kruger, but they went with the throw until just before half-time when England 'stole' one after a deflection.

Steyn had a chance to put the Springboks ahead in first-half stoppage time, but easily the most difficult kick of the half from close to the touchline drifted right of the posts.

South Africa were a transformed team from the start of the second half, winning more breakdown ball, and far quicker, and by the hour mark had established a 16-6 advantage through a couple of tries.

A midfield break by outstanding left wing Bryan Habana was followed on by De Villiers and prop Jannie du Plessis, and ended with Steyn selling a dummy to go over far out.

England were pinned in their half and had a let-off when South Africa opted to run a close-range penalty that failed to yield any reward, much to the fury of a visibly tense Meyer.

But the disappointment was soon forgotten as another Habana break led to a second try with De Villiers taking a JP Pietersen pass and cutting in to dot down.

Farrell kicked two penalties within three minutes to cut the South African advantage to 16-12 before Steyn atoned for three consecutive misses by slotting a penalty.

Another Steyn penalty made the game safe at 22-12 before Foden eluded centre Francois Steyn to dive over in the corner for a consolation try that Farrell could not convert.

SOUTH AFRICA 21 (Morne Steyn, Jean de Villiers tries; Steyn 4 pens) def  ENGLAND 17 (Ben Foden try; Owen Farrell 4 pens)

AFP

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CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
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HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
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BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
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CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
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SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
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SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
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CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
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BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
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Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
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RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
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STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
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BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
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CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
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Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
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HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
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CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
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Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
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BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
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HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
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King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
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CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
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SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
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CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
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STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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