Déjà vu in Bloemfontein as Boks win series

Duane Vermeulen PHOTO: SA Rugby

The Springboks claimed series victory on Saturday evening by beating England 23-12 in Bloemfontein to win the second Test.

This after coming back from 12-0 down after just 13 minutes. It was almost a case of déjà vu from a week prior, when the South African’s back from 24-3 down in the opening 20 minutes in Johannesburg to win 42-39.

The Springboks outside channel was exploited on the left and it took just 10 minutes for the winger Mike Brown to fly over for the opening score of the match.

Just three minutes later, the English switched sides and it was almost a carbon copy of the first try which led Jonny May touching down in the right corner. This time, the captain Owen Farrell was unable to convert the try.

The South Africans had to wait until the 25th minute to get on the board, when the centurion, Tendai Mtawarira set up a try. Beast picked the ball at the back of a ruck and sprinted some 30 meters to ultimately send the former Cheetah, Duane Vermeulen, over. The flyhalf, Handré Pollard, converted.

Pollard then slotted a penalty to make it a two-point game, before landing a massive 60 meter effort to hand South Africa a 13-10 lead at half time.

The Springbok scrum plied mountains of pressure on their English counterparts which led to the French referee, Romain Poite, awarding a penalty try in favour of the hosts in the 50th minute.

Six minutes later the English came agonisingly close to scoring, however, the TMO ruled that the New Zealand-born, Brad Shields, knocked the ball in the process of grounding the ball.

Pollard made it an eleven-point game in the 67th minute with a third penalty. A few minutes later, the English were down to 14-men, when the replacement, Nathan Hughes, received a yellow card.

Pollard could have closed out the game but missed a regulation penalty with some 7 minutes left on the clock.

As was the case in Johannesburg last week, the English were attacking from all over in the last 10 minutes, however, the Boks had done enough to hand the visitors their sixth defeat in a row.

These two sides clash next week Saturday at Newlands in Cape Town on the third and final Tests of the series.


South Africa: Tries – Duane Vermeulen, Penalty Try Conv. – Handré Pollard Pen. – Pollard 3

England: Tries – Mike Brown, Jonny May Conv. – Owen Farrell 1


Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Replacements – 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Warrick Gelant.

England – 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Replacements – 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mark Wilson 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Denny Solomona. – MORGAN PIEK