England end losing streak with SA win


Jonny May’s spectacular finish made the game safe at a sodden Newlands
Third Test: South Africa v England
South Africa (3) 10
Try: Kriel Con: Jantjies Pen: Jantjies
England (6) 25
Try: May Con: Farrell Pens: Farrell 6

England halted their losing run as they ground their way to victory over South Africa in the third and final Test.

In extremely wet conditions in Cape Town, three Owen Farrell penalties to one Elton Jantjies effort gave England a 6-3 lead.

South Africa went ahead via a converted Jesse Kriel try soon after the break.

But England turned the screw and four Farrell penalties and a Jonny May try sealed victory, although South Africa took the series 2-1.

After the snooker-table firmness and speed of the surface in the first two matches, the Newlands pitch was more akin to the sodden bogs found on the moors of northern England.

Combined with an extremely greasy ball it made for an entirely different kind of game to the pacy, cavalry charge rugby seen on the Highveld.

Instead we saw siege-gun rugby, with both scrum-halves repeatedly launching hanging box kicks from the base of the ruck as the two teams looked to edge into opposition territory.

Both sides made numerous errors as the ball squirmed from hand repeatedly.

But as the game wore on, the tourists – raised on the wet-weather rugby of an English winter – were increasingly dominant as they ended a five-Test losing run.

Saturday’s victory was just England’s fourth Test win in 16 attempts in South Africa – and their first in Cape Town

A tale of two fly-halves

All the headlines before the match, in England at least, had focused on the return of the prodigal son.

In the end the conditions dictated that Danny Cipriani – the reformed bad boy or misunderstood maverick of English rugby depending on your view