Springboks' second half charge topples fighting England in first South African Test

South Africa 22 England 17

Morne Steyn and Jean de Villiers touched down as a second-half South
African barrage broke England's resistance in the first Test in Durban.

England met the Springboks challenge head on at Kings Park and were level at 6-6 at half-time after Owen Farrell and Steyn traded penalties.

South Africa began to gain the upper hand after the break as Steyn and captain De Villiers broke through and the hosts held on despite two more Farrell penalties applying pressure.

Ben Foden claimed a late England consolation after the final hooter and head coach Stuart Lancaster will take some heart from the fighting display of his players.

Despite that, what was England's eighth successive Test loss to the Springboks still leaves them facing an uphill fight to win their first three-match series in South Africa.

The scoreline might have been close but the normally reliable Steyn, who still scored 17 of his side's points, did miss two conversions and a penalty.

Heavy rain eased before kick-off but the surface remained slick.

The Springboks looked to impose themselves early on with some powerful hits and the more expansive handling of the two sides.

Bryan Habana gave England an early warning as he claimed a high kick from scrum-half Ben Youngs and weaved his way through several failed tackles before being halted on halfway.

But England also went hard into their tackles and were handed the chance to open the scoring when Eben Etzebeth, one of three debutants for the hosts, was penalised.

Farrell drilled a long-range effort between the posts and the fly-half had an opportunity to open up the Springboks defence soon after but his delicate kick was not read by any team-mates.

South Africa pulled themselves level with a Steyn penalty after Youngs, who was given a thorough examination throughout, lost possession and England were caught offside.

England survived a scare after Francois Hougaard found a gap and almost put Pierre Spies over when Manu Tuilagi produced a fine tackle to block the Springboks number eight on the line.

The tourists relieved the pressure after earning a penalty inside their own half and managed to claim three more points when a South African offside allowed Farrell another shot at goal.

But it was a penalty soon cancelled out by Steyn after another offside decision.

Mike Brown sparked an England attack when he broke a tackle from Habana and right wing Chris Ashton side-stepped Zane Kirchner to race clear. It took a fine recovering tackle from Hougaard to deny him.

Steyn had a chance to put South Africa ahead from wide on the left in the closing seconds of the first half but dragged his attempt wide.

England carried their fighting spirit into the second half and Tuilagi barged through an attempted tackle from De Villiers.

But it was South Africa who took a grip on the game by claiming the opening try in the 48th minute.

Prop Jannie du Plessis and De Villiers were both stopped inches short of the line before the ball was spun out left for Steyn to crash over.

That proved the start of prolonged spell of South African pressure.

England initially held firm, albeit at a price as Durban-born centre Brad Barritt was forced off with a head injury.

JP Pietersen almost found a way through on the left but was pushed into touch by Brown, an act the South Africa wing took exception to by sparking a minor fracas.

South Africa continued to pour forward with Habana proving a particularly tricky customer.

Eventually England had to crack and it was De Villiers who broke through for a second try on the hour as he raced onto a Pietersen pass and powered through a weak Brown tackle.

After another missed goal attempt by Steyn, England - not disheartened - powered forward in an attempt to find a way back into the game with Foden and Ashton finding gaps.

A kick over the top by Farrell looked to have proved fruitless but England came away with a penalty and the fly-half reduced the arrears to 16-9.

Farrell then cut that by another three points with just under 15 minutes remaining after another South African indiscretion.

The Springboks regrouped and extended their lead a little further when an England offside presented Steyn with a kickable penalty.

He added another in the closing moments as England ran out of steam.

England claimed a consolation after the final hooter when Foden dived over in the corner.

PA

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker