‘Our pack isn’t weak’ – Jones vows depeleted front row can match SA power
England welcome South Africa to Twickenham in a mouthwatering rematch of the World Cup final two years on.
The Springboks battled past Eddie Jones’ side on the big stage and edged out the British and Irish Lions 2-1 this summer. They enter the match in fine form too, having surged past Scotland last week to lock up a 30-15 victory at Murrayfield.
The Boks poses what Richard Cockerill claims to be a daunting task: “Physically from a scrum, set-piece and line-out point of view, there isn’t a harder team to play against in the world at the moment.”
But this is a very different England side, packed with guile and invention, namely in the shape of 22-year-old Marcus Smith, which played out in the 32-15 win over Australia last weekend.
Jones has proven daring with his surprise selections and believes that unpredictability can unsettle the world champions: “The whole team is up for the fight. I’ve never seen a team as ready to play against South Africa. We know exactly how we want to play, we know exactly where we think there is a weakness with South Africa and we’ve just got to go out there and execute. And execute with a spirit of adventure, a spirit of taking the English game where it’s never been before. We know this South African team is the best in the world at the moment. So there’s a great opportunity for us to prove ourselves.”
Follow live updates, build-up, analysis and reaction from Twickenham in this colossal match-up following the conclusion of Scotland vs Japan:
Jack Rathborn20 November 2021 15:42
England 17-6 South Africa, 25 minutes
It’s all a bit staccato, now, as another breakdown infringement causes Andrew Brace to whistle again. This time England fail to vacate a ruck – and South Africa, somewhat surprisingly, will have another shot at the posts. This is all of 49 metres out and beyond the 15-metre line – a toughie for Handre Pollard.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:42
PENALTY! ENGLAND 17-6 South Africa (Marcus Smith penalty, 24 minutes)
Which Marcus Smith does will little bother from left of centre.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:41
England 14-6 South Africa, 23 minutes
The breakdown is a proper battles so far, and England are this time the beneficiaries of Andrew Brace’s peeping! Tom Curry is spying a jackal as Bevan Rodd makes a good tackle on a Springbok carrier, but Curry’s attempt is blocked by Eben Etzebeth failing to keep his feet as a latcher. That’s a new law for this season – and Brace is across it, penalising Etzebeth and allowing England a chance to notch three points of their own…
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:40
PENALTY! England 14-6 SOUTH AFRICA (Handre Pollard penalty, 22 minutes)
Two England tries, two South Africa penalties. Lively start at Twickenham.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:39
England 14-3 South Africa, 21 minutes
South Africa earn a penalty at the lineout as English limbs stray where they shouldn’t be before the jumper comes to floor, and after Max Malins covers a crossfield grubber for Jesse Kriel well, Twickenham boos as South Africa point at the posts for a second time.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:38
England 14-3 South Africa, 19 minutes
After all the trouble England had with this South Africa defence in the World Cup final, they have largely been able to play as they have pleased so far and twice breached it in the first quarter. South Africa hopelessly misaligned themselves for the break in the lead-up to the try, Steward ghosting into a great chasm as Makazole Mapimpi bit in on three midfield English runners and Willie Le Roux left exposed covering the end of the line. That really was a lovely pass from Henry Slade, though.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:36
TRY! ENGLAND 14-3 South Africa (Freddie Steward try, 18 minutes)
Freddie Steward powers over! He’s a sizeable enough unit the full-back and he takes two South African tacklers with him as he forces free and for the line down the right.
It was sharp from Ben Youngs, making the most of slow ball by spotting a slightly on their heels blindside defensive line, feeding his Leicester teammate and enabling Steward to crash over.
Marcus Smith produces another fine conversion from the tee.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:34
England 7-3 South Africa, 17 minutes
Brilliant attack from England! Henry Slade feigns a carry and produces a magnificent miss pass to Freddie Steward in a gap, and the full-back sends Max Malins down the wing.
Malins shimmies inside a defender and England attack with real momentum.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:32
England 7-3 South Africa, 15 minutes
The ball is starting to bounce the way of the South Africans, England again fumbling in the air.
But a wide pass hits the deck, and though Lukhanyo Am’s apparent knock-on isn’t spotted, Maro Itoje locks his great limbs around a carrier and earns England the ball back. Jonny May’s attempted stab through hits two South African bodies – one of which was accidentally offside. England scrum.
Harry Latham-Coyle20 November 2021 15:32