Rugby-Bruising Springboks beat England, eye World Cup


Sat, 27 Nov 19:37:00 2010

* Boost for South Africa after loss to Scotland

* England fail to reproduce form shown against Australia

* Seventh win in a row for Springboks over England (Writes through, adds quotes)

World champions South Africa reaffirmed their World Cup credentials with a bruising 21-11 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday that left captain Victor Matfield confident ahead of next year's campaign.

Tied 6-6 at the break, after two penalties apiece for England's Toby Flood and South Africa's Morne Steyn, the visitors motored to a well-deserved win with second-half tries from replacement Willem Alberts and Lwazi Mvovo.

"We're really happy with the way we went out there tonight, hopefully we can take that confidence into next year, which is a very big year with the World Cup," Matfield told reporters.

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers was equally upbeat.

"The first 12 teams in world rugby, there's only a little to choose between them and that's going to cause us to believe more and more in ourselves going into the World Cup".

The Springboks arrived at Twickenham depleted by injury and suspensions on the back of last weekend's surprise defeat by Scotland, while England had been looking to a rosier future after stunning Australia and then beating Samoa.


South Africa had not read the script however, producing a display packed with big hits and a dominance that left the hosts parked in front of their posts for much of the match and eventually condemned to a seventh straight loss to the visitors.

"The guys were hurt after last weekend, they showed character and the pride they have in the jersey with the way they came back tonight," Matfield, who said he played most of the match with a broken rib, added.

Martin Johnson's England finish the November series with memories of their stirring victory over Australia and will take the positives from defeats by the All Blacks and the Springboks into the World Cup in New Zealand.

Johnson told reporters: "Even despite the fact that we invited pressure on ourselves we didn't concede a try in that first half, we kept them out with some really very good defence.

"I don't think we'd have done that at the start of the series, never mind a year ago."

The world champions dominated the first half but failed to turn their possession into points after meeting dogged resistance from England who had thrilled Twickenham two weeks ago with a new free-flowing style of rugby against Australia.


Flood's first-half penalties were the culmination of two rare England attacks but the hosts were on the back foot for most of the time.

Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs combined superbly to deny Matfield on the try line, while last-man Ben Foden later also rescued England.

The tough-tackling needed to thwart the relentless Springbok attack took its toll on England who lost Flood and Tom Croft to injury before the break, the absence of the latter weakening their reply to South Africa's expert line-out.

The tourists had twice hit the post in the first half from penalties but Steyn made no mistake a minute after the break to put the Springboks ahead for the first time.

England tested South Africa's try-line briefly but the visitors got the score their powerful play deserved when Alberts collected a deft offload to dive over in the corner.

England were caught napping 10 minutes later when Mvovo darted past three players to race to the line and effectively seal victory before Foden added a late consolation try.


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