Australia v England LIVE rugby: Result and reaction as England win deciding Test

·43-min read

England outwitted and outfought an error-prone Australia 21-17 to win their July series 2-, a second success for northern hemisphere rugby after Ireland’s earlier triumph over the All Blacks.

Young guns Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith scored the tries and England’s streetwise pack bossed the breakdown as coach Eddie Jones masterminded a second series victory over his own country after their 3-0 sweep in 2016.

Australia scored tries through Tom Wright and Folau Fainga’a in front of a sellout crowd of 43,274 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but the home side’s accuracy deserted them too frequently at crucial moments.

Australia won the opening test 30-28 in Perth but England struck back with a 25-17 victory in Brisbane to take the series to Saturday’s decider.

Follow live reaction from the Australia vs England series decider below:

Australia vs England

  • 66’ - TRY! Fainga’a powers over to set up thrilling finish (Aus 17-21 Eng)

  • 55’ - TRY! Great awareness and pace from Smith gives England a cushion (Aus 10-21 Eng)

  • 50’ - PENALTY! Great work by Genge wins a penalty that Farrell slots (Aus 10-14 Eng)

  • 40’ - TRY! Steward sneaks over in the corner (Aus 10-11 Eng)

  • 33’ - PENALTY! Farrell adds a second England penalty (Aus 10-6 Eng)

  • 25’ - TRY! Wright finishes off a stuning Wallabies score (Aus 7-3 Eng)

  • England face Australia in series decider at iconic Sydney Cricket Ground

  • England levelled the series at 1-1 with victory in Brisbane last weekend

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 73 minutes

17:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales do look dangerous, but the final piece of the puzzle isn’t quite falling into place. Tomos Williams’ explorations of the left touchline are excellent, but Taine Basham can’t quite collect the scrum-half’s in-field pass.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 71 minutes

17:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

What a turnover from Kwagga Smith! Wales fizz the ball wide to the let, and an untimely slip grants acres of room for Josh Adams to charge up. Makazole Mapimpi and Damian Willemse combine to fell the wing, and Smith knifes in, spearing the ball and spinning away from the ruck with it. Superb from the former sevens star.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 70 minutes

17:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Off the fingertips! It looks a good dart from Lake, but the lifted player isn’t quite up high enough to grasp it, and Siya Kolisi is alive at the back of the lineout to snare the bouncing ball.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 69 minutes

17:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The lineout drive brings more disciplinary issues for South Africa - Franco Mostert comes in at the side as Wales begin to rumble. Dan Biggar kicks towards the right corner, from where Dewi Lake will throw.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 68 minutes

17:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Penalty to Wales just inside their own half. South Africa are trying to shut the game down, play the percentages and build territorial pressure, but the Springboks aren’t quite nailing their accuracy.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 66 minutes

17:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The game just slows for a while as the two sides trade high, long punts. The last of them flies out on halfway from a Welsh boot, and it is from there that South Africa will next attack, Malcolm Marx hitting his jumper at the lineout.

And another high kick ends up in South African hands! Louis Rees-Zammit knocks on...

But South Africa once more waste the position, threading a kick in behind, but only towards a covering Welshman.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 64 minutes

17:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Damian Willemse takes an up-and-under superbly, but is left powerless as he falls on a Welsh body. Two more red shirts arrive to deposit him over the touchline in short order.

Faf de Klerk replaces Jaden Hendrikse at scrum half.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 63 minutes

17:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

South Africa return to their power game, uncomplicated one-out runners nonetheless making robust progress through the Welsh 22.

But just as the spaces begin to appear, South Africa lose patience. Handre Pollard calls for the ball but finds his options limited, kicking the ball into a leg just six metres from the Welsh line. Wales clear.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 61 minutes

17:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Eben Etzebeth’s 100th appearance in South African green is done - another remarkably gnarly showing from the lock. Franco Mostert takes his place.

And the replacement makes an immediate impact, driving back a Welsh carrier and allowing his engine room mate Lood de Jager to attack the ruck. De Jager is moved out of the way illegally.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 59 minutes

17:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Not the most enterprising attacking play from South Africa, granted go-forward by another strong maul drive and Damian Willemse, who has a fair bit of strapping on his ankle but still carries strongly. Willemse’s fellow backs work the hands out to the left, but Makazole Mapimpi runs out of room, first swaddled by two Welsh tacklers and then carried into touch.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 57 minutes

17:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jones’ arrival does not bring glad tidings for the Welsh scrum - Sam Wainwright is folded like a deckchair by Steven Kitshoff. Penalty to South Africa.

South Africa 24-14 Wales, 55 minutes

17:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Taine Basham, called in late to the matchday squad after Taulupe Faletau’s last minute withdrawal, is on for Wales, replacing Tommy Reffell, who has had another remarkably effective performance on a potentially star-making tour.

Wales have a lineout 30 metres out from the South Africa line, but Dewi Lake’s throw, not for the first time this series, drifts off line. Wyn Jones is introduced at loosehead before the scrum.

TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 24-14 Wales (Siya Kolisi try, 53 minutes)

17:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The captain goes over! Patience from the Springboks, bashing repeatedly on the door, forcing the hinges to creak. Handre Pollard, eyeing a second, is nearly turtled out wide, but manages to force the ball back. Wales try to attack the breakdown but are told to move away by the referee, and in the next phase Kolisi crosses, looking up to see Nick Tompkins on his back foot and out of position in the line. A sniff of a hole is all Kolisi needs to lower the shoulder and ground on the white line.

Pollard adds two more from the tee.

South Africa 17-14 Wales, 52 minutes

17:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales haul it to floor illegally. Malcolm Marx looks set to score anyway, but fumbles as he hits the deck.

They’ll go again, Marx in control at the back of it. This time Wales halt its progress legally, forcing South Africa to try something different.

South Africa 17-14 Wales, 50 minutes

17:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A bit of a concern for the Springboks as Damian Willemse stays down in need of treatment. Willie le Roux was on early, and Faf de Klerk is their only other backs replacement on the bench. Kwagga Smith could probably play on the wing...

Willemse will continue on for now, but with his watching brief as his forwards attempt an assault with the maul in the corner.

South Africa 17-14 Wales, 50 minutes

17:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Clever from Will Rowlands, snatching the arm of Jaden Hendrikse just as the scrum-half attempts to pass with South African momentum building.

But Wales fail to clear their lines, and are penalised five metres from their own line. Loose from the Welsh, having scrambled superbly to enable Rowlands to win the ball back.

South Africa 17-14 Wales, 49 minutes

17:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Delightful counter-attacking from Willie Le Roux, rolling back the years as he peels up the right touchline, chipping deftly beyond. Liam Williams hurries across to prevent his fellow full-back from completing a fine solo score.

Charged down! Eben Etzebeth gets his huge forearms in front of Kieran Hardy’s clearance and then drives Dan Biggar over his own line. Biggar somehow smuggles the ball away to a teammate, but back comes Le Roux.

PENALTY! South Africa 17-14 WALES (Dan Biggar penalty, 48 minutes)

17:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

40 out, but bang in front - nothing to particularly trouble Dan Biggar.

South Africa 17-11 Wales, 47 minutes

17:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is sloppy stuff from the Springboks. They first close the gap at the lineout and are free-kicked, before making a mess of their catch of Dan Biggar’s high bomb. To compound the error, a South African defender is offside. A broad grin spreads across the face of Alun Wyn Jones as Biggar lines up a shot at three more points.

South Africa 17-11 Wales, 45 minutes

17:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A scrum penalty to Wales! Another feather in the cap of Sam Wainwright, who forces Trevor Nyakane to infringe...

And from the field. The entirety of the South African front row is going off, in fact, as the so-called “Bomb Squad” are introduced: on come messrs Marx, Kitshoff and Koch for Bongi Mbonambi, Nyakane and Frans Malherbe.

No try! South Africa 17-11 Wales, 44 minutes

17:19 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sharp interplay from South Africa and they strike back immediately!

Or do they? There’s a forward pass in the build-up, surely?...

Yes, there is. Brett Cronan has spotted it, as has Dan Biggar, and both the TMO and the Welsh captain make sure that Matthew Carley is aware of it - one rather more forcefully than the other.

A bit of a shame, because that was a lovely variation from South Africa - Lukhanyo Am had stepped in at scrum-half with Jaden Hendrikse hiding on the right wing. Am drove a lovely flat pass out to his scrum-half, who jinked by a defender and then popped back to his teammate - but Hendrikse’s hands rather pushed the ball forwards to Am, and the try is rightly chalked off.

PENALTY! South Africa 17-11 WALES (Dan Biggar penalty, 42 minutes)

17:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Biggar duly knocks the penalty between the posts.

South Africa 17-8 Wales, 41 minutes

17:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Immediate joy for Wales - Pieter-Steph du Toit holds on and squirms away from a Welsh jackaler on the floor, and Dan Biggar will have a chance to narrow the gap to six.

The second half is underway!

17:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Forty minutes left in the series.

Second half

17:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A pair of half-time changes for Wales: Dewi Lake and Sam Wainwright are on as Wayne Pivac looks to steady the front row, with Ryan Elias and Dillon Lewis not re-emerging.

Can they make an impact? It’ll be require a huge effort from Wales if they are to haul themselves back into this one.

H/T: South Africa 17-8 Wales

17:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Neither side has been helped by the pitch: for it to churn up at scrum time is one thing, but a number of players have also looked unsure of their footing in the open field. It’s not helping things at the ruck, either - the breakdowns have been particularly messy at times. It isn’t a great look.

H/T: South Africa 17-8 Wales

17:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

How that Bongi Mbonambi score will make South Africa feel better about a first half they have largely controlled. For the first time this series, the Springboks found their power game early, firing out of the blocks. Wales did well to re-establish some degree of parity, and Tommy Reffell’s well-taken score keeps them in it, but they have struggled for discipline and to win defensive collisions.

South Africa have reminded everyone of their DNA: strong set-piece and kick-chase, and then power runners around the corner. You can know what is coming and still find it mighty hard to stop.


17:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

South Africa 17-8 Wales, 39 minutes

17:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nearly another for South Africa! Kwagga Smth, who is on as a replacement in the back row, rips the ball away from Welsh hands inside his own half, and Wales are under-resourced in behind as South Africa kick up the right.

Lukhanyo Am looks set to be first to it and fancies a fly-hack on and a pursuit into the in-goal, but two right-ward hops take it over the touchline before Am can extend his right boot to it. Wales survive, and an efficient lineout drill closes the half.

TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 17-8 Wales (Bongi Mbonambi try, 38 minutes)

16:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A try on his 50th cap for Bongi Mbonambi! It was telegraphed, a throw to the centre of the lineout and then a go at the maul, and though Wales initially stand strong, they can’t quell the developing might of the South African drive.

Mbonambi gets his eyes up, waiting for his moment to release from the back, waiting for the last of the Welsh big’uns to be tied in and then picking a half-hole beside Kieran Hardy. He powers over, and Handre Pollard adds the conversion.

South Africa 10-8 Wales, 36 minutes

16:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

South Africa soon have ball back and the Cape Town Stadium crowd lifts the volume as their Springboks attack with intent and energy. Siya Kolisi charges up the right, eschewing any thought of a pass to Lukhanyo Am outside him to instead rumble on further.

Penalty advantage again to South Africa, for an offside Welshman. Matt Carley halts proceedings because Josh Adams and Damian de Allende are having a shoving match - a timely intervention from the referee before that escalated into something more disruptive. Both captains are reminded of the need for their sides to behave themselves.

Handre Pollard prods into the right corner.

South Africa 10-8 Wales, 35 minutes

16:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Penalty to Wales for a high tackle inside their own 22, and might this be more bother for Makazole Mapimpi? It’s a clash of heads with Nick Tompkins, who is already grasped at the ankles by a South African, and thus losing his balance.

Matthew Carley, in consultation with his TMO, decides that a falling Tompkins is mitigation enough to rule only a penalty.

PENALTY! South Africa 10-8 WALES (Dan Biggar penalty, 33 minutes)

16:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And Dan Biggar makes sure that Du Toit is punished with a clean strike between the posts.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 32 minutes

16:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

South Africa give away three! Jaden Hendrikse gets his box kick away in relative comfort, but Pieter-Steph du Toit extends his arms into a leaping Alun Wyn Jones, who is attempting to charge him down. Du Toit looks rather confused by the decision of Matthew Carley, who informs the flanker that he had earlier warned Jasper Wiese about a similarly needless impeding of a Welshman.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 32 minutes

16:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Is that a 50:22? Not quite! Louis Rees-Zammit spreads his arms wide hopefully, imploring Matt Carley to reward a lovely little threaded number off his left peg, but the original lineout from which his kick eventually came was inside the South African half. Springboks’ lineout.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 31 minutes

16:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A smart kick from Dan Biggar, spotting the South African backfield spreading to the extremeties so targeting the centre channel of the pitch. The fly-half backs it up with a strong chase, putting enough pressure on Willie Le Roux to force a shallower clearance than the replacement full-back might have hoped for.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 29 minutes

16:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Both sides really are fighting to stay on their feet on this Cape Town Stadium surface, which appears ill-equipped to handle 30 quite large blokes charging around it. It’s creating problems for sides in all facets.

Wales again use their hands well in attack, creating another overlap to the right, but Louis Rees-Zammit overruns Liam Williams’ speedy transfer on as the full-back takes a thump from Damian Willemse. Williams slaps his hands in frustration.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 28 minutes

16:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Willie Le Roux is caught going nowhere in particular on kick return, and a scrambling South Africa dive on a loose ball beside the ruck. Penalty to Wales, who are beginning to establish a foothold, just inside their own half.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 27 minutes

16:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better defence from Wales! They cede a fair bit of ground to the South African maul but don’t enter illegally, eventually letting it collapse under its own steam and a couple of fallen Springboks. And a turnover! South Africa again explore the fringes but a messy ruck ends with the ball in Welsh hands, allowing the visitors to boot up field.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 26 minutes

16:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

More Welsh infringements, two side entries at the maul each drawing an extended arm of advantage from Carley. Biggar is warned again, this time related to the general discipline of his side.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 24 minutes

16:39 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales knock on early in their movement on the edge of South Africa’s 22.

And this time Trevor Nyakane is rewarded as Dillon Lewis hits the deck. Matthew Carley warns Dan Biggar that his front-rowers need to improve at the set piece, understanding though he is of a troublesome surface that the players are finding difficult.

With Dan Lydiate still off, Will Rowlands is at six for Wales, by the way.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 22 minutes

16:36 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There had been a knock forward from South African hands before that of Hardy, so the Wales scrum-half will feed the scrum. South Africa again get a nudge on, but Trevor Nyakane is deemed to have stepped out twice to create an angle, and is penalised.

South Africa have remodelled their backline with Le Roux on at full-back - Lukhanyo Am has gone on to the right wing, Damian Willemse into 12 and Damian De Allende has stepped out to 13.

South Africa 10-5 Wales, 20 minutes

16:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Bish, bash, bosh! A sore seven seconds for Wales as both Jasper Wiese and Eben Etzebeth deliver entirely legal blows to exposed ribs, Etzebeth bringing Kieran Hardy (who had just knocked on) down to earth with a particularly brutal bump.

It is a South African receiving treatment, though: Cheslin Kolbe has taken a bang to the jaw and will go off. That doesn’t look particularly pleasant. Willie Le Roux is introduced - remember that the Springboks have only two backs on the bench.

TRY! South Africa 10-5 WALES (Tommy Reffell try, 19 minutes)

16:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Outstanding attack from Wales to keep the ball alive and Tommy Reffell has his first try in international rugby!

It’s superb handling from the visitors, working ball left and right with plenty of pull-back passes to stretch the South African defence out of shape. One backdoor offload is somehow grasped by Liam Williams to ensure the chance is not lost.

They sweep the ball away to the left and Nick Tompkins turns a soft corner, fizzing a wide ball to Josh Adams. Damian Willemse somehow chops down the Wales wing, but Reffell arrives in good support on the inside to dive over.

The conversion is missed.

South Africa 10-0 Wales, 17 minutes

16:29 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from Liam Williams in the air, getting his leap right to beat two South Africans to the latest high hoist.

Vintage George North! He may not be quite the athlete he was in his youth but he’s still got a real turn of speed, accelerating up the left and fending away Cheslin Kolbe. Damian Willemse brings him down but Wales are beginning to threaten.

South Africa 10-0 Wales, 16 minutes

16:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

In attempting to stop Pollard, Dan Lydiate and Ryan Elias appeared to clash heads nastily, and there’s a bit of claret coming down the face of the back-rower, who will have to depart to have it attended to.

On comes Alun Wyn Jones in the back five of the pack.

TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 10-0 Wales (Handre Pollard try, 15 minutes)

16:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And his fly-half completes the job! Hendrikse was hasty in tapping just as Matt Carley appeared set to give Wales a final warning about their scrum-time conduct, but his gamble pays off.

The scrum-half provides sharp service as the big bodies create craters up the centre. South Africa play wider, and Handre Pollard takes Hendrikse’s pass and burrows between two Welsh tacklers to dive over. Pollard adds the extra two.

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 13 minutes

16:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales are penalised again and this time Jaden Hendrikse taps and goes quickly! Wales somehow halt the little scrum-half, who passes the baton over to his forwards...

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 12 minutes

16:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Pressure on Wales’ eight again and Gareth Thomas is penalised. Frans Malherbe is a great boulder of a man and he is winning the intial hit, turning Thomas in.

South Africa, unsurprisingly, fancy another heave-ho.

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 11 minutes

16:22 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Six heads hit the deck as the two front rows struggle to keep their feet. The suggestion from all interested parties were that it would be tough to stay up at scrum time on a turf known to churn up.

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 10 minutes

16:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Wales are marched back at a rate of knots on this occasion and South Africa have the advantage. Jasper Wiese bristles away in search of more, but is just about held.

Around the corner pile the forwards, with Wiese again carrying close to the posts. But it all goes awry, Handre Pollard running out of options and prodding meekly into the belly of a Welshman in front of him.

South Africa will scrum again.

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 9 minutes

16:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A huge test for the Welsh front row as South Africa look to attack this scrum. The Springboks are perhaps fortunate that their lunge on set, which appears to unsteady things, results only in a reset rather than a free kick to the Welsh.

The front rows will try again.

No try! South Africa 3-0 Wales, 8 minutes

16:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Just short? De Allende had kept his legs pumping and the timely arrival of Lukhanyo Am propelled him onwards, and while the suspicion is that the nose of the ball might just have brushed a painted blade of grass, there isn’t an angle that shows it.

The on-field call is no try - and it will stay that way. South Africa scrum five out.

Try? Damian de Allende looks to be just short, but this one is going upstairs to the TMO

16:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

South Africa’s maul had advanced to within a couple of metres, and a powerful surge from De Allende got the Springboks closer still. But did he place it over the line?

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 7 minutes

16:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Damian Willemse claims and nearly scores! South Africa are getting such aerial joy, this time their full-back haring up on the chase and cutting beautiful shapes in the Cape Town air, beating a grounded Dan Biggar. Biggar holds on desperately to an ankle as Willemse eyes the line - and concedes the penalty as Willemse tries to release and go again. South Africa kick into the left corner, from where they’ll launch a mighty rumble.

South Africa 3-0 Wales, 6 minutes

16:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is an electric start from South Africa. Again they steal ball in the air and Eben Etzebeth stomps around Nick Tompkins, threatening to burn the centre on the outside. A stray pass ends the movement but Wales look rocked by this fast start.

PENALTY! SOUTH AFRICA 3-0 Wales (Handre Pollard penalty, 5 minutes)

16:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Over it goes. South Africa denied five, but get three.

NO TRY! South Africa 0-0 Wales, 4 minutes

16:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Foot in touch! It was a lovely diagonal poke from Am which looked to have been weighted perfectly, but the last hop is aggressive and drags Mapimpi into touch as he gathers.

Back for the penalty, which was for failing to roll away and is right in front of the posts.

Try? Is Makazole Mapimpi over, or has his boot brushed the touchline?

16:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A clever kick from Lukhanyo Am and he might just have set up his wing...

South Africa 0-0 Wales, 3 minutes

16:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

First attacking ball for either side. Bongi Mbonambi hits Lood de Jager at the tail, and then steps into the chariot as his fellow burly-men look to maul. Wales stall it.

De Jager’s next involvement is a hard charge up the centre, and Wales fail to roll away from the next ruck with pressure building...

South Africa 0-0 Wales, 2 minutes

16:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Handre Pollard produces his first up-and-under, which Liam Williams makes a hash of claiming. Lukhanyo Am collects, and Williams is off his feet as he snatches at the centre’s legs.

South Africa kick down towards the Welsh 22.

South Africa 0-0 Wales, 1 minute

16:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An immediate first touch for Josh Navidi, who tracks the flight of the kick-off and sets off for the first meaningful charge.

Wales then win back ball in the air. Kieran Hardy goes longer with his second box kick.


16:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The third Test is underway!

Match Officials

16:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Kent’s Matthew Carley is our referee this evening, with Brett Cronan of Australia the TMO. South Africa will kick things off as the smoke clears.

South African National Anthem

16:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

In a truly lovely touch, the South African national anthem is sung by Eben Etzebeth’s bride-to-be, the rather talented Anlia Van Rensburg.

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

16:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Cape Town Stadium really does look glorious in the warm evening light. Unsurprisingly, a good number of Welsh fans have taken the chance to get down to one of the world’s loveliest cities, and lend their vocal chords to a rendition of “Land of My Fathers”.

South Africa vs Wales

16:02 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Leading South Africa out are two milestone men: Eben Etzebeth is first out of the tunnel in his home city, winning cap number 100. He’s still only 30, remarkably. A concrete pillar of consistency for a decade in the South African second row.

Following him out is Bongi Mbonambi on his 50th cap.

South Africa vs Wales

16:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

How does that change things for Wales? Taulupe Faletau is so important to them at lineout time and as a gainline force particularly, and while Navidi is a dynamic, powerful threat, he does tend to carry in slightly different areas.

Out come the Welsh side into a lovely Cape Town evening.

South Africa vs Wales - LATE WALES CHANGE

15:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s been a week of up and down weather in Cape Town, but the evening is set fair for this series decider.

And news of the latest of late changes for Wales: Taulupe Faletau is OUT, Josh Navidi is in to the starting side! What a blow for Wayne Pivac, who is forced to call Taine Basham on to the bench.

Jacques Nienaber speaks to Sky Sports

15:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

On Eben Etzebeth’s 100 cap, the South Africa head coach says: “We’ve spoken about it in the week - it is special, one of only seven in the country, and it is our responsibility to make it special.”

Nienaber’s coaching was questioned by Jake White, World Cup winning head coach, and Schalk Burger Sr this week, but he does not appear overly concerned: “Pressure will always build in South Africa. We were quite in control with about 60 minutes on the clock and then our discipline and exits let our down a bit. I told the squad not to focus on the white noise and just listen to the reality.”

A South African response?

15:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The last two weeks have been two of South Africa’s poorer performances of recent memory. The changes last week obviously impacted their cohesion, and with a first-choice side back together, you’d think they’ll find greater fluency today. That pack will be desperate to make a statement, too - at times in this series they have appeared to be establishing dominance over Wales, but they’ve failed to really turn the screw in the way that we know they can.

I’d expect Wales to try and get after Jaden Hendrikse. The young scrum-half performed well last weekend, but can blow hot and cold, and if the Welsh forwards can prevent him settling and exerting any kind of control, they can condense the game and disrupt South Africa.

Wayne Pivac offers his pre-match thoughts to Sky Sports

15:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

On Gareth Anscombe’s late withdrawal: “Disappointed for Gareth. He failed a fitness Test, but Rhys Patchell has been working really hard on this tour and gets an opportunity. Dan Biggar should be fine.

About a Newlands surface that can churn up under the scrum: “We’ve talked to the match officials about being sympathetic of the ground giving way, so we will just see what happens.

And the objectives today? “For us, we came here to win a series and nothing has changed. We have got that opportunity now and we are just after a big 80 minutes. Our discipline has got to be there.”

South Africa vs Wales

15:38 , Harry Latham-Coyle

By the way, Wales were so short of fully fit bodies that Wayne Pivac had to call Jamie Roberts into training this week to make up the numbers - the day before the former Wales centre announced his retirement from rugby.

Just a quick word on Roberts, such a consistent performer for so many years in the Wales midfield, who always had so much more to his game than his obvious carrying proficiency.

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions star Jamie Roberts announces retirement

South Africa vs Wales

15:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ireland and England sealed series victory away from home earlier - can Wales follow their lead? It is a mammoth challenge for Wayne Pivac’s side in Cape Town, and you do wonder just how much that group of forwards will have left in the tank. But they have really managed to disrupt South Africa during this series, and there is little reason they can’t do it again.

Team News - Wales

15:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A long season, a long series and yet Wayne Pivac has trust that his tried and tested have enough left in the tank to get the job done. Again the Wales head coach makes only a single change, Josh Adams starting in the place of the injured Alex Cuthbert in a fifteen identical to the one that began in Pretoria two weeks ago. Both Dan Biggar and Dillon Lewis are passed fit after injury worries.

The rest, then, are as they were, including the back row of Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell and Taulupe Faletau that has combined so well in this series. With Cuthbert out of the 23, Owen Watkin steps up to the bench, which also now includes Rhys Patchell – Gareth Anscombe, match-winner seven days ago, has been forced to withdraw by a rib injury.

Wales XV: Thomas, Elias, Lewis; Rowlands, Beard; Lydiate, Reffell, Faletau; Hardy, Biggar (c); Adams, Tompkins, North, Rees-Zammit; L Williams.

Replacements: Lake, W Jones, Wainwright, AW Jones, Navidi; T Williams, Patchell, Watkin.

Team news - South Africa

15:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Another week, another heap of changes for South Africa with the Springboks restored to full strength for game number three. There has been one series ever-present: Eben Etzebeth starts for a third week in a row, becoming the seventh South African to win 100 caps and still, seemingly, with plenty left in the tank.

The four others retained from the starting team beaten last week are Handre Pollard, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit and, most notably, Jaden Hendrikse, who gets the nod at scrum-half ahead of Faf de Klerk, who has been in mixed recent form.

De Klerk thus lends extra experience to a typically fearsome 6-2 bench. Siya Kolisi is back to captain the side and is joined in the back row by du Toit and Jasper Wiese, while loosehead Nyakane is the only member of the tight five that didn’t start the series opener.

South Africa XV: Nyakane, Mbonambi, Malherbe; Etzebeth, De Jager; Kolisi (c), du Toit, Wiese; Hendrikse, Pollard; Mapimpi, De Allende, Am, Kolbe, Willemse.

Replacements: Marx, Kitshoff, Koch, Mostert, Smith, Louw; De Klerk, Le Roux.

Dan Biggar says Wales will give their all attempting to beat South Africa again

15:18 , Luke Baker

Dan Biggar says that Wales will “give absolutely everything” in pursuit of a Test series triumph against world champions South Africa that appeared inconceivable three weeks ago.

Biggar admits Wales would “probably have been laughed out of town” had such a possibly even been suggested before the series began.

But after losing narrowly to South Africa in the opener and bouncing back to tie things up last weekend, a titanic Test trilogy reaches its climax.

Cape Town’s DHL Stadium and an expected 55,000 capacity crowd will witness Wales’ bid to shred international rugby’s form-book beyond recognition 14 months before the World Cup.

It is just 17 weeks since Wayne Pivac’s team lost at home to regular Six Nations wooden spoonists Italy, while they had won only four of 12 games before departing Heathrow – beating Canada, Fiji, Australia and Scotland.

Dan Biggar says Wales will give their all to beat South Africa again

Dan Biggar and Handre Pollard hold key to South Africa-Wales series decider

15:12 , Luke Baker

Test series glory will be on the line for Wales and South Africa when they meet in Cape Town today.

Wales are fresh from claiming a dramatic 13-12 victory over the world champions last weekend – their first against the Springboks in South Africa – after losing narrowly in Pretoria seven days earlier.

Here, we look at how rival fly-halves and tactical masterminds – Springboks World Cup winner Handre Pollard and Wales captain Dan Biggar – match up.

Dan Biggar and Handre Pollard hold key to South Africa-Wales series decider

Late drama sees Wales claim historic first victory over Springboks on South African soil

15:06 , Luke Baker

Wales made history as they recorded a stunning 13-12 second-Test victory over South Africa in Bloemfontein last weekend. It was Wales’s first win against the Springboks on South African soil, ending 58 years of hurt and arriving at the 12th attempt.

After suffering an agonising three-point defeat in the series opener, Wayne Pivac’s team made no mistake at the second time of asking and set up a Cape Town decider.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber’s decision to make 14 changes backfired – he rested World Cup winners like Siya Kolisi, Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe – as Wales triumphed through Josh Adams’s 78th-minute try that Gareth Anscombe converted from the touchline.

Anscombe and Wales captain Dan Biggar kicked earlier penalties, while Handre Pollard booted four penalties for the Springboks. Alun Wyn Jones was yellow-carded for the second successive game – although it appeared a harsh call for hands in the ruck – and it looked like it could be a frustrating defeat for Wales, yet they finished in style as Anscombe held his nerve.

Late drama sees Wales claim historic first victory over Springboks in South Africa

Siya Kolisi hopes South Africa’s series decider against Wales will build character

15:00 , Luke Baker

South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi believes that cup final experiences build character as the Springboks prepare for their Test series decider against Wales.

Cape Town’s DHL Stadium hosts a winner-takes-all third game after South Africa triumphed in Pretoria and Wales levelled things up with an historic success in Bloemfontein last weekend. The 13-12 victory was Wales’ first over the world champion Springboks in South Africa, setting up an intriguing finale.

“We have been in these situations before, and it builds character,” Kolisi said. “The coaches want us to be in situations such as these, so this is nothing new for us. But I am sure Wales have been in these situations, too.

“Wales are a tough team – they don’t stop playing for 80 minutes – but we are looking forward to this weekend. We looked at last week’s game and where they were strong, and we have been working on that and on improving our game.”

Siya Kolisi hopes South Africa’s series decider against Wales will build character

South Africa vs Wales - talking points

14:54 , Luke Baker

Man in the middle is central

Eddie Jones often divides opinion in the rugby world, but few will disagree with his plans to convene a group of leading coaches, players and referees with an aim of removing repeated pauses in play caused by overuse of the television match official, draconian policing of high tackles and laborious set-piece officiating.

Wales were on the receiving end of four yellow cards from first Test Georgian official Nika Amashukeli, then Australia’s Angus Gardner sin-binned Alun Wyn Jones last weekend in what was a baffling decision by the officiating team.

England’s Matthew Carley, outstanding when Wales and France fought out a titanic Six Nations encounter earlier this year, takes charge of the series decider, and he will be firmly under the spotlight.

South Africa vs Wales - talking points

14:48 , Luke Baker

Warrior Dan Lydiate an inspired presence

Wales flanker Lydiate suffered a knee injury so serious last year that it sidelined him from rugby for more than 12 months. At 34, some might even have doubted whether he would play at Test level again, but Lydiate does not do normality. He made 18 tackles and missed none in Wales’ Bloemfontein victory over South Africa.

He looks as influential a player now as 10 years ago, when he was named Six Nations player of the tournament following Wales’ Grand Slam triumph, which says everything about his quality and durability.

Lydiate is not so much pencilled in for next year’s World Cup, but his name written in capital letters and underlined. How South Africa will be glad to see the back of him.

South Africa vs Wales - talking points

14:42 , Luke Baker

George North reaches another milestone

Almost 12 years after making his Wales debut as a teenager against South Africa, North becomes his country’s most-capped international back in the men’s game.

The Cape Town clash sees him reach 105 Wales appearances, overtaking former Wales fly-half and current national squad attack coach Stephen Jones.

Last year, North became the youngest player in world rugby to clock up a century of caps, beating Australia skipper Michael Hooper’s record, and no-one apart from Shane Williams has scored more Wales tries than North. An extraordinary career continues to flourish.

South Africa vs Wales - talking points

14:36 , Luke Baker

Wales tour already a triumph

Whatever happens in Cape Town, Wales’ punishing South Africa tour is an unqualified success. A three-point defeat and stunning 13-12 victory in the opening two Tests at altitude represent a huge collective achievement, given that Wales had won just three of 11 games against all opponents before they left Heathrow last month.

Many individuals have shone, including previously uncapped Leicester flanker Tommy Reffell, and all superbly harnessed by captain Dan Biggar.

Wales also travelled minus four injured British and Irish Lions – Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty – so 14 months out from the World Cup, the picture is promising.

South Africa vs Wales - talking points

14:30 , Luke Baker

The pressure is on South Africa

Make no mistake, the Springboks would not have seen Wales coming. After winning 10 successive home Tests against them and seeing the Azzurri humiliate Wayne Pivac’s team in Cardiff, the series had a 3-0 South Africa triumph written all over it.

Wales, though, have made a mockery of pre-tour predictions, bouncing back in Bloemfontein after losing a first-Test thriller 32-29.

South Africa have dropped two places in the world rankings and their next game after this weekend is a Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand on August 6, so the heat is on, having been generated by a most unlikely source.

Is South Africa vs Wales on TV? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch international

14:21 , Luke Baker

Wales and South Africa go head to head in Cape Town to decide their summer series after an enthralling first two games that both came right down to the wire and ended with a victory apiece.

Following a dismal Six Nations, which included being on the wrong end of Italy’s first win in the competition for seven years, expectations were low for Wales as they faced the reigning world champions but Wayne Pivac’s men came agonisingly close to snatching glory in the series opener before finally getting their first-ever victory over the Springboks on South African soil a week ago.

The fact that just one of the last 11 clashes between the sides have been decided by a double-digit margin of victory suggests another thriller is on deck at DHL Stadium.

Regardless of the result in Cape Town, the tour will be seen as an unqualified success from a Welsh perspective and Dan Biggar has captained them superbly despite missing a number of key players through injury. If he can skipper them to a truly remarkable series win, then his legacy will be even further secured.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the third and final Test:

Is South Africa vs Wales on TV today?

England withstand late pressure to seal series victory over Australia in Sydney

13:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England dug deep to complete a series victory over Australia with a 21-17 victory in the third Test at Sydney Cricket Ground that saw towering rookies Freddie Steward and Tommy Freeman play starring roles.

Eddie Jones’ tourists built a 21-10 lead through tries from Steward and Marcus Smith and the kicking of Owen Farrell, but it began to crumble when Folau Fainga’a crossed in the 66th minute.

But instead of folding as they did in the first Test, on this occasion England showed the resolve to keep the Wallabies out despite sustained late pressure, with Luke Cowan-Dickie and Courtney Lawes combining to secure a critical late turnover.

England withstand late pressure to seal series victory over Australia in Sydney

England beat Australia 21-17 in Sydney to win the series 2-1

13:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

And their head coach Eddie Jones is next to speak into the Sky Sports microphone.

“The big difference between the first and third Tests is that we kept fighting, we kept in the game. The defence of our finishers at th end was outstanding and that got us the result. We stuck at it, it was a difficult came for us. The conditions weren’t ideal for rugby and we probably didn’t adapt as well as we could. But we kept fighting, great effort by the leaders: Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell particularly.

“I think it is a really positive step. We have always felt the team is going in the right direction, but sometimes the results don’t reflect that. This is a young, inexperienced squad but to have an experience like that is fantastic.

“I think we are in a good position. We have just got to slowly, slowly keep improving. It is like training a race horse - we have got to be at our best for the World Cup final.”

And some more thoughts from Courtney Lawes, who enjoyed an outstanding series

13:17 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“That was tough. I’m spent, properly spent, and I think it really showed what it means to us to play for this team. We had a pretty tough start, both to the series and this match, but we showed what we are made of.

“We didn’t come out how we wanted to. The message at half-time was to stick together. We did what we said we wanted to do, which was improve every week. You learn a lot from games like this, even when you win.

“We have still got a lot to learn, don’t get me wrong. But when you can win a game like this when you haven’t really fired a shot, you show your mettle. It is great to come away with the win.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Courtney Lawes lifts the Ella-Mobbs Cup

13:13 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The England captain is asked for some reflections on the series, and says: “I want to say massive thank you. We have been so welcomed - credit to the Austrlaian team ,what a challenge it was. We appreciate our fans and the Australian fans for making such a great atmosphere.”

Over Lawes strides to his teammates, already in celebratory formation behind the commemorative banner. Clutching the Ella-Mobbs trophy in one hand, Lawes lifts it high above his head as the streamers fly. It was gritty and at times grim, but if that is to be the final traditional summer tour, England go out on a winning note.

F/T: Australia 17-21 England

13:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The SCG has emptied quickly as the disappointed Australian fans exit into the Sydney night, but there are still a few watching on for the first presentation of the Ella-Mobbs Cup.

The Player of the Series is a perhaps confused-looking Marika Koroibete, who has swapped shirts with Jack Nowell.

Freddie Steward gives his immediate reaction after another fine performance

13:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Unbelievable,” the England full-back says to Sky Sports. “The boys dug in and fought and gave everything. That was a proper Test match - it’s special.

“It’s been an incredible experience. We’ve had some great times, we’ve got a great set of lads here and to come away with a series win is fantastic. To come here and put in a performance like that is pretty awesome.

“It’s a great way to end the season. I am looking forward to a great night with the lads.”

F/T! Australia 17-21 England

13:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Tense, tight, and not at all tidy, but eventually England emerge on top in Sydney. From 1-0 down they’ve fought back to claim another series victory in Australia, securing the inaugural Ella-Mobbs Cup. It is a series win that will do plenty for the youngsters in the squad, and some of the old guard, too.


13:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Australia 17-21 England, 80 minutes

12:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Up Australia get to tap the ball back. But is it coming out of that ruck? The hooter sounds as a tangle of bodies come down together, and though the scrum would have been the Wallabies’, the referee’s whistle will mark the end of the series. England have hung on - they take the series 2-1.

Australia 17-21 England, 79 minutes

12:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

There’s the new man Suliasi Vunivalu, but Owen Farrell has him handled. Samu Kerevi is everywhere, first up the left, then the right.

But that’s outstanding from England’s captains old and new - Owen Farrell and Courtney Lawes attack a breakdown, Lawes hooking the ball back on England’s side. Jack van Poortvliet nearly breaks up the left with Henry Arundell for support, but is tap tackled before he can release a pass.

Here come Jack Willis - held up over the line. Australia will have a goalline dropout with time ticking towards the red...

Australia 17-21 England, 78 minutes

12:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

England are in full-on game management mode. A slow developing maul wastes time. Jack van Poortvliet skews his first box kick more up than onwards, and Henry Arundell might have been offside chasing it, but is not spotted, and eventually gets underneath it. Van Poortvliet utilises his right boot again, this time more effectively - out of play inside the Australia 22, from where the Wallabies will launch their last offensive.

Australia 17-21 England, 77 minutes

12:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Three minutes to play. Australia go to their last throw of the dice - on debut, Suliasi Vunivalu, who can be dynamite in the open field if his teammates can give the wing a sniff.

Australia 17-21 England, 76 minutes

12:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Penalty to England! Marika Koroibete roams as he has all evening, thinking he spies space by a ruck, but running into only a brick wall of Courtney Lawes and Luke Cowan-Dickie.

There’s not a gold shirt in sight as Koroibete is turtled, and Cowan-Dickie punches the air in delight as the whistle blows and is rewarded for another timely England jackal.

Australia 17-21 England, 75 minutes

12:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Into the final five minutes as Australia explore the width of the SCG pitch. The two replacement flankers, Pete Samu and Rob Leota, lurk on the extremes, each marching on after good handling from the backs. Leota combines with Folau Fainga’a well.

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