England impress against South Africa
England couldn’t build on a positive first half and South Africa won the first of the three-match series.
Tom Johnson and Joe Marler both had very good debuts for England, and England played like one of the best teams in the world at times in the first half.
Their last-ditch defending was amazing and they managed to turn over the ball just inches from their own try line on a number of occasions.
Obviously, this England team are nowhere near the quality of World Cup winners New Zealand (and my cousins from Auckland will appreciate me reminding everyone of that) but I think if this current crop of players continue to progress and gel together, then maybe, just maybe we can impress at the next world cup.
South Africa weren’t playing their best rugby although, predictably, they utilised their long kicks with Habana’s lightning pace really well, although England were more than a match the majority of the time.
Foden did score a try for England, proving to the whole team that the Springbok’s defence can be broken, but it was too late in the day to make any difference to the final result.
Overall I think England can take some confidence from the game. The result wasn’t what they had hoped for, but the performance was very good.
England play in Johannesburg on Wednesday next, where South Africa just don’t lose, so it’ll be interesting to see whether we can cause an upset and level the series.
Two of the other home nations didn’t fare well either.
Ireland were absolutely trounced by the All Blacks 42-10, whilst Wales were convincingly beaten by Australia 27-19.
I think it goes to show just how much the southern hemisphere is dominating this sport, pulling away from the northern teams and proving how rugby should be played.