England end decade-long winless streak against South Africa with 37-21 victory
In other internationals, Australia edge Scotland 23-22 while a rampant All Blacks side crush a new-look Italy 68-10
England ended a decade-long winless streak against South Africa in style by scoring four tries in a 37-21 victory at Twickenham on Saturday, maintaining the team’s 100 per cent record under coach Eddie Jones.
It was a sixth loss in 10 games this year for the beleaguered Springboks, who led 9-7 after 30 minutes but were overwhelmed by a 23-point blitz by England in a 15-minute period either side of half-time.
Recalled pair Jonny May and Courtney Lawes grabbed tries for the home side in the first half before George Ford and Owen Farrell added more after the interval, as England extended their winning run to 11 games – 10 of which have come since Jones took charge after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The English had not beaten South Africa in their previous 12 meetings, stretching back to 2006, and this result highlighted the direction the two teams are heading.
Replacement Johan Goosen and fullback Willie le Roux scored second-half tries for the Boks.
“There’s plenty to work on, so that keeps us grounded,” said England captain Dylan Hartley. “We conceded six penalties in the opening 20 minutes and that isn’t good enough. But we’re very happy to get that monkey off our back and I’m very proud of our guys.”
South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss said: “It was a very tough game, they were tactically very good and we couldn’t deal with the high ball. We just couldn’t put any pressure on the England team and we felt it the whole game. We’ll have a hard look at ourselves on Monday and we’ll fight back.”
For the second time in 13 months, a late kick by Australia fly half Bernard Foley denied Scotland a famous victory against the Wallabies at Murrayfield.
The Scots were leading 22-16 in their opening November international when centre Tevita Kuridrani broke through an attempted tackle from fullback Stuart Hogg to peg their deficit to 22-21, providing Foley with an opportunity to snatch victory with a close-range conversion.
The Waratahs outside half duly slotted the ball between the posts for a 23-22 win – against a backdrop of unsporting boos – as he had done to controversially win the 2015 World Cup quarter-final between the countries at Twickenham, 35-34.
In doing so, Australia kept their grand slam tour hopes alive and Scotland were cruelly denied a famous victory that beckoned after two tries from Edinburgh-born centre Huw Jones, who made a storming first start for Scotland in his home city, and lock Jonny Gray.
“Too close for comfort!” said Australia skipper Stephen Moore.
“We just got there in the end. I’m very proud of the guys digging in there. Lot of respect for the Scots, it’s always tight.”
Scotland’s Jones added: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking, we’re gutted to lose like that.
“Our discipline just wasn’t good enough.”
In Rome, a rampant New Zealand handed new Italy coach Connor O’Shea the worst possible debut when they crushed the Azzurri 68-10.
The All Blacks, missing a raft of senior players rested after the defeat by Ireland last week, scored 10 tries through Malakai Fekitoa (2), Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, Israel Dagg, Wyatt Crockett, Steven Luatua, Elliot Dixon, Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo, with Aaron Cruden hitting seven conversions and Lima Sopoaga two.
Italy’s Carlo Canna hit an early penalty before Tommaso Boni claimed a second-half consolation try converted by Tommaso Allan.
In Tbilisi, 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts Japan kicked off their European tour with a confident 28-22 win over Georgia.
Associated Press, Agence France-Presse