November Tests

England 12 – 11 South Africa 

3rd November 2018

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jerome Garces (France), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Test Match rugby is about taking your chances.

On Saturday England took their chances, and South Africa did not. Period.

The scoreboard reflects that England won the game by 12 to 11, and that is that the record books will show in perpetuity.

That record book will not make mention of a horrendous refereeing blunder in the final seconds of the game. It will also not record other refereeing errors, nor the errors made by the 30 players on the field at any one time during the game. That record book will not tell of the number of points left out of the field of play as a result of dubious or simply outright incorrect decisions. The records will not talk about the chances taken and those eschewed.

It will simply reflect the score, and record that England won the game.

From a South African perspective, the team and the coaching staff will be wondering quite how they lost a Test that they dominated with such comprehensive totality in a first half that sent shudders through the ranks of England supporters. They will be wondering how on earth they managed to let this one slip?

I can tell you why………

Test Match rugby is about taking your chances.

And South Africa did not!

In the 13th minute England were penalised 5 meters inside their half, with the kick for posts within the range of Pollards boot. The decision was taken to kick for the corner and form a lineout.

Poor decision. 3 points went a-begging. At the very worst, an attempt at goaling the penalty would have resulted in a 22m drop-out by England and territorial pressure by the Springboks.

In the 16th minute of this Test, Maro Itoje was shown a yellow card for his continual transgressions on and off the ball. The ensuing penalty was on the 15 meter mark, deep inside the English 22m area. Easy points for a kicker as reliable as Handré Pollard. A six point lead, and scoreboard pressure when England were a man down.

Yet the Springboks again chose to kick for the corner and a lineout.

In the 17th minute, at the lineout that followed the kick moments earlier, England again transgressed. Another penalty, again on the 15m mark, inside the England 22m area. And again the kick for points was eschewed in favour of a lineout.

Two wrong decisions in a Test match, within a minute of each other.

Even the choice of a lineout was wrong, when England were a man down in the scrum and the South African tight five had a stranglehold on the England scrum. Surely you choose a scrum, if you are not taking the points that are on offer?

These were not the only examples of chances not taken.

In the 28th minute England were penalised in the scrum, again well within range of Pollard’s boot. Yet again the easy points were declined and the ball was kicked into the corner for a lineout.

In the first half an hour, South Africa had four opportunities to kick for goal, and declined all four. Accepting that the penalties in the 16th and 17th minute were consecutive and only one could have been goaled, the Springboks had still left 9 points on the field, at a time when they completely dominated the game. A lead of 12 points to 3 in a Test match would produce all kinds of extra psychological pressures on the home side, and given the visitors the boost they needed to confirm their dominance.

It was not to be.

If you do not take your chances, you cannot blame the referee when he makes a poor call and you are just 1 point adrift on the scoreboard. You should have been at the very least 8 points ahead at that moment!

However, it was not just the poor decisions at penalty opportunities that cost the Springboks a Test that they could, perhaps should have won.

There were a plethora of poor decisions and inaccurate moments, all of which pointed to a team that is still rather immature in its development at the Test match level.

In the final minutes of the first half, Damian Willemse twice attempted to kick the ball through on the left touchline. The first attempt was partially blocked, the bouncing ball was recovered by a retreating Aphiwe Dyantyi, and cycled back to Willemse, who promptly kicked the ball again, deep into the England 22 when there were no chasers available for the Springboks as they had all been forced to scramble back when his first kick was charged down.

Quite why he chose to kick the ball the first time is questionable, the Springboks were benefiting from retaining the ball in hand at the time. The second kick simply illustrated his lack of experience and the nous that comes with age. That recycled ball was an ideal open play attacking ball as the England defence had lost all structure when the initial kick was charged down.

Questions must also be asked about the maturity of the side when they had territorial dominance in the final 10 minutes of the game and had plenty of time and space to slow things down, suck in the England defenders, and set up for either Pollard or Elton Jantjies to have a go at the drop goal that would win the game. Time and again the decision was taken to keep bashing the ball up, rather than to play a low risk option, with discipline and focus on winning the game. It was a repeat of the All Blacks frantically trying to win with a try against this same Springbok outfit, when all it needed was a drop goal………

Of course, these were not the only silly decisions taken by the Springboks.

Malcolm Marx had what would probably be his worst performance in a Springbok jersey. Not that his all-round game was poor, but it was not quite as dominating as we are used to seeing him. However, it is not his all-round play that is being hammered by the keyboard warriors and the media today. It was the three overthrown lineouts to the tail that has attracted the opprobrium of all. (One of the keyboarders is even calling for him to be dropped!)

Yes, Marx must carry a share of the blame for his over-cooked long balls. However, the real fault lies with whomsoever was responsible for those lineout calls to the back! The Springbok lineout to 2 and the ball to the middle was functioning like clockwork. Eben Etzebeth was imperious at the front, so much so that the English had taken him out in the air twice as they attempted to negate his front-of-the-lineout dominance. Pieter-Steph du Toit was in fine form in the middle too. Why, Oh Why, choose to throw the ball deep when the money-ball is in the front or middle?

Of course, the Springboks had to try the deep throw, once. Maybe even twice at a push, but three times? When it was evident that there was a problem? Not that this is a new problem either – deep throws to the tail of the lineout have been a weakness throughout 2018. Why do it again, and again, and again? There is an element of suicidal lunacy to it!

There were plenty of examples of silly decision making throughout the game, and it serves no purpose to pick out each and every one. They were there for all to see, and I am sure that the Springbok players and their coaches will have seen them too. The issue has to be the lack of a ruthless edge when you have a team by the throat. The glamour moment, the kick for the corner rather than taking the three points on offer, the inside step rather than the quick pass out wide, the goosestep and the dummy all have their place in a Test match, but only once you have the game in the bag.

When you have 75% of the territory and 67% of possession in the first half of the game, and you have not hammered home that advantage on the scoreboard, it is an illustration of a lack of ruthlessness and clarity of purpose. With that kind of dominance, the Springboks should have had England dead and buried by half-time. South Africa lacked the patience, the decision-making, and the clinical precision to make England pay.

There is a job to do, and once you have done it, then, and only then, can you start to play open, high risk rugby for the sheer enjoyment of it all.

This was an immature performance by a team that has not yet learned to turn dominance into scoreboard pressure.

Looking at other aspects of the Test:

The Officiating

Angus Gardner is said to be one of the top five referees in World Rugby.

Sadly, based on his performance in this Test it is a ranking that is under threat!

Whilst the world focusses on his controversial, and palpably incorrect, call right at the end of the game, there were far too many other errors and incorrect moments in his game that are not being discussed today.

I make a habit of watching every rugby match at least twice before I even begin to write a review of the game. During the regular season, I will make notes as I watch a game for the first time, so that I can go back and look at those specific moment and incidents again later. Sometimes this saves time, especially in the Super Rugby season when there are as many as seven games to watch and then watch again.

This Test was no different.

I made notes, and then, when I went back to watch the game again, I replayed the moments or incidents over and over to make sure that I was correct in what I thought I had seen.

Here are just some of my notes from the 1st half of this Test match.

11th Minute. Maro Itoje stands on wrong side of breakdown, leg extended to block the ball. Gardiner right there. No penalty. (Itoje eventually cleared out by Vermeulen, but Gardiner ignored the offside.)

24th Minute. Entire England backline offside. Halfway between 22m and 10m lines, right side England half of field. Penalty required. Missed by referee.

32nd Minute. Offside by England loose-forwards, Brad Shield at least 1m off side. Between halfway and 22m. Midfield

39th Minute. Tackle on Daly, brought to ground. Held by ankles. England half of field, left side. Shakes loose and gets up without releasing ball. No penalty.

39th Minute. Same play. Daly tackled again, goes to ground. Springboks ruck over. Daly plays ball back while lying on ground, after Springboks over him. No Penalty.

40th minute. No. 7 (Tom Curry) goes off feet at the ruck. Lifts hands to indicate that he is not going for ball, but propels himself forward to try and block ball with body. Makes second attempt by rolling over ruck on his back. In front of Gardiner. No penalty.

By my count, and I went back and looked at each incident again, those were 6 penalisable offences that Angus Gardiner completely ignored. Every single one of the offences was right in front of Gardiner, within his normal field of vision. Either he chose to ignore them, or he is incompetent!

And every single one of the six was within range of the England posts!

The second half produced many similar moments when indiscretions and mistakes simply slipped past the referee and his assistants. The officiating mistakes were more evenly balanced, without favouring one side or the other in the second 40 minutes, probably because England had found their way back into the game somewhat and had more of the ball in hand than in the first half.

Until those final couple of minutes of the game ticked around.

When Owen Farrell hit Andre Esterhuizen, he knew, and the watching world knew, that he had committed a serious professional foul. His face told the world that he knew!

Gardiner made a call that has everyone, even some of the English press, bemused, when he ruled that Farrell has made enough of an attempt to wrap his arms in the tackle.

It was wrong. Very seriously wrong.

At the very least the offence was penalisable, and probably worthy of a yellow card. Given the current World Rugby focus on eradicating high and dangerous hits, this tackle may well have earned a red card in another game from a different referee.

And that penalty would have been well within the range of Handré Pollard’s boot.

Yet this was only the worst of many crucial mistakes that Gardiner made in those final minutes.

In the 78th and 79th minute Chris Ashton was offside twice, wide on the England right as he rushed to defend, deep within the England red zone. George Ford was offside once, in the same area of the field, during the same plays.

In the 80th and 81st minute, I counted no less than three more offside moments when England were frantically attempting to shut down the Springboks. All were missed/ignored by Angus Gardiner.

Moments before Farrell made the hit, the entire England backline was so far offside that it was almost unbelievable that Gardiner had missed the transgression. Another penalty, and closer to the middle of the field. Straighter, and even easier for Pollard.

Sadly, the poor decisions by a referee, especially his so obviously rushed and incorrect call right at the end of the game, will be the abiding memory of this Test match!

Springbok and England Defence

I was interested to read a comment about the Springbok defence being “all over the place” – which is true, up to a point. The bottom line to any defensive system is the scoreboard, and on the scoreboard England were kept tryless in this game. They had to win the game through penalty kicks.

There were certainly times when the Springboks were forced to scramble on defence, yet they managed to drag down every England break, every England runner, and every England chance. This is evidence of a defensive system that is working.

The defensive system, which is still new and evolving, might cause some to panic, especially when wings rush in off their channel. Springbok fans have become used to seeing spaces being left wide open on the wings when these things happen. But the 2018 system is just a little different. There is some science to it!

The system that is evolving within Springbok ranks allows for the wide defenders to make decisions about rushing in when a moment presents itself, relying on their cover defence to fold in behind them to prevent exploitation of the space that the rush might create. It is a variation that puts enormous pressure on wide receivers as they get man and ball at the same time, while ensuring that there is sufficient manpower coming across to stop the gap if the rush misses.

The pleasing thing, for the purist, is watching the way the midfielders have learned to shift out quickly to cover the wider defender’s space when he rushes in.

This “shifting” by the midfield is reinforced by a scrumhalf and flyhalf who are tasked to run the extra cover line, while the full back comes up and the far wing pendulums into the fullback roll.

It might look a mess, but it is actually very well engineered, and it is working a treat.

England’s defence was entirely predictable. John Mitchell has favoured the “hook” defensive strategy for a very long time. He certainly introduced it and enforced it at the Bulls in his time there. It is a simple system that works.

It worked very well against the Springboks throughout the first half when the visitors focussed on playing direct rugby up the middle of the field. The “hook” quickly and effectively prevented the Springboks from unleashing their flyers out wide when they had front-foot ball after a couple of phases of carrying by the heavies. A bit of pace and enterprise by the scrumhalf playing round the fringes might have tested the England defence in such moments, but Ivan van Zyl is no Faf de Klerk.

Handré Pollard did cause the England defenders to hang back a couple of times, with a couple of probing kicks that turned the defences, but he did not do it nearly often enough. One such probing kick very nearly ended in a spectacular try for Sbu Nkosi!

The Missing Stars

There can be no doubt that the Springboks missed Faf de Klerk in the scrumhalf jersey. Ivan van Zyl is no substitute for the flair, the enterprise, and the pace at which De Klerk plays rugby. Van Zyl is a youngster who has the potential to develop into a very good scrumhalf, but he is still learning his trade. Whilst his passes were crisp and accurate, he was often far too slow at the base of the ruck and at the breakdown, and telegraphed his box-kicks with monotonous regularity. He did not show any game management skills whatsoever. When Embrose Papier came onto the field the pace to the ball and off the ball quickened considerably, but it was all a little too late to make a difference.

Willie le Roux will be available for the next three tests, and is likely to wear the 15 jersey again, but South Africa can be pleased with the talented understudy that they have unearthed. Damián Willemse might be a future Springbok flyhalf, but the Springboks would do well to continue to nurture and develop him by using him at fullback until such time as he has matured and developed his game sufficiently to be trusted as the starting 10. (Think Beauden Barrett, think Daniel Carter, think Damian McKenzie – flyhalves all, that started their international careers by being used as replacement fullbacks off the bench for the All Blacks before they were eventually allowed to start in the 10 jersey!)

Willemse made his share of mistakes. Those two needless, pointless, kicks in the dying seconds of the first half, the kick that drifted into touch on the full in the second when ball-in-hand was the only real option are examples, but for the most part he did exactly what was required of him.  He was calm and composed under the high ball. He was safe too! His running with the ball in hand needs some polish, especially his linking with support runners, but there were moments if sheer brilliance too, those steps and jinks that left England scrambling were special.

There can be no doubt that the Springboks missed the experience and energy of De Klerk and Le Roux. The youngsters might be the future, but they are not there yet.

The loose forward mix seemed a little unbalanced. With Siya Kolisi seeming to be off the boil in this game, the services of Francois Louw were sorely missed, even if only as an additional presence close to the ball. Kolisi prefers a game where the ball is moving around and the pace has picked up, and he was just a little anonymous this week. Duane Vermeulen did what he was supposed to do as the blindsider, but his enormous presence at 8 is essential for the Springboks in a game such as this. Warren Whiteley did nothing wrong, but he might have to be the fall-guy to get the balance right!

Summary

In summary: Although many will blame the referee, and he did have a terrible day, South Africa lost this game due to their own poor decisions, infuriating mistakes and inaccuracies. England will bank the win, but they will do well not to take too much from their victory. They face the All Blacks shortly, and there can be no doubt that the All Blacks will not allow the opportunities to slip away in the same manner as the Springboks.

 

Individual Player Rating

 

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse 5/10

A fair starting debut at fullback. Solid positional play, safe under the high ball, safe in the tackle. A couple of clever cross-kicks caught England off-guard. One superb kick in behind the England defence. Some silly decisions late in first half when he kicked balls that should have been kept in hand. Overcooked one crucial kick.  A great swerving stepping run left three defenders wondering where he had gone.

14. S’bu Nkosi 6/10
Great aerial skills, great pressure to chase the kick. Solid on defence, made seven tackles, but missed three. A massive hit on Jonny May that had the crowd gasping. Went looking for work, Safe under the high ball. Well taken try.

13. Jesse Kriel 5/10

Did not get as many opportunities with the ball in hand as he was effectively shut down by the England defenders. Good in the defensive role.  A couple of good runs, one on the wing after he had shifted out.

12 Damian de Allende 8/10

If there are still those that doubt that he is the best 12 in South Africa, they were not watching this game. He was enormous in the midfield and on the gainline. 74 meters in 15 carries, beating 5 defenders. Made 8 tackles, missing just 1, two of the tackles rated as dominant. Got the better of Ben Te’o in the collisions.  Made the break that set up the Springboks’ try. Was singled out for some special off-the-ball attention by Brad Shields who attempted to rattle him with bumps and barges, jersey tugs and pushes.

11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 6/10

Great work rate, evidenced in his supporting role in Nkosi’s try. Looked good when carrying the ball, even though he did not get much opportunity. Brave under the high ball, and his defence has improved beyond recognition. Made 58m from seven runs, made four tackles, missing one.

10. Handré Pollard 7/10

Is becoming a very cool and composed flyhalf! Attacked the advantage line with 10 runs for 71 meters. Will be disappointed to have missed the crucial penalty, as well as the conversion of the try. Dictated and controlled the game well.

9. Ivan van Zyl 5/10

Solid, is perhaps the best word to describe his game. Too slow at, and off, the breakdowns, too slow at the base of the rucks, telegraphing his intentions. Some good, some not-so-good box kicks. No presence with the ball in hand, no enterprise, no “x” factor. Ordinary.

8. Warren Whiteley 6/10
Strong defensive game, making 12 tackles, as he always is. Was involved in the attacks out wide a couple of times, with quick hands for S’bu Nkosi’s try. The problem is that he provides no physicality and thrust on attack.

7. Duane Vermeulen 6/10

Massive with the ball in hand, a constant bother at the breakdown, and huge on defence. One massive hit on Maro Itoje. Yet, he looked like an 8 playing blindside….. Good under the high ball, as always, and made all his tackles, but just seemed to be half a pace away from where he should be…

6. Siya Kolisi 4/10
Seemed to be rusty and off the pace from the get go. Maybe a little short on fitness? Maybe fatigue? Subbed in the 65th minute, which was a good call. The decision to eschew points in favour of lineout drives at penalties cost his team the win. Missed two tackles. Not a good day at the office.

5. Pieter-Steph du Toit: 7/10

Busy work-rate, plenty of carries, plenty of tackles, good in lineouts, including a good steal. Massive presence in the collisions. Was at full stretch trying to catch one overthrown ball by Marx, still missed it. Remains an impressive and invaluable member of the team. 14 ball-carries, while making 13 of his 14 tackles.

4. Eben Etzebeth 7/10
Etzebeth’s departure seemed to draw the physicality and power from the Springbok effort. It seemed to be the turning point as the forward unit played with less cohesion and aggression without him. Formidable presence in the lineout, England focussed on trying to stop him and twice took him out in the air. Very good in the carry, and didn’t miss a single tackle.

3. Frans Malherbe 6/10

Some might say he was invisible, yet he was massive in the scrums, and gave Alec Hepburn a torrid debut. Made 7 tackles too, and was effective on the clean-out.

2. Malcolm Marx 4/10
This is the lowest score I have ever given Malcolm Marx! His worst game in the green and gold. Knocked on the first minute, threw 4 losing lineouts, simply over-cooking the throw time and again. Made just one turnover, carried the ball eight times and made two tackles, while missing one. Much like his captain, he seemed rusty and just a little unfit.

1. Steven Kitshoff: 7/10

Gave Kyle Sinckler a horrid time in the scrums. Solid in the carry, good on defence, made all four his tackles, great support play in the loose.

Replacements

  1. Bongi Mbonambi, (on for Marx, 74thminute)

Should perhaps have been given more than just 6 minutes? Not really enough time to be rated.

  1. Thomas du Toit 4/10(On for Kitshoff, 65thminute) 

Struggled to adjust to the loosehead position after such a long time trying to be a tighthead. Penalised for a collapsed scrum in the 71st minute which gave England 3 points. Earned a scum penalty too. He carried the ball on three occasions and made one tackle.

  1. Wilco Louw 5/10(on for Malherbe, 65thminute)

Did what he was supposed to do and held his side of the scrum well. He made all three of his tackles and carried the ball three times. Not much else to report.

  1. RG Snyman 5/10(on for Etzebeth, 41st minute)

Just seems a little lightweight in the really tough stuff. Replacing Etzebeth is no task for the fainthearted, and he made very little impact on and off the ball. He made four carries and made five tackles, missing two.

  1. Lood de Jager 5/10  (on for Kolisi, 65thminute)

Well short of game time, and probably needed some warm-up games before this. 15 minutes, as he won a lineout and made a tackle, but lost possession in the last minute when the Boks were on the attack.

  1. Embrose Papier, (on for van Zyl, 75thminute)

Not enough time to be rated

  1. Elton Jantjies, (on for Willemse, 76thminute)

Not enough time to be rated

  1. André Esterhuizen 5/10 (on for Nkosi, 59th minute)

One massive tackle on Brad Shields, but he did miss two others. A couple of powerful carries, but seemed a little rattled by the pressure of the final 15 minutes.

England

  1. Elliot Daly 5/10

He looked uneasy in the fullback jersey, especially in the first half when he struggled with the pressure of the Springbok chasers. Better in the second half when he was given a bit of space. Fair with the boot when exiting the 22.  No threat as a counter-attacker, where many expected him to excel.

  1. Jack Nowell 5/10

Busy, as he went looking for work, but seemed to lack pace with the ball in hand.  Tackled well enough against Aphiwe Dyantyi.

  1. Henry Slade 6/10

Strong on defence, and a couple of good runs on attack, but no real impact. Combined well with Jack Nowell. Made some good tackles.

  1. Ben Te’o 5/10

Was completely dominated by Damian de Allende. Struggled to get up to the pace of the game, and left some alarming gaps in the defences.  A bit better as the game progressed, some good passing and more accurate tackles.

  1. Jonny May 5/10

Constantly went looking for work, but did not get the ball as often as he would have liked.  Good chasing kicks but was bamboozled by Damian Willemse’s stepping.

  1. Owen Farrell 5/10

Seemed sluggish although he did get better later in the game. Pinpoint kicking with nine of England’s 12 points.  Ripped the ball from Lood de Jager to help England stop a Springbok attack late in the game. Was very fortunate not to cost England the game with a totally illegal shoulder-charge.

9. Ben Youngs 6/10

Overshadowed his opponent with accurate box-kicking and effective passing. Made some serious tackles on England’s try line.

  1. Mark Wilson 7/10

A gutsy and determined performance, with great work-rate.  Different to the ball carriers he replaced, he was superb at the breakdown as he slowed the Springbok ball time and again. Made his tackles, Good support of his own ball carriers. The best of the English forwards, by a long way.

  1. Tom Curry 6/10

A good performance until he hobbled off. Good tackling, good ripping of the ball. Some strong carries. Seemed to be tasked with calling the shots on defence in close.

  1. Brad Shields 5/10

There is a reason why he never became a full All Black. Was a bit slow at times, and tended to get involved in off-the-ball moments, seeming to target De Allende with unnecessary manhandling. Worked hard, especially around the fringes, but brought nothing extra.

  1. George Kruis 6/10

Sterling work in the lineout, especially with ball off the top. Stole one Springbok ball. Generally worked hard in the tight-loose, but not much more than that.

  1. Maro Itoje 5/10

Seems to enjoy the off-the-ball stuff more than the real hard grind. Was trying to be disruptive from the kick-off and soon found himself sitting in the naughty chair. Became more involved later in the game.

  1. Kyle Sinckler 5/10

Struggled manfully against Steven Kitshoff although he came off second best all the way. Managed to make up for his lacking in the scrums with some good work with the ball in hand later in the game. Did his job as a ball carrier and a tackler.

  1. Dylan Hartley 5/10

Struggled to get himself going in this game, always on the backfoot in the hard stuff and seemingly ineffectual as one of the captains. Did his work on defence and threw good lineout ball.

  1. Alec Hepburn 4/10

A really tough day at the office as he was manhandled by Frans Malherbe.  Penalised for collapsing a maul. Replaced at half time by his club teammate Ben Moon.

Replacements

  1. Jamie George 6/10
    A massive part in England’s late defensive stand.
  2. 17. Ben Moon 5/10

Brought a bit of stability when he replaced Hepburn, but that was about it.

  1. Harry Williams 4/10

Struggled to deal with Thomas du Toit, despite the South African being a bit rusty on the loosehead side. Nothing much to report. .

19. Charlie Ewels

Came on with just two minutes to play, not enough time to be rated.

  1. Zach Mercer 6/10

A livewire, who seemed to bring a bit of aggression to the England loosies when he came on. Started running at the space between Springbok defenders rather than at them.

21. Danny Care 6/10

Seemed quicker to the ball than Ben Youngs. Mostly he was defending from the moment he arrived. Some good box-kicking.

  1. George Ford 4/10

Struggled to find himself in the time he was on the field and spent an awful lot of the time in offside positions. Lucky not to get caught. Conceded a penalty and possession.

  1. Chris Ashton 4/10

Anonymous. Lucky to get away with offside play twice in as many minutes. Nothing to report.

The scorers:

For England:
Pens: Farrell 3, Daly
Yellow Card: Itoje

For South Africa:
Try: Nkosi
Pens: Pollard 2

England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell (cc), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Brad Shields, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dylan Hartley (cc), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Danny Care, 22 George Ford, 23 Chris Ashton

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 André Esterhuizen.