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Ken Borland

Boks avoid embarrassment thanks to JP 0

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Ken

It took a moment of brilliance from wing JP Pietersen for South Africa to avoid the embarrassment of squandering a 28-10 lead and lose the second Test against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Springboks triumphed 36-27 after Pietersen’s 73rd minute try – he began the move with a mazy run, bumping off defenders, from his own half – pulled them clear, but England deserve huge credit for their remarkable comeback.

In the first half, they were absolutely hammered up front by the power and ferocity of the Springbok ball-carriers, but they fronted up manfully in the second half and, with the home side disrupted by unfortunate injuries, they came roaring back.

“It was a golden moment for me, I played some of my best rugby tonight, both on attack and defence,” Pietersen said. “But in the second half we dropped our concentration and we had to scramble to contain some line breaks. That’s when work-rate comes first for your team, you need to help when they’re getting tired.”

It was little short of assault in the first half as the Springboks dominated the collisions, earning three tries.

“We had a good first half, we wanted speed on the ball and to run hard, to get momentum,” eighthman Pierre Spies said.

“We were much more clinical at the rucks, especially in the first half, and we were better, more accurate, at the breakdown.”

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer praised new captain Jean de Villiers for keeping control of a tense situation in the second half.

“We learnt a lot out there, panic could have set in but Jean did really well. I would rather have this sort of win than 80 minutes of SuperRugby and then the team lose in this sort of situation later on,” Meyer said.

Pietersen cuts short England comeback 0

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Ken

South Africa wing JP Pietersen started and ended the match-winning move as the Springboks cut short a stirring England revival and won the second Test 36-27 (half-time 25-10) at Ellis Park on Saturday.

South Africa dominated the first half and had stretched their lead to 28-10 after 47 minutes before England clawed their way back to 31-27 down with 15 minutes remaining. But their comeback was truncated when Pietersen set off from his own half on a mazy run, bumping off defenders, and putting the Springboks on attack. After several phases and a strong drive by eighthman Pierre Spies, the ball went quickly wide for Pietersen to dive over for the match-winning try.

The Springbok forwards had pounded England with their direct, powerful running in the first half, earning tries for bruising flank Willem Alberts, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard.

South Africa led 22-3 after the first quarter and, facing the sternest examination at a daunting Highveld venue, England showed their character by fighting back through two tries by scrumhalf Ben Youngs and one by flyhalf Toby Flood, who also scored three conversions and two penalties in a faultless goal-kicking display.

But the single moment of magic of Pietersen denied England the reward of a sensational comeback victory.

South Africa’s physical dominance was obvious from the outset as they held the ball through 12 phases after the kickoff, bashing their way to within a couple of metres from the tryline before the ball was knocked-on.

England dominated the resulting scrum, referee Alain Rolland failing to penalise the going-to-ground of the Springbok front row, and the lack of control of the ball led to it popping out, Alberts picking up and scoring the simplest of tries in the fourth minute.

The strong driving and direct running of the Springboks soon had them back on attack and Du Plessis was driven over from close range for the second try in the eighth minute.

England then showed some mettle with ball in hand as they stretched the Springbok defence, fullback Pat Lambie making a crucial tackle in the last line of defence to prevent a try, but the visitors did earn a penalty soon afterwards, which Flood kicked (3-12).

A great pass over the top from inside centre Francois Steyn to wing Pietersen, whose clever chip had England scrambling in their 22, forced Youngs to carry the ball over his own line as he could not escape from Springbok captain Jean de Villiers. From the five-metre scrum, South Africa earned a penalty, which Morne Steyn kicked in the 16th minute (15-3).

The Springboks earned a third try five minutes later after another spell of top-class driving by the forwards created a gap close to the line which scrumhalf Hougaard spotted.

England, 22-3 down, finally notched a try in the 24th minute after they were awarded a ruck penalty in midfield. The awareness of Young and wing Chris Ashton, bursting through to take the pass, created the space for Flood to run in the try, which he converted.

Morne Steyn added a well-taken drop goal in the 28th minute, but England were alive, only just, at 10-25 down at the break.

But South Africa lost some core players in the second half due to injury, most notably Alberts, who put his body on the line in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stop Youngs from scoring his first try, after Du Plessis had overthrown a lineout.

The Springboks will also be disappointed that basic mistakes crept into their game in the second half, and England were able to punish them.

Their scrum regained their pride by earning a couple of penalties, one of which was in range for Flood, and the lineout then got their rolling maul going to allow Youngs to dive over for his second try to close the gap to 22-31 with 16 minutes remaining.

Flood kicked the conversion and almost immediately followed up with a long-range penalty as England began playing with more and more confidence.

But Pietersen than came up with his game-changing run and England were left with more work still to do before next weekend’s final Test.


South Africa – Tries: Willem Alberts, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Hougaard, JP Pietersen. Conversions: Morne Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (3). Drop goal: Steyn.

England – Tries: Toby Flood, Ben Youngs (2). Conversions: Flood (3). Penalties: Flood (2).

Lowe replaced by May in England squad 0

Posted on June 17, 2012 by Ken

England wing George Lowe has been replaced by Gloucester’s Jonny May for the final week of their South African tour, team management announced on Saturday.

“May flew overnight as a replacement for George Lowe (Harlequins) who will return home tonight for further consultation after a scan showed left ankle ligament damage.” the statement said.

Lowe was injured during the midweek game against the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley after his foot was trapped in an awkward position by a tackle.

The 22-year-old May is uncapped by England.

“It’s a shame for George because he had a good game against the Southern Barbarians until he was injured. But this is an opportunity for another young player who has come up through our age-grade programme and into the Saxons to gain some valuable international tour experience,” England head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

England win, but not one-way traffic 0

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Ken

Eighthman Thomas Waldrom and wing Christian Wade crossed for five tries between them, but it was not one-way traffic for England in their 54-26 (halftime 25-14) victory over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley on Wednesday.

Waldrom scored tries in the 18th and 50th minutes in a powerhouse display, while Wade showed tremendous pace and finishing ability in scoring well-taken tries in the 20th, 63rd and 81st minutes. England’s other tries were scored by wing George Lowe, lock Graham Kitchener and scrumhalf Danny Care.

But England were hesitant in defence and conceded four tries to the Southern Barbarians, a team made up of non-SuperRugby players.

Flyhalf Charlie Hodgson had a mixed afternoon with the boot, only succeeding with six of his 10 shots at goal.

England scored three tries in five minutes between the 18th and 23rd minutes to take a 25-7 lead, but were only able to add five more tries in the second half, with the half-century only coming up thanks to two tries in the last four minutes.

Waldrom produced a top-class, combative performance against a plucky but outmatched second division combination, while Care was a lively presence at the base of the rucks and scrums.

The scrumhalf was adept at probing the numerous holes in the Barbarians defence, while Waldrom and inside centre Jordan Turner-Hall created space on attack.

The key moment for England came in the 63rd minute when the Barbarians, trailing 21-35, were hard on attack, but they failed to protect their ruck ball and Anthony Allen managed to intercept a 50/50 pass from the ground. The outside centre padded his way upfield before passing inside for Wade to speed away for a try that gave England enough breathing space.


Southern Barbarians – Tries: Jacques Engelbrecht, Hannes Franklin, Norman Nelson, Ntabeni Dukisa. Conversions: Elgar Watts (3).

England – Tries: Thomas Waldrom (2), Christian Wade (3), George Lowe, Graham Kitchener, Danny Care. Conversions: Charlie Hodgson (4). Penalties: Hodgson (2).

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