Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

South Africa 42 England 39

South Africa 42 England 39

Electric debutant S'busiso Nkosi crossed twice to bring Ellis Park to his feet and in between his two tries, Eddie Jones hauled off Nick Isiekwe - the Saracens lock who was making his full debut - and brought on the uncapped Brad Shields. That onslaught produced three tries and 24 points from the visitors in the first 16 minutes.

When asked exactly what he had said, Jones replied: "That's not for me to share with you".

England captain and centre Owen Farrell said: "We got off to a good start, but then our discipline slipped".

More than just looking good, England was rampant early on, with fullback-turned-wing Mike Brown sliding in at the left corner inside the first five minutes.

South Africa dominated much of the second half before England, finally able to get their hands on the ball, conjured tries for Maro Itoje and Jonny May that proved too late to save the day. "Maybe we got seduced by the game and that might have been the cause for some uncharacteristic and costly errors".

While England return to Umhlanga on the Indian Ocean to begin preparations for Saturday's second match at Free State Stadium, South Africa celebrated a landmark moment in the nation's history. England was dominant once more in the last 10 minutes and scored two late tries.

Erasmus' side showed that if every player reaches the required intensity, no team, not even England with their superior squad depth, will roll them over.

England's Mike Brown scores a try during the first test against South Africa, at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

South Africa England Rugby
England’s Brad Shields and Ben Youngs are dejected after South Africa’s victory

While all eyes will be on Kolisi, in the same way they were on Mandela in that World Cup final against the All Blacks, the Port Elizabeth-born loose forward says his only focus is to lead through his actions on the field and to also utilise the leadership qualities of the players around him.

"It certainly wasn't the start we wanted in our first Test at home and I was anxious because we had a lot of young players against a very experienced England side", said Erasmus.

"There were a lot of young guys involved against a very experienced England side and it could have gone really badly for us", Erasmus said.

Sale Sharks' Faf de Klerk put in a superb display at scrum-half, while Wasps' Willie Le Roux scored just before the break to put the Springboks ahead.

The dream debut continued when he popped up on the opposite wing after a clever run from Le Roux, creating the space for fellow debutant Aphiwe Dyantyi to send him over.

England lost prop Mako Vunipola to the sin bin on 63 minutes for a late tackle and nearly immediately Dyantyi marked his first cap with a try which Pollard converted.

However, South Africa climbed off the canvas, Faf de Klerk plunging over from close range before Nkosi's brace, although the first owed much to Daly's failure to deal with a bouncing ball inside his own in-goal area.

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