South African flyhalf Ruan Pienaar admitted it was an honour to be part of his team’s 42-6 thrashing of England at Twickenham at the weekend, though felt a certain absentee may have made a ‘huge difference’.
AFP reports that the Springboks handed England their biggest defeat on home turf, thanks to tries from Pienaar, Danie Rossouw, Adi Jacobs, Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana.
Pienaar finished with 20 points as the world champions gave an impressive demonstration of their strength, but even he was stunned by the margin of victory.
“I don’t think anyone expected that scoreline,” Pienaar said. “The guys really played together in a team. Twickenham is a special place to play and to beat them by that margin is a huge honour for us.
“England are still a young team and will grow. Their backline is new to the Test match arena. England had their chances.
“But our guys really defended well. We managed to keep them out and it was a massive defensive effort out there.”
Pienaar believes England paid the price for Jonny Wilkinson’s latest injury woe.
Wilkinson started the Premiership season in top form and was favourite to reclaim the England No.10 jersey before suffering a dislocated knee.
Danny Cipriani has struggled to make the step up to international rugby and Pienaar profited on Saturday, scoring 20 points.
Pienaar expects big things from Cipriani in the future – but he thinks England manager Martin Johnson will be counting down the days before Wilkinson is available again.
“Jonny Wilkinson has been a top flyhalf since he was 18. He might make a huge difference to the England set-up and he brings a lot of confidence to the players around him,” Pienaar said.
“He has been unlucky with injuries. For sure, I’d like to see him back on the international stage and I think most of his teammates would like to see that.”
Pienaar scored the second of South Africa’s five tries after charging down Cipriani’s attempted clearance.
It was the third time in six Tests Cipriani has been punished for the same mistake and Johnson expects opposing teams are targeting it as a weakness.
There was a flicker of a smile but Pienaar revealed nothing, except his admiration for Cipriani.
“I just saw he lined up the kick and took a chance. Luckily it paid off,” Pienaar said.
“I think he is a great player and he will improve game by game. I have watched him in the Premiership and the European Cup. He is an awesome player and I have great respect for him.”Tweet