Heyneke Mayer has won his maiden test series as Springbok coach as his side took an unassailable 2-0 lead against England in Johannesburg today. After a dominant first half, the Boks held on well against a good English fightback to win 36-27.
On a day when flyhalf Morne Steyn again left his kicking boots at home (he missed five from eleven attempts at goal) it was left to man of the match JP Pietersen to seal the result, finishing off superbly with 5 minutes to go after winning 40 metres for his team with a great run. Up to that point, his side were under the cosh, with England pushing back strongly and threatening to overturn a huge Bok lead built up in the first half.
Meyer’s side started like a house on fire, with Willem Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis scoring tries in the first 10 minutes before Toby Flood pulled one back for England after a quick penalty caught the Boks off guard. Francois Hougaard scored the third, though and with a seemingly safe 25-10 lead going into half time, all money was on the Boks to record a record win.
That was before scrumhalf Ben Youngs came to the party, though, scoring his side’s second and third tries in a half that England dominated. The Boks were disrupted, first by an injury to Pat Lambie that saw Frans Steyn drop out of midfield and then by a series of replacements that robbed the pack of momentum as first Alberts, and then both du Plessis brothers were subbed off in short order. Sensing a shift in momentum, the English were good value for their fightback, but ultimately lacked the killer instinct needed to finish the Boks off.
Meyer will be scratching his head ahead of the third test, though, as he goes in search of a series whitewash. Injuries to Lambie and Juandre Kruger looked serious and there were some worrying performances from his go-to men in the second half – none more so than flyhalf Steyn.
That’s Monday’s problem, though. For now, South Africa celebrates!
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).Tweet