A last minute Marcus Smith penalty saw England come out on top in a dramatic encounter with South Africa, winning 27-26.
Eddie Jones’ side came flying out of the blocks and got the better of the early exchanges. They made their early pressure tell in the seventh minute, when centre Manu Tuilagi crossed on the far side, injuring himself in the process. Smith converted brilliantly.
Handre Pollard knocked over a penalty to reduce the deficit but then England stretched their lead midway through the first half thanks to a powerful finish from impressive young full-back Freddie Steward. Smith added the extras again.
Pollard knocked over three more penalties and Smith hit back with one of his own to make the score 17-12 at the break.
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South Africa unleashed their powerful bench early in the second half and began to dominate proceedings but could not capitalise on England’s indiscipline as Pollard missed two shots at goal.
He did, however, sort his radar out in the 55th minute to boot his side to within two points and things were looking ominous for the hosts.
Replacement fly-half Elton Jantjies kicked the Springboks ahead with a penalty in the 63rd minute, which was a good result for England, who’d been under all sorts of pressure in their own 22.
But then Joe Marchant scythed through a significant gap in the South African midfield to send Raffi Quirke over. Smith converted and England now led by six points with 15 minutes to go.
Replacement England prop Will Stuart was then yellow carded with England’s discipline having completely collapsed.
Soon after, Makazole Mapimpi was cantering over on the far side to put his side within a point of their hosts. Jantjies, though, couldn’t convert.
The world champions kept coming, though, and they took the lead with eight minutes to go when replacement Frans Steyn stepped up to nail a long range penalty.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi was then sent to the sin bin for tackling Joe Marchant in the air as the game became incredibly frantic.
England then got themselves into the ascendancy in the final minutes and won a penalty slap bang in front of the posts when Steyn dove off his feet as he entered a breakdown.
Up stepped England fly-half Smith to bang over the crucial three-pointer.
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