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International Rugby: Game 2 of England’s 2018 Tour of South Africa at Free State Stadium Game Review

Welcome to Game 2 of England’s 2018 Tour of South Africa.

This time we go from Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg to Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

South Africa had the upper hand 1-0 with a 42-39 win last week.

Meanwhile, England will need plenty of work to win back the trust of Eddie Jones.

Either way, it’s going to be a real contest for both sides.

1st Half

The line-out from Jamie George looked messy.

But England held the ball to keep their possession ticking.

Ben Youngs continued England’s strike to Owen Farrell & Jonny May before Mike Brown completes the job over the first five points.

They wasted little time by building on another set piece score when Jonny May bulldozes both Aphiwe Dyantyi & S’bu Nkosi for another Red Rose TRY.

When Mike Brown makes his magic on the left, so does Jonny May on the opposite flank.

May gives himself some room by pushing himself hard with pace & that provided plenty of frustration from the Springboks defense.

The Springboks fight back, as usual, less than 20 minutes before the break.

What about that stunning move from Tendai Mtawarira?

He too went one on one against Ben Youngs who held Mtawarira down.

But, the Springboks get their five points up the scoreboard past the English line.

You see Duane Vermeulen using his power to slip down three Red Rose players:

  • Billy Vunipola
  • Henry Slade
  • Elliot Daly

And neither of those three can stop the Springbok Number 8 for the TRY.

From two tries to a messy disciplinary defense for the Red Rose

Despite England’s strong start, they failed to release the ball just four minutes before half-time.

Excellent work from Duane Vermeulen on the exit as well as Faf De Klerk by grounding the opposition phase play.

It made Ben Young’s life challenging to build on England’s structure.

On the other hand, Handre Pollard made a successful penalty kick from the halfway line for the three points.

HALF-TIME: South Africa 13-12 England

2nd Half

South Africa maintaining themselves square by driving forward as England’s scrummaging looked barely weak.

Once again, powerful reinforcements from the Boks front rowers where they’re so dominant in that area.

Faf De Klerk tried to offload with the ball, but England held it already without the consent of the referee.

Hence, the referee awarded South Africa with the penalty try.

England has gone stuck with their defense yet again.

Again, enormous pressure with the kick chase by the Boks.

Mike Brown has no support as he held onto the ball which is too late for England to escape.

The credit goes to both young Boks pair of Jean-Luc Du Preez & Aphiwe Dyantyi.

And in return, Handre Pollard successfully took another penalty kick past the posts.

FULL-TIME: South Africa 23-12 England

South Africa


  • Duane Vermuelen (23′)
  • Penalty Try (49′)


  • Handre Pollard, 1/1, (24′)


  • Handre Pollard, 3/4, (28′, 38′, 66′)



  • Mike Brown (9′)
  • Jonny May (12′)


  • Owen Farrell, 1/2, (10′)

England’s Feedback

Great start by England in the first twelve minutes of the game.

You can see both left and right wingers working together to trick the Boks defensive line.

However, most of this squad lacked discipline, especially in defense.

The driving maul they tried to win the turnover didn’t stay square or straight.

Instead, most of the mistakes they’ve made come from penalty tries & three of Handre Pollard’s successful kicks.

Next time, England need the whole squad to get behind them & dominate in all areas.

That means the front rowers need the back ends a helping hand.

South Africa’s Report Card

South Africa played together in all areas last night.

Their scrummaging along with the assist from their entire XV line-up has gone strength to strength.

Plus, their set pieces and built up phases have created many chances to bulldoze the Red Rose defense.

You look at the great Number 8 of Duane Vermeulen, he runs well with so much power where some England players failed to hold him down.

Vermeulen never gives up & therefore gives the backrowers some fresh legs to rest for a TRY.

Although, Tendai Mtawarira didn’t score any tries.

But I mentioned him in this post because he’s the one that contributed the most of the Boks front rowers.

He ran some meters for himself closer towards the try line as well as giving his department a chance some help to finish off the job.

The three key ideas that helped the Boks overcome England, 2-0.

  • Winning turnovers
  • Penalties
  • Securing Five pointers/conversions

Hence, the following players mentioned just now have made the whole of South Africa witnessed with joy in this match.


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What’s Next?

Now South Africa have won the Series 2-0, the tour once again dominated by the home side for the seventh straight time.

England will now head to DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

It’s the third and final match of their 2018 tour in the Republic.

Will England fight back with a consolation win with a 2-1 finish?

Or will the Springboks finish off with a 3-0 whitewash?

Find out on Sunday, 24 June, at 1 AM AEST LIVE on FOX Sports 501.

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