The Springboks beat England 22-17 in a bruising encounter in Durban on Saturday, going 1-0 up in the three-test series and pleasing new coach Heyneke Meyer. The match had it’s casualties, with players from both sides unavailable for the next test.
After a tight and tense first half, the home side had the better of the second, scoring tries through Morne Steyn and new captain, Jean De Villiers. Ben Foden scored a consolation try for England on full time, ending the game on a positive note ahead of the Ellis Park clash next weekend.
New Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was happy with the result considering the short amount of time they had to prepare. “I’m just happy we got through the first one,” he said.
“I must say there were a few nerves in the beginning. Defence on both sides was unbelievable. The difficulty was just having the three days. It was a new start and a totally different game plan.
“A lot of these guys played tough Super Rugby a week ago and we knew England would be fresher and better prepared. There were a few things I was not happy with, especially in the first half, but I was very happy when we got quick ball and quality ball in the second half.
“You could see then that we could be a dangerous side,” the former Bulls coach added.
England fullback Mike Brown has been ruled out of the rest of the tour with a hand injury and is replaced in the squad by Nick Abendanon, who was already in his former homeland for a friend’s wedding. Centre Brad Barritt will miss the second test after he took a bad knock to the eye.
South African fullback Zane Kirchner has been ruled out of the second test with a knee injury. Gio Aplon has been drafted into the squad as cover, and there were also concerns with Coenie Oosthuizen’s shoulder, so Bulls front rower Dean Greyling gets a call-up.
England face a South African Barbarians team in a midweek fixture in Kimberly on Wednesday.
You can view the full match post from South Africa vs England, 1st test, here