NEWS
09/06/2018 20:59 SAST | Updated 10/06/2018 06:57 SAST

Boks Get Erasmus Era Up And Running In A Humdinger! 🇿🇦

The Springboks looked on verge of an early collapse — until the backline steadied and drove a comeback victory that left team, coach, captain and fans overjoyed.

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The Springboks emerged victorious against England in a pulsating humdinger of a match at Johannesburg's Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park) on Saturday, while debutant Sbu Nkosi stole the headlines.

It was a dream result for Rassie Erasmus, in his first Test as coach, and likewise for new captain Siya Kolisi, as he marshalled the Bok forces to a 42-39 win over the visitors.

The script didn't go according to plan in the first 20 minutes — England took the game by the horns with a trio of lightning tries, shocking the partisan Ellis Park crowd and causing uproar in sports pubs across the nation.

The three tries in 16 minutes came courtesy of wing Mike Brown, fullback Elliot Daly and fly-half Owen Farrell.

Skipper Farrell converted all three, and Daly's penalty from almost 60m out left Eddie Jones' side 24-3 ahead and looking like they were running away with it.

But this wasn't a game of two halves — it was more like a game of four quarters.

A resurgent Bok backline in the second 20 minutes and much tighter defence saw the South Africans come back, and then maintain their domination against serious opposition throughout the second half.

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Faf de Klerk in action, on his way to a well-deserved man of the match award. June 09 2018.

The Boks scored four unanswered tries in the second 20 minutes — courtesy of man-of-the-match Faf de Klerk, two brilliant scores from debutant Sbu Nkosi on the wing, and the clincher from fullback Willie le Roux. They turned around a game in which England had held a seemingly unassailable lead.

With the handling errors of the first quarter behind them, Erasmus' quick-thinking side finished the first half 29-27 up.

The second half was a more tactical affair, with England showing their mettle and making the Boks fight for it, and not much between the two sides. The Boks put the final nail in the coffin with a fifth try — from another debutant on the wing, Aphiwe Dyantyi — and seemed to have found their groove.

With the clock ticking down, England clawed their way back with another try from captain Farrell, to make for a nervy finish.

But the Boks soaked up the pressure to emerge 42-39 victors at full time — handing England their fifth consecutive defeat.

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Aphiwe Dyantyi scores on debut - South Africa's fifth try in their 42-39 victory.

Faf de Klerk pulled out all the stops at scrum-half, proving a pocket-rocket workhorse who got everywhere, and received a standing ovation from the Ellis Park faithful when he was named man of the match.

The two sides will do battle again at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein next Saturday, with the third and final Test scheduled for Newlands in Cape Town on June 23.

After the match, Kolisi and some teammates honoured their opponents in the tunnel and the England changeroom, a sporting gesture in the best spirit of the game. It put the perfect cap on a day that added a significant, glittering thread to the tapestry of South African rugby.