Mon, Jun 04, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Springboks hammer England, again


A Springbok fan waits for the kick-off of the Test match between South Africa and England in Pretoria on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

South Africa ran in eight tries — six in the second half — to hammer a virtual second string England 55-22 in the second Test in Pretoria on Saturday.

The home side battled to find their rhythm in the first period after winning the first Test in Bloemfontein 58-10 a week ago and trailed 17-19 at the half-time break.

Northern Bulls heroes Bryan Habana and Pierre Spies both scored two tries on their home ground, while Percy Montgomery finished with 18 points to his name.

It was a scrappy affair from the off with both teams guilty of making numerous handling errors, while both struggled to assert dominance over the other in the set pieces.

The home side though found their game in some style in the second period and ran in six wonderful tries to strike a major psychological blow ahead of the teams' World Cup meeting.

"We've won a Test series against England, scored over 100 points and got 15 tries in the process, some from structured play and some from broken play. I think it's going to definitely have a psychological impact going on to the World Cup," said Springbok coach Jake White.

"We made it more difficult than it should have been because of silly mistakes, but we built up a lot of momentum in the second half and that will stand us in good stead going forward," the 'Bok coach added.

Whereas the Springboks looked to play an expansive game, putting the ball through the hands at the back, the visitors opted rather to use the boot, seeking good territory.

They also strangled the home side up front, forcing the 'Boks to give away far too many penalties, something Jonny Wilkinson turned into points every time.

It was the 'Boks though who enjoyed the majority of ball in the early exchanges, but their poor handling and some good tackling by the English prevented the home side from scoring any tries in the opening quarter.

Percy Montgomery and Wilkinson exchanged penalties inside 10 minutes, but for the next quarter hour neither side came close to putting points on the board.

While the 'Boks saw most of the ball, their inability to maintain it at the scrums, where they gave away several penalties, and lineouts meant they were always under pressure against a spirited and determined England outfit, who performed far better than in Bloemfontein.

The 'Boks' first try came in the 23rd minute when 'Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie kicked the ball into space behind the England forwards and, fortunately for him, the ball bounced perfectly to allow the 'Bok No 9 to gather and dive over.

Montgomery added the extras to put the home side 10-3 up.

Wilkinson quickly reduced the deficit to just four points with his second penalty, but on the half hour the 'Boks edged further ahead through Schalk Burger's converted try after a good drive towards the line by the home side's pack.

With half an hour to go in the first period, the 'Boks were 17-6 up and well in control, but the English pounced on all the home side's errors to fight their way back into the contest.

Wilkinson added six more points with the boot before wing Dan Scarbrough scored under the posts after being gifted the ball by Spies, who seemingly thought the Englishman was wearing a green jersey. Wilkinson converted the try to give his side an unlikely 19-17 lead at the break.

"I had a stern chat to the guys at the break, and they came out and played some of the best rugby I've seen by them so far this season," White said.

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