England defeat Springboks: the Brutal Truth

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England's Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium, London. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

England defeat Springboks at Twickenham and social media has been set alight by “that” tackle. Was it the defining moment of the game?

The game ended in massive controversy. A hit by England co-captain on Springbok replacement center Andre Esterhuizen delayed the final whistle as the TMO drew referee Angus Gardner’s attention to possible foul play. This was certainly not the defining moment of the game. The Springboks contrived to lose this game through very poor handling and a wobbly line out. The unfortunate truth though is that we are once again talking about a referee and not about the game itself.

England defeat Springboks 12-10

The two real reasons that saw England defeat South Africa were;

Springboks handling

The Springboks handling in the first half was very disappointing. For all their territorial and possession dominance, a two point lead at half time was a very poor return. They should really have been down the road and out of sight at half time. Their poor ball protection allowed England to batten down the hatches and ride out the hurricane. The Springboks has numerous opportunities to score, but couldn’t close the deal by losing possession.

“The two things which we didn’t do well was to finish our opportunities and our discipline,” said Erasmus.

 “It doesn’t matter how you look at it, if you don’t finish off your opportunities and give away too many penalties, you will lose the Test match.

A wobbly line out

The Springboks rely on strong first phase play. Their line out was wobbly at best. On three occasions, Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx missed his jumpers in the line out. Two of those three misses where when the Springboks had a line out five meters from the England line, conceding possession. Replacement hooker Bongi Nbonambi also chalked up an over throw when he replaced Marx.

Erasmus was also frustrated by the missed line out opportunities when the Springboks were on the front foot: 

“The lineouts were frustrating for me,” he said.

That is the reality of this Test. The Springboks had every opportunity to win it, but their accuracy in terms of handling on attack and their line out work was not up to international standard.

Match day controversy

Time to move on to the controversy. The opinion expressed below is just that. An opinion. Ref bashing is not what we specialize in at Last Word on Rugby and that is why we have taken the time to explain what we believe are the real reasons behind the outcome of this Test. The Springboks should have singed and sealed the deal by half time, but they did not. It was their own fault that they were not at least ten points ahead in the final minutes and should not have to rely on a decision after time was up to give them a chance at victory.

It is our considered opinion that the tackle was not legal. If World Rugby considers the Farrell tackle legal, they are at odds with their stated intent to make the game safe. The so-called seat belt taken is now a penalty offence. That tackle is far less dangerous than what we saw on Saturday.


For a full view of that tackle, you can view it here:

Before you formulate your own opinion, consider what the laws of rugby state what constitutes a tackle and what World Rugby‘s intent is regarding player safety.

Quotations courtesy of SA Rugby.

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