Defence cost clueless Boks

The inept Springboks were haunted by familiar problems once again as they slipped to a disappointing 37-21 defeat against England at Twickenham on Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

When Johan Goosen scored for the Boks just on the hour mark, it signified the first try that they had scored in some 320 minutes of rugby. Let that sink in.

Again, the Boks were absolutely listless on attack against England. In the first half, they had just 40% of possession and 37% of territory, while managing just the solitary clean break.

By the end of the encounter, England boasted 59% of territory and 54% of possession, with the hosts beating 15 defenders to 10, making 432m to 339 and winning nine turnovers to four.

Beyond that, the Boks’ kicking was once again erratic (having kicked 32 times from hand), with the likes of Willie le Roux and Pat Lambie often guilty of giving away possession with poorly executed kicks.

Yet, the Boks’ woeful defence is what proved to be even more problematic than their poor kick and attack execution. As it was, three of England’s four tries came from complete defensive disorganisation.

In the first half, Jonny May scored in the corner after Bok defenders were sucked infield, while two tries in the second half were as a result of shocking defence around the fringes as scrumhalf Ben Youngs showed up the Boks’ defensive ineptitude.

By the conclusion of the clash, the Boks had missed 15 tackles, but it was a clear lack of cohesion and understanding within the defence that proved to be extremely costly.

Among the forwards, Billy Vunipola was a powerful ball-carrier for England as he carried over his Six Nations form, while Owen Farrell kicked 14 points and scored one of the home team’s four tries as they broke a 10-year win drought against South Africa.

Photo: David Rogers/RFU

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Craig Lewis