‘It’s a good day for SA’

How South Africa's Sunday newspapers reacted to the Springboks' 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham.

The Boks had to share the back pages and the plaudits with Bafana Bafana, whose victory over Sudan secured them a place in next year's African Nations Cup.

What a difference a week makes. Last week the Boks were widely panned for their performance against Ireland, while this week the pundits were effusive in their praise, commending the Boks' grit and determination to seal the victory in front of an 82,000 capacity crowd at Twickenham.

'It's a good day for SA,' reads the back page of the Sunday Times. Writer Craig Ray compliments the Boks' character and composure, reserving the highest of praises for the Bok halfback pairing of Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie.

'Reinach and Lambie proved to be masterful selections by coach Heyneke Meyer, and both had a huge impact on the match.

'The fire and brimstone of the Bok pack was flattered by Reinach's superb service, excellent kicking from hand and his wonderful defence, underlined when he cut down Mike Brown with a textbook low tackle when the Englishman was on his way to the line.'

The Weekend Argus ran with the headline 'Day to cherish for Boks, Bafana'. In his match report, Ashfak Mohammed makes special mention of the Boks' defence but questions England's decision to 'continually smash the ball up the middle in an attempt to out-muscle the South Africans, where they were met by a wall of green and gold defenders all day.'

City Press continued with the South Africa double bill on the front of their sport section, leading with the headline: 'Bafana, Boks make us proud'. In his brief report, Dan Retief says the Boks showed great spirit to reclaim the lead after the English had scored two quick tries with Victor Matfield off the field.

'Clearly smarting at the defeat to Ireland, the Boks played with greater cohesion and concentration to knock down anything that moved in a white shirt, and seemed unconcerned that England held an advantage in territory and possession in the first half.'

Rapport has dedicated two whole pages to the Boks, with the back page running a picture of Jan Serfontein going over for a try accompanied by the headline: 'Bok-bevonk! [Bok-cool!]'. In his match report, Stephen Nell makes mention of the World Cup and the significance of the victory against possible quarter-final opponents.

In his player ratings, Nell has given most of the Bok players a six or seven, with Marcell Coetzee and Serfontein receiving eight. Nell notes Serfontein's try as the turning point in a match that remained in the balance until the final whistle.

'Jan Serfontein's intercept try in the first half was a huge moment. This gave the Boks 10-0 lead and suddenly the crowd was silenced,' writes Nell, who also praised Jean de Villiers's captaincy.

'Full marks must got to De Villiers, who had his finger on the pulse of the game at Twickenham. The try that the team scored without Matfield came after the captain decided to kick the ball for the corner.'

How England's Sunday newspapers reacted to Bok win

By Brenton Chelin