What we’ve learned

Five lessons from the Twickenham Test between the Springboks and England, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.

Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie can perform in northern hemisphere conditions
The Sharks duo saw their stocks rise as the Twickenham Test progressed. Lambie's confidence got an early boost when he kicked a simple penalty and then converted Jan Serfontein's try, and while he did miss a couple of penalties, he kicked a crucial one in the 66th minute to give the Boks an eight-point lead and then slotted a 76th-minute drop goal to make it 31-23. The flyhalf did make mistakes – throwing an early looping pass that saw Serfontein get smashed in the tackle, putting in a cross-kick that went too far, and kicking a penalty over the deadball line when England were down to seven men – but the positives outweighed the negatives. Lambie showed that he can be an asset for the Boks at next year's World Cup, and that Handré Pollard will have a fight on his hands for the No 10 jersey. Meanwhile, Reinach impressed in his first Test start, scoring a try and kicking well out of hand. It was his box kick in the second half that resulted in an attacking scrum for the Boks, and the hang time on his kicks allowed the chasers to compete for possession in the air.

The Incredible Schalk is back
Schalk Burger justified his selection at openside flank ahead of Teboho Mohoje with a Man of the Match performance at Twickenham. Mohoje had done well at the lineout and on defence during his three starts against the Wallabies, All Blacks and Ireland, but when it comes to ball-carrying and dominating the collisions he's simply not in the same league as Burger (not too many are). The 31-year-old was immense on Saturday and showed why the Boks will need him at next year's World Cup, whether as a starter or as a substitute when Willem Alberts is fit.

Officials must make better use of the TMO
With the Springboks leading 20-13 after 46 minutes, and down to 14 men following the sin-binning of Victor Matfield, Owen Farrell kicked the ball from 5m inside his half. Bryan Habana, just outside the Bok 22, put a foot into touch before catching the ball, which should have resulted in a Bok lineout from where Farrell kicked. Yet the assistant referee ruled that the winger had carried the ball into touch and gave England an attacking lineout, from which they set up a driving maul and scored a try. It was a shocking decision from the linesman and one that referee Steve Walsh should have referred to the TMO. One replay would have seen the decision overturned.

Defence can win Test matches
The Boks had just 46% of the ball on Saturday and had to make 123 tackles compared to England's 83, yet claimed a win that was more comfortable than the final score suggests. Heyneke Meyer's men impressed without the ball, dominating the collisions and keeping England behind the advantage line with aggressive defence. The Boks paid the price in Dublin for trying to play too much rugby, but were rewarded at Twickenham for going back to what works for them. It may not always be pretty, but it's very effective.

Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell should not be starting for England
Vunipola showed on Saturday that he doesn't belong on the same cover as Duane Vermeulen (see this month's SA Rugby magazine) or the same field. The England No 8 was yanked off after 45 dismal minutes that saw him twice lose possession in contact and once from the back of a scrum. Farrell was just as bad and lucky to stay on for 64 minutes. The flyhalf's decision-making and kicking out of hand was poor, and he failed to exploit the space behind the Bok defence with grubbers or chip kicks. As Naas Botha said in the SuperSport studio, Farrell 'lacks a rugby brain'. Expect Ben Morgan and George Ford to start for England against Samoa and the Wallabies over the next two weeks.

What Nick Mallett said on SuperSport

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt