Last-gasp Smith penalty wins it for England

A last-minute penalty from England flyhalf Marcus Smith edged his team to a 27-26 win over the world champion Springboks at the end of an action packed and pulsating 80 minutes at Twickenham on Saturday to gain some measure of revenge for their humiliating defeat in the 2019 World Cup final.

It was a day where the pre-match words of England coach Eddie Jones, where he stressed in a television interview that sometimes “a strength can prove a weakness”, proved eerily prophetic. England won the match because they took advantage of a period when the Bok scrum wasn’t as accurate as it normally is, where the lineout creaked more than it normally does, and where there were defensive errors that aren’t usually seen from a team as immaculate defensively as the Boks normally are.

But that was mostly in the first half the Boks will be kicking themselves for failing to take proper control on the scoreboard when they came back from their poor first half performance to completely dominate England in the second. After being down 17-6 at one stage of the first half and before that 14-3, the Boks spent much of the game playing catch up.

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