Jones gives England 'pass mark'

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 18:56
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REACTION: Eddie Jones gave his England side a "pass mark" after they made it 10 wins out of 10 under their Australian coach with a 37-21 victory over South Africa on Saturday.

England, playing their first Test since a 3-0 series win in Australia in June and without 10 players from that squad, made a scrappy start but they found their form either side of half-time with 23 unanswered points at a rain-swept Twickenham.

In all, they scored four tries through Jonny May, Courtney Lawes, George Ford and Owen Farrell, with inside centre Farrell also kicking 17 points as England beat the Springboks for the first time since 2006.

"We're pleased with the result. Having not beaten South Africa for 10 years, to win by that scoreline today is fantastic," said Jones, who masterminded Japan's shock defeat of the Springboks at last year's World Cup in England.

But Jones saw his side concede six penalties in the first quarter.

"We're certainly not satisfied with our performance, areas of our game need tidying up. But it was our first game [of the season]. We've got 10 of the squad that went to Australia not here, so we've had to put together a new team, get people to understand how we want to play.

"We always thought that the first 20 minutes were going to be the most difficult.

"South Africa were going to come out hard, physical, be at us and they certainly didn't disappoint in that regard. But we regained our composure, control. All in all, we get a pass mark today," he added.

England did give up two tries to replacement flyhalf Johan Goosen and fullback Willie le Roux.

Ben Youngs had one of his best games for England, the scrumhalf twice selling dummies with sniping breaks to create tries for halfback partner Ford and Farrell.

"I think he's got the potential to be one of the best scrumhalves in the world," said Jones.

Youngs returned the compliment.

"Eddie has been brilliant at instilling team belief and also instils a lot of self-belief and today was an example of how much I am enjoying my rugby," Youngs said.

England's scoring spree either side of the interval coincided with the absence through injury of Eben Etzebeth after the South Africa lock went off after a sickening clash of heads with powerhouse No.8 Billy Vunipola in the 33rd minute.

"That was big. In the crucial moment of the game, where we sort of make the mistakes and it gets taken away from us. One should give England credit for playing the conditions very well.

"Ford was superb, the halfback pair were superb in terms of the kicking game. It was a matter of being patient, and they pounced on our mistakes,"Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said.

This was South Africa's fifth defeat in six Tests but Coetzee insisted the Springboks remained one of the teams to beat.

"I always look at when a team gives up, then I'd say the Springboks have lost their aura. But there's no lack of effort in the team," he added.

Agence France-Presse