Scrumhalf Francois de Klerk and fullback Willie le Roux were the stars of the show in South Africa’s 42-39 win against England at Ellis Park on Saturday.
De Klerk provided his backline with excellent service from the base of the ruck and he made good decisions in the come-from-behind win.
Le Roux rekindled glimpses of the form that made him a Springbok a few years ago with his speed on attack. He sparked a lot of brilliant moves out wide for Rassie Erasmus’ side.
“Faf was excellent,” England head coach Eddie Jones told reporters after the match. “He is a little buzzsaw, quick to the ball, shifted the ball quickly and he picked up his runners.
“Willie, when you get front-foot ball like he was getting he is a dangerous player.
“The two wings [Sibusiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi] look like they run as fast as Usain Bolt. That is a dangerous back three they [the Springboks] got.”
While South Africa’s back three gave England plenty of problems, Jones admitted that his side’s discipline played a massive role in their defeat in Johannesburg.
“I thought it was a wonderful game of rugby. I thought in the first 20 minutes we were brilliant at times and maybe we got seduced by the game and that might have been the cause for some uncharacteristic individual discipline errors which allowed South Africa back in the game.
“They [Springboks] were able to piggyback their way on the back of 17 penalties to establish a lead and at the end of the game we were able to balance possession a little bit better and we got ourselves back into the game. So, I am immensely proud of my team, the way they played. They played with a lot of courage at the start of the game, a lot of spirit and a lot of endeavour,” he said.
Jones added: “If you got a penalty count four to one you are going to struggle to win any game and that is the reality. It was difficult for us and we got to take full responsibility for it. We are not blaming the referee, we are taking full responsibility for it. If you look at the facts of the game and understand why we didn’t score as many points as South Africa, it’s in that area.”