The Springboks fought back from 24-3 down after 15 minutes to beat England 42-39 in a sensational Test at Ellis Park.
Duane Vermeulen was colossal in a team of Rainbow Warriors as the Boks recovered from an incredible three-try England start to lead 29-27 at halftime, and ultimately win.
The Boks lead 42-32 with three minutes to go before Jonny May’s electric pace produced a 55 Meyer solo try. The converted try made it a three point game with two minutes to play but the Boks held firm to ensure Siya Kolisi’s home debut as Bok captain and Rassie Erasmus’s first home Test would end in success.
South Africa and England scored five tries each, with all of England’s tries coming in the first quarter and last five minutes. In between that it was all South Africa, who up until the 70th minute profited from a 65 percent field position and ball possession advantage.
England based Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux were outstanding and former Toulon No 8 Duane Vermeulen was imposing and inspired. Replacements Steven Kitshoff and Pieter-Steph du Toit added grunt and pace to a game already played at a frenetic pace and the wingers Aphiwe Dyantyi and Sbu Nkosi scored on their debuts.
RG Snyman enjoyed one breathtaking 60 metre gallop but his work rate was industrious and his skill level obvious. He looked very at home in the Test arena.
Tries: Faf de Klerk, S’bu Nkosi (2), Willie le Roux, Aphiwe Dyantyi
Conversions: Handre Pollard (4)
Penalties: Pollard (3)
Tries: Mike Brown, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Johnny May
Conversions: Owen Farrell (4)
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane/Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw/Thomas du Toit, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Nick Isiekwe, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Denny Solomona