England’s first Test of their tour saw them face off against South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and it was an absolute thriller, but one in which they blew a huge lead to end up as the losers.
England started the game on fire and were 24-3 up inside 20 minutes, thanks to tries from Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell, as well as an unbelievable kick from Daly, who spilt the uprights from inside his own 60.
However, South Africa came back with a bang a clever bit of work by Faf De Klerk got them their first try, before aombination of good play from South Africa and a terrible error my Daly gave S’bu Nkosi a debut try and he got a second minutes later, finishing a wonderful move. England were separate to get to half-time with a lead but Wille Le Roux’s converted try capped off a remarkable turnaround that saw South Africa go 29-24 up, but England added three points with a late penalty to make it 29-27 at the break.
With Mako Vunipola in the sin in, Aphiwe Dyantyi extended South Africa’s lead to 39-27 but England fought back with a try of their own from Maro Itoje but a penalty to the home side made it 42-32.
However, that wasn’t the end of the action as May’s amazing run and finish, plus Farrell’s conversion, cut the defecit to three points.
Nobody would have bet against another score but England couldn’t muster one more chance, so they ended up losing a game in which they, at one stage, held a 21 point lead.
Here’s how we rated the England players after the game.