June Internationals: Springboks extend England's misery, USA stun Scotland

International
AAP
by AAP

Eddie Jones described England's 23-12 loss to South Africa in the second test in Bloemfontein as being "like a horror movie" as poor discipline led to a series loss and a fifth straight test defeat.

Mike Brown and Jonny May run in fine tries as England opened up a 12-0 lead to evoke memories of Ellis Park a week ago but, although the collapse that followed was not as dramatic, it was ultimately more convincing as they failed to score again.

A yellow card for loose-forward Nathan Hughes left the tourists playing most of the final 10 minutes with 14 players, adding to their nightmare task.

Number eight Duane Vermeulen also scored a try for the Springboks, while flyhalf Handre Pollard kicked three penalties and a conversion.

And it means the ambition of becoming the first England team to complete a triumphant tour in South Africa has been left in tatters, leaving former Wallabies coach Jones under growing pressure.

"Obviously it's very disappointing," Australian Jones told reporters.

"We started the game very well but it was a bit like a horror movie, wasn't it? It was almost a re-run of last week.

"We made errors in different areas of the game today. We are trying to work out why we did that. Our plan of how we wanted to play the game going into it was pretty clear.

"But as soon as something small happens, we just don't seem to react to it on the field at the moment. I thought the game was a good, hard tough test match."

Rather than a lack of effort from the players, Jones blamed the barren run on his men trying too hard.

"It is a tough period at the moment, no-one likes to lose five test matches in a row. We have been through an exceptional period and now we are going through a tough period," he said.

"The players and coaches are putting in plenty of effort, but for some reason we are just not handling those tough moments in the game well.

"I think it (conceding penalties) is because players are trying too hard. In situations they are trying to solve problems themselves rather than trusting team mates and the system.Tendai Mtawarira notched his 100th Test cap overnight. Photo: Getty Images"An England side is always under pressure, whether you are winning or losing. Are the players feeling it more now? That is a possibility."

While the third and final test in Cape Town on June 23 is now a dead rubber, it will give England a chance to end their miserable run of form.

"This team has got a lot of pride, we have won back-to-back Six Nations, we have equalled the world record for number of Test wins in a row, we have gone to Australia and won 3-0," Jones added.

"Now we are going through this bloody tough period. Everybody is going to work extremely hard to get out of this and it will be an absolutely top effort in Cape Town.

"It is about sticking together, understanding what you can improve. Understanding the importance of handling the emotions of the situation. If we do that we will get out of it.

"This is a great learning experience for the team, even if it is painful, extremely painful. We need to get our pride back."

To round off a memorable day for the hosts, the Springboks were able to celebrate another important landmark - Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira becoming their first black player to make 100 Test appearances.

RESULT

South Africa 23

Tries: Vermeulen, Penalty Try

Cons: Pollard

Pens: Pollard 3

England 12

Tries: Brown, May

Cons: Farrell

Pens:

USA vs Scotland

The United States stunned Scotland 30-29 on Saturday, rallying from a 15-point first-half deficit to record their first win in history over the world number six squad.

"We made it scrappy and defended like hell," said US captain Blaine Scully.

"We might not have the cap count but we know how hard we are going to work for each other."

The 15th-ranked Americans fell behind 24-13 at the break but stormed back to take a 30-24 lead when AJ MacGinty converted after flanker Hanco Germishuys scored a try halfway through the second half.

 Scotland's Dougie Fife then scored a try in time added on, cutting the US lead to just one. 

 But on the final play of the match Blair Kinghorn's conversion attempt sailed wide, handing the USA a shocking victory and their first win over Scotland in five official Tests.


 "The character we demonstrated to battle through adversity in the first half and for us to stay within our game plan is something we can take so much heart from," said Scully of the US which improved to a perfect 7-0 in 2018. 

 It was a sobering defeat for Scotland. 

 The Americans used their size and physical strength to overpower the Scots who ran out of gas in the second half and made too many costly errors with the game on the line.

 "Give credit to America," said Scottish captain Stuart Hogg. "They really took their opportunities when they were there.

 "We weren't good enough from the get-go. We scored a nice try early on and then we went to sleep."

 Hooker Joe Taufete'e led the Americans with two tries and South African-born Germishuys scored a try to make it 28-24 and give them their first lead.

 Scotland got off to roaring start with a try after just 59 seconds by Kinghorn and stretched that to 21-6 at one point before the Americans mounted a comeback. 

 The US came into the game with a 6-0 record this year, including a dominating 62-13 win over world No. 19 Russia in the first match of their three-game June test series.

 The last time the USA battled Scotland was at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England where they lost 39-16.

 The US has been improving steadily since their loss to Scotland three years ago.

They finished 3-6-1 in 2016 and 6-3-1 last year.

 The US went with the same starting lineup against Scotland that they used in the Russia contest, while the Scots made 12 roster changes following their convincing 48-10 win over Canada last weekend.

 Scotland will wind up their summer tour against Argentina next Saturday while the Eagles travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia to face Canada the same day.

Argentina vs Wales

Flyhalf Rhys Patchell kicked 20 points as Wales beat Argentina 30-12 in their second rugby Test and won the series 2-0.

Patchell kicked a conversion and six penalties on Saturday - seven goals from nine attempts - to ensure Wales won a series in Argentina for only the second time and for the first time since 1999.

The Pumas once again centred their play around the forwards, using the pick-and-go style which has served them well in the past. But they were unable to retain possession for long periods, due mainly to the performance of the Wales back row which competed superbly at breakdowns.

Argentina's indiscipline was again a major issue and it gave away a steady stream of penalties inside their own half. Patchell's unerring boot ensured the Pumas paid heavily for those lapses.

But the match also ended on a sour note for Wales when No.8 Ross Moriarty received a red card in injury time when he took Pumas flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez in a choke hold, which he refused to release when ordered to do so by the assistant referee.Wales swept Argentina overnight. Photo: AFPThe incident was an ugly one, more so when a member of the Argentina medical staff became involved.

If there was a further concern for Wales, it was that they managed only one try in each half from a thoroughly dominant performance and the first of those came from an act of pure opportunism by right winger Josh Adams.

Argentina scored two tries - the first through winger Bautista Delguy, who scored his first Test try in his second appearance. There was enough to suggest the Pumas have an unexploited strength out wide through Delguy, Ramiro Moyano, and fullback Emiliano Boffelli, who is among the leading tryscorers in Super Rugby.

They appeared to lack the confidence to use the ball out wide until Wales' mounting scoreline forced them to chase the game. After Moriarty's dismissal and in the fifth minute of injury time, Argentina managed a consolation try to replacement hooker Julian Montoya.

Wales opened the scoring with two penalties to Patchell before Adams' try made the score 13-0.

Further penalties to Patchell made the lead 19-0 before Argentina gave itself a flicker of hope with Delguy's try just before halftime.

Wales sealed the match with a try to fullback Hallam Amos midway through the second half, moving the ball wide to George North then infield to Amos, who also scored in the first test.

RESULT

Argentina 12

Tries: Delguy, Montoya

Cons: Sanchez

Pens:

Wales 30

Tries: Adams, Amos

Cons: Patchell

Pens: Patchell 6

New Zealand vs France

The All Blacks have seen off France 26-13 in a second Test, defined by the contentious early dismissal of visiting fullback Benjamin Fall.

A clumsy leap for a high ball by Fall was punished with a 12th-minute red card and sucked the life out of Saturday's contest, helping a rusty New Zealand to clinch the three-Test series.

The ruling also left the tourists fuming.

Captain Mathieu Bastareaud pointed out Fall had eyes for the ball only when he connected with the legs of high-leaping Beauden Barrett.

Five-eighth Barrett plunged to the ground head first and didn't return after failing a concussion test.

The classy playmaker was missed as the world champions produced an error-laden display, while France unleashed considerably more resolve than in last week's 52-11 loss in Auckland.

Despite being a player short, the French dominated most facets of the game, including a clear edge in the physical exchanges.Benjamin Fall saw red early in the first half. Photo: Getty ImagesIt was glimpses of the All Blacks' attacking class that proved the difference, with fullback Jordie Barrett, younger brother of Beauden, the game's stand-out figure. He scored two of their four tries.

France were on top in the opening minutes They were unlucky not to score through inside centre Geoffrey Doumayrou, before halfback Morgan Parra slotted the first of two penalty goals.

The game swung when Australian referee Angus Gardner produced his red card at the same Westpac Stadium venue where All Black Sonny Bill Williams was sent off a year ago against the British and Irish Lions.

Gardner said 29-year-old Fall was "not in a realistic position to contest the ball. I've not got any option".

The All Blacks were in front a minute later when prop Joe Moody loped through a yawning gap.

Winger Ben Smith jinked across for a second and Jordie Barrett completed a sweeping 70m counter-attack on halftime to put his team 21-6 ahead.

Some sharp work from replacement five-eighth Damian McKenzie set up Jordie Barrett's second.

Player numbers were evened up late when TJ Perenara was shown a yellow card for a cynical foul.

France won the second half 7-5 courtesy of a try after the hooter to prop Cedate Gomes Sa.

The All Blacks will chase a series sweep and a 14th-straight win over France in next week's third Test in Dunedin.

RESULT

New Zealand 26

Tries: Moody, B Smith, J Barrett 2

Cons: McKenzie 3

Pens: 

France 13

Tries: Gomes Sa

Cons: Plisson

Pens: Parra 2

Red cards: Fall 12'

Fiji vs Georgia

Rugby league convert Semi Radradra has made an immediate impact in his Test debut, helping Fiji to their fourth successive Pacific Nations Cup title with a 37-15 triumph over Georgia.

Fiji won both their games in the four-team tournament, beating Samoa 24-22 last week, to clinch the title ahead of Tonga, who earlier beat the Samoans 28-18 in Suva.

Radradra, who played rugby league for both Australia and Fiji, proved a major handful for the Georgian midfield as he cut through at will and set up field position before grabbing his first test try in the 83rd minute.

He also set up Henry Seniloli's second try in the first half but was earlier guilty of a poor pass to the same player after a similar linebreak that caused the scrumhalf to drop the ball.

Seniloli's first try and inside centre Jale Vatuba's early second half score came from some surprising scrum pressure by the home side on the Europeans, who are renowned for their forward play but were dominated up front for much of the game.

Replacement scrumhalf Frank Lomani also scored two tries in the second half, the first following a tackle-busting run by Nemani Nadolo before he finished off a sweeping counter-attack that showcased the 'flying Fijians' at their best.

Radradra ended his highly promising debut by smashing through two defenders on the tryline long after the final hooter had sounded.

Georgia flanker Viktor Kolelishvili and winger Alexander Todua scored first half tries for the Europeans, who took a 15-10 lead into the break but went scoreless in the second half.

Fiji will face Tonga in Lautoka next week, which is not part of the Pacific Nations Cup tournament, while Georgia play 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Aichi.

RESULT

Fiji 32

Tries: Seniloli 2, Lomani 2, Vatubua, Radradra

Cons: Nasiganiyavi

Pens: Nasiganiyavi

Georgia 15

Tries: Todua, Giorgadze

Cons: Matiashvili

Pens: Matiashvili

JAPAN vs ITALY

Italy completed a nail-biting 25-22 away win over Japan on Saturday to tie their two-Test series against the 2019 World Cup hosts.

The Italians attacked with real purpose in Kobe after being humbled 34-17 by the Brave Blossoms last weekend, but needed two clutch penalties from fly-half Tommaso Allan to repel a furious late Japan fightback.

"It was our last game of the season so we're really happy to finish like that," said Italy captain Leonardo Ghiraldini.

"We know exactly where we want to go - our target at the World Cup is to qualify for the quarter-finals, but we have the Six Nations before that and that's our focus."

Tommaso Benvenuti opened the scoring for Italy in the 19th minute after a period of sustained early pressure, diving over in the corner after good work from Marcello Violi.Italy levelled the two match series on Saturday. Photo: Getty ImagesA superb driving maul gave Ghiraldini the opportunity to extend his side's lead before a Yu Tamura penalty reduced the deficit to 12-3 going into the halftime break.

When Jake Polledri added a converted try for the visitors soon after the restart, the floodgates looked set to open with Japan's defence clearly wobbling.

But as tempers threatened to boil over after several niggling fouls, Will Tupou and Amanaki Mafi crashed over the try line in quick succession to haul the Japanese to within two points.

Allan slotted two late penalties and appeared to have extinguished Japan's hopes of a comeback before Kotaro Matsushima's last-minute try set up a nervous final few seconds.

"Both sides went at it furiously and showed a lot of heart but obviously the result is a real disappointment," said Japan captain Michael Leitch, whose side face Georgia in a one-off home Test next weekend.

"It was difficult to match their energy. They pushed us back deeper and deeper, but there are a lot of things to learn from this defeat. Georgia are a different team again we'll prepare carefully and be ready for them."

RESULT

Japan 22

Tries: Tupou, Mafi, Matsushima

Cons: Matsuda 2

Pens: Tamura

Italy 25

Tries: Benvenuti, Ghiraldini, Polledri

Cons: Allan 2

Pens: Allan 2

TONGA vs SAMOA

Tonga scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua has orchestrated his side's 28-18 victory over Samoa in their Pacific Nations Cup rugby union clash in Suva, Fiji.

Takulua contributed 13 points with the boot on Saturday, while his tactical kicking kept Samoa pinned in their own territory for much of the game and set up a second-half try to replacement winger Penikolo Latu.

Viliame Lolohea and former NRL player Cooper Vuna also scored first half tries for the Tongans, who were beaten 16-15 by Georgia last week.

Samoa, who lost 24-22 to Fiji in the opening round of fixtures, again made numerous basic handling errors and had few opportunities to score against a strong Tongan defence.

The Samoans were presented with an opportunity to claw back their 28-6 deficit when Tonga were hit with a succession of penalties and three yellow cards in the last 15 minutes.

Tonga's replacement hooker Seta Sakalia was the first to be marched for a professional foul in the 68th minute, and the Samoans capitalised with a long-range Ed Fidow try.

Paula Ngauamo, who had to come back on for Sakalia, was then sinbinned in the final minute for a no-arms tackle before Sitiveni Mafi got a yellow for a professional foul long after the fulltime hooter that allowed Samoa's Melani Matavao to cross.

RESULT

Tonga 28

Tries: Vuna, Latu, Lolohea

Cons: Takulua 2

Pens: Takulua 3

Yellow cards: Sakalta (68'), Ngauamo (80'), Mafi (82')

Samoa 18

Tries: Matavao, Fidow

Cons: Pisi

Pens: Tuala 2