The Springboks, with their first-ever black captain in Siya Kolisi and a new coach in Rassie Erasmus, powered their way back with five tries of their own after falling 24-3 behind in the early exchanges of a high-scoring and action-packed encounter but had to hold on grimly at the end for their narrow victory.
Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje of England look dejected in defeat after the first test between and South Africa and England at Ellis Park on June 9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Debutant winger S’busiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi scored three tries between them but it was the return to the side of English-based scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and fullback Willie le Roux that propelled the home side to victory while condemning England to a fourth successive test defeat after they lost their Six Nations crown earlier this year.
England got off to a dream start as they eased through a leaky home defence and saw Mike Brown, Elliott Daly and George Farrell all score in a blistering start. Late tries from Maro Itoje and Jonny May allowed them to come close to snatching a win at the end.