A slight case of deja-vu overcame England once again in the second Test of their Tour of South Africa.
Eddie Jones’ team bulldozed their way into an early 24-3 lead over South Africa in the first Test last weekend, before the Springboks scored 26 unanswered points to lead 29-24 at the break. England would go on to lose 42-39, with today’s second game in Bloemfontein representing a chance for the hosts to put the Series to bed.
Again, they didn’t start well. Some fine attacks were repelled by the English, before Mike Brown and Jonny May went over for an early 12-0 lead after 13 minutes.
May’s try was particularly impressive, with multiple English backs just keeping the ball in play with some tense hand offs, finding a marauding May out on the right.
That would herald the end of England’s contribution to the scoreboard though, with over 65 minutes left in the game.
Duane Vermulen went over in the 24th, beautifully sidestepping two opposing players in the process. After a conversion and two penalties, South Africa led 13-12 at half time.
A penalty try in the 50th minute, along with a conversion and penalty from Handré Pollard, saw Rassie Erasmus’ charges prevail 23-12, winning the Series with a match to spare.
England’s Ben Youngs was understandably disappointed with the result and performance, but his reaction when being interviewed by Sky Sports got short shrift from those present in the broadcaster’s studio (via RugbyLAD on Twitter).
After a short and sour statement, he left.
What’s going on here?
Ben Youngs wasn’t up for chatting following England’s loss to South Africa. pic.twitter.com/ZUbomrkcwa
— RugbyLAD (@RugbyLAD7) June 16, 2018
— Ricky (@Rickstar72) June 16, 2018
The reaction on Twitter itself has been seething, and the likes of Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne and pundit Will Greenwood were none too pleased with his conduct either.
Greenwood called it “siege mentality”, while Payne commended interviewer Gail Davis for keeping her composure.
“They’re not going to make a lot of friends are England, if they don’t front up and answer simple questions. I understand that England are in a hole but it’s evidently beginning to get to them somewhat”, Payne blasted.
“It’s very sad to see that”, Greenwood lamented. “It’s not like Ben at all. Just totally disrespectful of Gail, who was asking a pretty simple question. It’s all part of the game. You can be disappointed about losing these big Test matches, but you’re representing your country. There’s children and families watching at home. A shame to see that.”
“I didn’t like that at all”, Clive Woodward added. “It’s actually taken away from the match. for me.”