Autumn international: England 37-21 South Africa
|Old Mutual Wealth Test series|
|England (20) 37|
|Tries: May, Lawes, Ford, Farrell Cons: Farrell 4 Pens: Farrell 2, Daly|
|South Africa (9) 21|
|Tries: Goosen, Le Roux Con: Combrinck Pens: Lambie 2 Drop-goal: Lambie|
England stretched their perfect record under Eddie Jones to 10 matches as they demolished a weary South Africa at a rain-soaked Twickenham.
First-half tries from Jonny May and Courtney Lawes were matched by a near-identical pair by George Ford and Owen Farrell in the second period to overwhelm the visitors.
England had failed to beat the Springboks in their previous 12 meetings over 10 years, but after a Grand Slam in spring and whitewash of Australia in summer, the autumn has begun with more history being made.
Inspired by a note-perfect display from scrum-half Ben Youngs, this performance was further undeniable evidence of the vast improvement made under the wily Jones.
Just over a year ago, England were knocked out of the World Cup they were hosting at the group stage, a mile away from competing with the best in the world.
Now only New Zealand are ranked ahead of them, that status entirely deserved despite the obvious room for further improvement.
May day in November
After an early penalty and drop-goal from South Africa's Pat Lambie, England showed their ambition, Ford using Elliot Daly as a decoy runner in midfield off quick line-out ball to put Marland Yarde and Mike Brown in space, May finishing in the corner with trademark speed on his return to the side.
But the Springboks' power was hurting England, with six penalties conceded in the first 20-odd minutes and clean line-breaks made by both props. Lambie's second three-pointer regained the lead for the visitors at 9-7.
Gradually, England found the balance between pragmatism and adventure. Youngs' kicking and sniping helped regain the initiative, Farrell landed a penalty and then the men in white struck again.
With the ball going through hands again Daly kicked long from inside his own half, May forced JP Pietersen into a fumble, Brown kicked on and second row Lawes dived on the loose ball as it rolled over the try-line.
Farrell added the conversion and then Daly marked the occasion of his first England start with a monstrous penalty from halfway for a lead of 20-9 at the interval.
Du Toit falls for a double dummy
Now it was England with the power, Billy Vunipola sucking in tacklers with his carrying, the Springboks' defence stretched and then fatally weakened.
Youngs spotted space around the fringes on the opposition 22, beat blind-side flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit with an outrageous dummy and found Ford on his right shoulder to put his fly-half away for their side's third try.
South Africa came into the match having lost four of their past five games, and shipped a half-century of points at home to the All Blacks in their last outing.
A breakaway try from replacement Johan Goosen briefly gave them hope, but when Youngs foxed Du Toit with a replica dummy to send Farrell away, England's authority was once again absolute.
Willie le Roux crossed late in the left-hand corner to underline England's need to tighten their defence.
But in difficult conditions, this was an accomplished display, and with Fiji in London next weekend, Jones will expect that flawless record to be extended further still.
Man of match: Ben Youngs
A perfect scrum-half's performance in conditions like this - precision box-kicking, snappy passes to his big ball-carriers, picking the ideal moments to snipe and break.
What they said
England captain Dylan Hartley: "There's plenty to work on, so that keeps us grounded. We conceded six penalties in the opening 20 minutes and that isn't good enough. But we're very happy to get that monkey off our back and I'm very proud of our guys."
South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss: "It was a very tough game, they were tactically very good and we couldn't deal with the high ball. We just couldn't put any pressure on the England team and we felt it the whole game. We'll have a hard look at ourselves on Monday and we'll fight back."
England host Fiji at Twickenham next Saturday at 14:30 GMT.
England: Brown; Yarde, Daly, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Lawes, Robshaw, Wood, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Care for Youngs (68), Marler for M Vunipola (63), George for Hartley (57), Hughes for Wood (54), Attwood for B Vunipola (73), Sinckler for Cole (73), Teo'o for Ford (73).
South Africa: Le Roux; Combrinck, Venter, De Allende, Pietersen; Lambie, Paige, Mtawarira, Strauss, Koch, Etzebeth, De Jager, Alberts, Du Toit, Whiteley.
Replacements: Mostert for Etzebeth (31), Goosen for Lambie (55), F de Klerk for Paige (63), Kitshoff for Mtawarira (56), Adriaanse for Koch (56), Carr for De Jager (68), Mbonambi for Strauss (74), Mapoe for Pietersen (78)
|Stats courtesy of ESPN|