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Toulon v Sale match report: Armitage brothers to the fore as Sharks suffer nine-try blitz

Toulon 62 Sale 0: Armitage brothers to the fore as Sharks blown away in nine-try blitz

PUBLISHED:

17:59 GMT, 16 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 16 December 2012

Sale suffered their heaviest Heineken Cup defeat as Toulon showed their title credentials with a crushing victory at Stade Felix Mayol.

The Top 14 leaders were sensational against the Aviva Premiership's bottom-placed side as they made it four wins from four in Pool Six.

The Armitage brothers, Steffon and Delon, were at the fore for the big-spending French outfit as the Sharks shipped nine tries in suffering a crushing loss.

Blitz: Sale's David Seymour is powerless to stop Toulon scrum half Frederic Michalak touching down near the post in the French side's resounding 62-0 win

Blitz: Sale's David Seymour is powerless to stop Toulon scrum half Frederic Michalak touching down near the post in the French side's resounding 62-0 win

No way through: Toulon's David Kubriashvili (centre) tries to break through a group of Sale players

No way through: Toulon's David Kubriashvili (centre) tries to break through a group of Sale players

Sale held firm for the first 30 minutes on the Cote D'Azur but they were cannon fodder after that as Jean-Charles Orioli, Freddie Michalak – who started ahead of Jonny Wilkinson – Joe van Niekerk (two), Davit Kubriashvili, Rudi Wolf and David Smith joined the Armitage boys on the scoreboard.

It was all Toulon in the early stages but they led just 3-0 after turning down a number of kickable penalties and being regularly rebuffed by a Sale side who initially refused to roll over.

Bakkies Botha appeared to have finally got the game's opening try as the match hit the 25-minute mark but the giant Springbok lock followed Steffon Armitage in seeing the TMO say 'no try' when referee Jon Lacey asked the question.

Delon Armitage then touched down out wide three minutes later only to see the score ruled out due to Matt Giteau's knock-on following a huge hit from Mark Cueto.

Dominant: Danny Cipriani tries to bring down Toulon's Samoan right wing David Smith

Dominant: Danny Cipriani tries to bring down Toulon's Samoan right wing David Smith

Dominant: Frederic Michalak was to the fore as Toulon ran in nine-try and inflicted Sale's heaviest European Cup defeat

Dominant: Frederic Michalak was to the fore as Toulon ran in nine-try and inflicted Sale's heaviest European Cup defeat

Sale finally cracked just past the half-hour, though, when hooker Orioli crashed over at the back of a driving maul. Former London Irish second row Nick Kennedy set the platform with a solid lineout take just five metres out and the rest of the pack completed the training ground exercise by powering forward at an impressive pace to give Orioli his chance.

Michalak added the extras for a 10-0 lead before Pierrick Gunther went close only to see the TMO again rule against Toulon as the pressure on the Sale pack continued to mount.

Michalak then showed his class to really dent Sale hopes four minutes before the break as he slipped outside Danny Cipriani's poor tackle from a five-metre scrum before ducking underneath Will Cliff's last-gasp effort to stretch over by the right-hand post.

The simple conversion pushed Toulon three scores clear at 17-0, leaving the game as good as dead by the interval despite Sale's superb rear-guard efforts in the opening 40 minutes.

Any thoughts Sale might have had of a remarkable comeback were ended just five minutes after the restart when Van Niekerk stepped past Rob Miller for his team's third try after a deft give and take from Steffon Armitage.

On the break: David Smith tries to escape the clutches of the Sale defence

On the break: David Smith tries to escape the clutches of the Sale defence

Grounded: Maxime Mermoz is brought to the floor by Danny Cipriani

Grounded: Maxime Mermoz is brought to the floor by Danny Cipriani

Toulon had the bonus point wrapped up by 50 minutes as Delon Armitage mirrored his brother in producing a wonderful offload to allow Kubriashvili to blast over while Fraser McKenzie was in the sin bin, with Michalak's third and fourth conversions making it 31-0 with nearly half an hour still to play.

Simon Shaw's yellow card threatened to halt Toulon's momentum but it made little difference as Steffon Armitage scored the try his all-round performance deserved as he crashed through Cipriani from two metres out after 58 minutes.

Delon then joined the party just moments later as he showed his footballing skills by chipping through three defenders, tapping on, picking up and diving over for Toulon's sixth score.

Michalak finally missed from the tee with his seventh attempt but he was back on target to claim a 20-point tally when Giteau's weaving run saw Van Niekerk add his second as Toulon hit 50 with 12 minutes left.

Rudi Wolf scored the eighth try after a fine pass from Wilkinson, before Smith completed the rout after picking up the former England star's kick ahead with the final play.

Toulouse 30 Ospreys 14

Toulouse 30 Ospreys 14: French side destroy Welsh opposition to lead Pool Two

PUBLISHED:

17:58 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:58 GMT, 8 December 2012

Toulouse put the Ospreys to the sword with a rampant second-half performance to take control of Pool Two in the Heineken Cup.

The four-time winners led just 12-7 at the interval thanks to quick-fire tries from Florian Fritz and Yannick Nyanga.

The Ospreys hit back with a try from Kahn Fotuali'i but the second half was a one-team affair as Vincent Clerc, Census Johnson, Yoann Huget all crossed over.

Touching down: Toulouse's winger Vincent Clerc scores a try

Touching down: Toulouse's winger Vincent Clerc scores a try

The visitors again responded with a try, this time from Ryan Bevington, but it was too little too late.

The victory sees the French giants stretch their lead at the top of the group to eight points with Leicester set to face Benetton Treviso tomorrow.

Luke McAlister fired an early penalty wide but Toulouse quickly established a lead thanks to Fritz.

The French hosts looked to launch an attack from the top of a lineout which broke down, but Fritz pounced on the loose ball and sliced through the Ospreys' defence.

McAlister slotted the conversion and seven minutes later they doubled their advantage.

Again, Toulouse were fortunate to capitalise on disarray at the lineout. Gary Botha overthrew and James King flapped the ball towards the Ospreys but it fell straight to Nyanga, who raced home.

But the Welsh region fought back, with ever-present Kahn Fotuali'i and Ashley Beck leading the charge.

And it was the in-form duo that manufactured the Ospreys' opening score. Beck put his side on the front foot with a strong charge that earned a penalty, Fotuali'i caught Toulouse off guard with a quick tap to race clear.

The Welsh region continued to pile on the pressure but Toulouse weathered the storm to go into the break leading 12-7.

Cheers: Yoann Huguet (centre) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try

Cheers: Yoann Huguet (centre) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try

But the French side came out firing following the break and their giant pack steamrolled the Ospreys.

They could have hit back within minutes of the restart as Toulouse flooded forward while chasing a McAlister chip but Fotuali'i intervened.

Toulouse continued to dominate and could have been awarded a penalty try following a succession of scrums, but the Ospreys survived and Justin Tipuric snatched a vital turnover.

But Toulouse were relentless and they came close once again after Medard collected McAlister's cross kick.

They were eventually rewarded for their hard work as Picamoles broke from the back of scrum.

The giant number eight charged towards the Ospreys before releasing Burgess with an offload. Clerc received the ball out wide with plenty of work to do, but he rounded Eli Walker to squeeze in the corner.

McAlister failed to add the conversion but Toulouse did not let up with Picamoles continuing to run riot.

Just the ticket: Florian Fritz scores a try for the French side

Just the ticket: Florian Fritz scores a try for the French side

After receiving the ball from Albacete he drew in three defenders before sending Johnson over in the same corner.

Doussain faired no better than McAlister from the touchline but the try had sealed the bonus point and established a commanding 22-7 lead.

And there was still time for a fifth try with Doussain and Medard combining for Huget to dance through the Ospreys defence.

To their credit the Welsh region refused to throw in the towel and they hit back with a score of their own as Bevington and Tipuric combined with a football style one-two for the prop to crash over.

Matthew Morgan converted but the try was merely a consolation and Toulouse rubbed salt into their wounds with a Doussain penalty at the death.

Thomas Waldrom, Tom Johnson and Charlie Sharples dropped from England side

Ruthless Lancaster axes Waldrom, Johnson and Sharples ahead of Springboks clash

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UPDATED:

00:35 GMT, 21 November 2012

Stuart Lancaster set about a radical overhaul of his England side in response to the defeat to Australia, by dropping three starting players from that game right out of his match-day squad for the showdown with South Africa on Saturday.

In an attempt to ‘freshen up’ the national team, the head coach has instigated a brutal shake-up which could ultimately lead to one-third of the first-choice line-up being changed for the visit of the Springboks.

Thomas Waldrom, Tom Johnson and Charlie Sharples, who all began the game against the Wallabies, have been released back to their clubs to lick their wounds, as Lancaster and his assistants strive to revive their pack in particular.

No place: England wing Charlie Sharples has been sent back to Gloucester

No place: England wing Charlie Sharples has been sent back to Gloucester

ENGLAND (probable):

A Goode; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, M Brown; T Flood, D Care; A Corbisiero, T Youngs, D Cole; G Parling or T Palmer, J Launchbury; T Wood, B Morgan, C Robshaw (capt).

Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan will replace Waldrom at the base of the scrum, following a hat-trick of tries for his club last weekend, while Harlequins full back Mike Brown is poised to slot in on the left flank, in place of Sharples. The return of Tom Wood at blindside flanker, taking over from Johnson, had already been widely anticipated.

Elsewhere up front, Alex Corbisiero will – as expected – replace the injured Joe Marler at loosehead prop, while the retention of four locks suggests that one of Geoff Parling and Tom Palmer is struggling to shake off a knock. Wasps rookie Joe Launchbury is on stand-by to start while Mouritz Botha may be handed a replacement role. James Haskell will provide back-row cover on the bench.

Dropped: Thomas Waldrom has gone back to Leicester and won't play against South Africa

Dropped: Thomas Waldrom has gone back to Leicester and won't play against South Africa

There will be markedly less modification to the back line. With Brown destined to start, Jonathan Joseph of London Irish is back in the match-day ranks as a replacement able to cover centre or wing.

Meanwhile, Eben Etzebeth is free to play against England on Saturday after being cleared of eye-gouging at a disciplinary hearing tonight, the South African Rugby Union have announced.

The Springbok lock was cited for allegedly making contact with the 'eye or eye area' of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw in the second half of Saturday's 21-10 victory at Murrayfield.

The South African Rugby Union announced the verdict on their official Twitter page, saying: 'Good news on Eben Etzebeth – he's not guilty and free to play against England on Saturday.'

Joe Launchbury on his England call-up

Grounded Launchbury has no intention of being left on the shelf after England call-up

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 8 November 2012

Joe Launchbury has revealed how he has gone from a supermarket shelf-stacker to England rugby international in only three years.

The 21-year-old spent five months working in a Horsham shop to fund a student gap year after he failed to gain a professional contract at Harlequins.

But his rugby took off again when he was signed up by ex-Wasps prop Will Green, who was coaching at Worthing in National League Two, and the 6ft 6 lock has never looked back.

He is now set to make his England debut in Saturday’s international as a substitute if required by head coach Stuart Lancaster.

Call-up: Joe Launchbury is in the England squad to face Fiji

Call-up: Joe Launchbury is in the England squad to face Fiji

‘It’s been a crazy few days,’ Launchbury admitted after Lancaster revealed his squad.

‘If someone had told me last Sunday, after finishing the game for Wasps at Saracens, my next game would be for England at Twickenham then I would not have believed them.’

Launchbury was called into the squad on Monday because of injury doubts over Wasps colleague Tom Palmer.

Though Palmer recovered from a calf strain to take up his place, Lancaster has kept Launchbury in the squad after deciding he would be the substitute lock ahead of Saracens’ Mouritz Botha.

‘Stuart has told me to treat it like any other game and not to worry that you are playing in front of 80,000 people.’

Stern test: Launchbury (right) attempts to grapple with Joe Marler

Stern test: Launchbury (right) attempts to grapple with Joe Marler

Lancaster had earmarked Launchbury for honours last May and took him on England’s tour to South Africa only for a knee injury to force the player to be sent home.

‘I was not the easiest person to live with last summer,’ Launchbury explained. ‘It was very disappointing not to get a game on the tour.’

As for the shelf-stacking, Launchbury confided the humble job had given him a good insight into every-day life.

‘I now know what can happen if rugby does not work out. For me to have this here (the England squad) is fantastic and I don’t want to go back to stacking shelves.

‘I did it for three or four months while I was on a gap year. It was to earn some money before I went travelling but the rugby started up and I never went off.’

Green signed up Launchbury, who was then 18, to play for Worthing and was so impressed that he quickly recommended the versatile forward to his old club of Wasps who gave him an opportunity in A league games.

Launchbury had just lost out on a professional contract at Harlequins after playing in the club’s academy while at Christ's Hospital School, Horsham.

‘Looking back it was the right decision (by Quins) because it really drove me and made me really get motivated. I joined Worthing and got back into the swing of things to play rugby.’

Mako Vunipola to be called up to England squad for autumn internationals

EXCLUSIVE: Saracens prop Vunipola set for surprise England call-up

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 20 October 2012

England head coach Stuart Lancaster will spring a surprise this week by calling up Saracens prop Mako Vunipola for next month’s QBE international series.

The uncapped 21-year-old from a Tongan family has forced his way into England’s 32-man squad courtesy of a brilliant start to the season.

The inclusion of the 20st forward, who was born in New Zealand, will also add to England’s growing contingent of overseas-born players, with the likes of Dylan Hartley, Brad Barritt, Mouritz Botha and Manu Tuilagi already mainstays in the squad.

Shock: Vunipola (second right) is expected to be selected by Stuart Lancaster

Shock: Vunipola (second right) is expected to be selected by Stuart Lancaster

With loosehead Alex Corbisiero out injured and unavailable for at least the first Tests against Fiji and Australia, Vunipola will join props Dan Cole, Joe Marler and David Wilson in the elite squad.

Vunipola, who is qualified to play for England, Tonga, New Zealand and Wales, has moved ahead of Wilson in the pecking order and looks certain to be selected in the squad for the November 10 Twickenham clash against Fiji.

It is a meteoric rise for Vunipola, who impressed when playing for the Grand Slam-winning England Under-20s team but who endured a torrid first year at Saracens after joining from Bristol, which saw him miss much of the season due to a broken metatarsal and then a torn hamstring.

Crocked: Alex Corbisiero (centre) is out injured

Crocked: Alex Corbisiero (centre) is out injured

This season he has been at the forefront of Sarries’ impressive start, both in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe, and it is this form, coupled with Corbisiero’s injury, which will see him promoted from the Saxons.

Vunipola’s 19-year-old brother, Billy, has stood out as a back-rower for England age groups and London Wasps. The pair have a rich rugby heritage in their family. Their father, Fe’ao, captained Tonga and won 32 caps, while they have six uncles and a grandfather who all played for the South Sea island.

Leicester’s Tom Youngs will also leap from the Saxons into the senior squad to replace injured Bath hooker Rob Webber.

Saracens 9 Leicester 9: Toby Flood outshines Owen Farrell

Saracens 9 Leicester 9: Flood outshines Farrell as title contenders share spoils at Wembley

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 15 September 2012

Former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson went from hero to villain as the battle of the Red Rose No 10s past and present ended in stalemate at Wembley.

After replacing the woefully off-colour Owen Farrell early in the second half Hodgson's kicking – both from the tee and in open play – dragged Saracens back into the game.

However, after kicking two penalties in quick succession to level proceedings, the 31-year-old was off target with a last-gasp drop goal in front of the posts.

Close call: Flood (above) and Hodgson (below) both missed late drop goal attempts

Close call: Flood (above) and Hodgson (below) both missed late drop goal attempts

Close call: Flood (above) and Hodgson (below) both missed late drop goal attempts
MATCH FACTS

Saracens: Pens: Farrell, Hodgson 2.

Saracens: Goode, Ashton, Tomkins, Barritt, Short, Farrell, de Kock, Vunipola, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Botha, Brown, Wray, Joubert.

Replacements: Wyles for Short (60), Hodgson for Farrell (52), Wigglesworth for de Kock (52), Gill for Vunipola (66), Smit for Brits (66), Du Plessis for Nieto (48), Hargreaves for Botha (65), Fraser for Wray (71).

Leicester: Pens: Flood 3.

Leicester: Murphy, Hamilton, Tuilagi, Allen, Goneva, Flood, Harrison, Mulipola, T Youngs, Cole, Kitchener, Parling, Mafi, Salvi, Waldrom.

Replacements: Smith for Murphy (15), Stankovich for Mulipola (64), Chuter for T. Youngs (71), Castrogiovanni for Cole (50), Crane for Waldrom (62).

Not Used: Andrew, Phibbs, Ford.

Another England fly-half, Toby Flood,
kicked the three penalties that had seemingly put Leicester on course
for victory but the Tigers pivot was also off-target with a drop-goal
attempt with the last kick of the game as the points were shared.

The place-kicking battle started early, with Flood successful with two penalties inside the first six minutes.

Sarries barely got out of their own half early on but slowly came into
the match and could have reduced the deficit on 10 minutes.

But in a sign of what was to follow in a dismal first half for Farrell,
making his first start of the season, the 20-year-old dragged his effort
wide – the first of four misses from five attempts.

Leicester skipper Geordan Murphy was forced off through injury after 14
minutes, replaced by Matt Smith, before Farrell failed to take advantage
with his next penalty attempt – dragging his effort off target from 40
metres.

The Tigers slowly took a grip on the game and enjoyed an impressive
spell of possession, Vereniki Goneva and Scott Hamilton nearly linking
up to produce the first try but for the timely intervention of Alex
Goode on the left wing.

Bad day at the office: Farrell (right) is consoled by captain Steve Bortwick after missing another penalty

Bad day at the office: Farrell (right) is consoled by captain Steve Bortwick after missing another penalty

Despite sustained pressure they had to settle for a penalty, Flood
extending the lead to nine with his third success on the half-hour mark.

Farrell finally got himself off the mark with his fourth penalty attempt
on 34 minutes but he was wayward again with the last kick of the first
half to leave the margin at 9-3.

Sarries kept the faith with their misfiring fly-half in the early stages
of the second half but Hodgson joined the fray in the 51st minute and
seconds later succeeded where Farrell had failed.

Powerhouse: Manu Tuilagi bursts through for Leicester

Powerhouse: Manu Tuilagi bursts through for Leicester

The former Sale No 10 – who retired from international duty in the
summer – kicked Sarries to victory against his old club last week and he
found his range immediately after Tigers were penalised for coming in
at the side.

The scores were level before the hour mark when Hodgson made it two from
two. Julian Salvi did not roll away quickly enough and the 31-year-old
duly slotted the penalty to set up a grandstand finish.

Leicester had the next chance to restore their lead on 68 minutes but
Flood pulled his kickable penalty attempt wide for his first miss of the
day at a most inopportune moment.

Title contenders: The two sides met in last season's play-off semi-final

Title contenders: The two sides met in last season's play-off semi-final

Title contenders: The two sides met in last season's play-off semi-final

Sarries wasted a chance on the counter-attack after some quick thinking
by Goode, Richard Wigglesworth knocking on with a gap looking to have
opened up.

A Saracens turnover and a kick ahead from Hodgson forced Leicester to
concede a line-out within metres of their line heading into the last
five minutes.

Safe line-out ball allowed Sarries to set-up the replacement fly-half
with a drop-goal attempt in front of the posts but Hodgson sliced it
wide.

Leicester got themselves down the other end of the field to give Flood
his chance to be the hero but his effort was just wide as the points
were shared.

Centre of attention: Brad Barritt takes on Scott Hamilton

Centre of attention: Brad Barritt takes on Scott Hamilton

Graeme Smith left out of South Africa Twenty20 squad

Smith left out of South Africa squad for World Twenty20

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UPDATED:

13:01 GMT, 9 August 2012

Test captain Graeme Smith is the highest-profile omission from South Africa's final 15-man squad for September's World Twenty20.

The powerful opening batsman missed the cut as the Proteas trimmed down their 30-man provisional squad.

Left out: South Africa's Test captain Graeme Smith batting in the Headingley Test last week

Left out: South Africa's Test captain Graeme Smith batting in the Headingley Test last week

Captain AB De Villiers is joined in the party by all-rounder Jacques Kallis and fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, after all four sat out June's triangular T20 series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD

AB de Villiers (capt), HM Amla, F
Behardien, J Botha, JP Duminy, F du Plessis, JH Kallis, RE Levi, JA
Morkel, M Morkel, JL Ontong, WD Parnell, RJ Peterson, DW Steyn, LL
Tsotsobe.

Marchant de Lange is absent from the bowling attack due to injury, while batsmen Colin Ingram and David Miller have been overlooked.

There is also no place for wicketkeeper Morne van Wyk, meaning De Villiers is certain to take the gloves as well as leading the side.

Selection convener Andrew Hudson said: 'We were not able to consider Marchant de Lange through injury but we are confident that our squad will be very competitive and make South Africa proud.

'We have had basically the same squad together for the past year and many of them also produced stand-out performances at the Indian Premier League (IPL).'

South Africa 14 England 14: Lancaster"s young team finish tour on a high

South Africa 14 England 14: Lancaster's young troops finish tour on a high

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UPDATED:

20:06 GMT, 23 June 2012

England will see parity with South Africa as just reward after a tour that may lack Test match wins
but not character for a squad still so young and inexperienced.

Owen Farrell’s 72nd-minute penalty means that England avoided a 10th successive defeat by South
Africa, and although a draw ultimately frustrated both teams, Stuart Lancaster’s players return home with evidence of a depth of talent below their first XV.

Danny joy: Care dives over

Danny joy: Care dives over

MATCH FACTS

South Africa: Habana; Steyn, Hougaard (Pienaar 50min); Mtawarira, B du Plessis (A Strauss 62), J du Plessis (Kruger 75), Etzebeth, Kruger, Coetzee, Potgieter, Spies. Substitutes (not used): Van der Merwe, Kankowski, Basson, Jantjies.

England: Goode; Ashton, Joseph (Barritt 65), Tuilagi, Foden; Flood (Farrell 27), Care; Marler, Hartley, Cole, Palmer (Botha 65), Parling, Johnson (Dowson 65), Haskell,
Waldrom.
Substitutes (not used): Mears, Doran Jones, Dickson, Barritt.

Referee: S Walsh (ARU).

They went to Port Elizabeth looking
to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash but the odds were stacked against them
after a string of changes forced by injury or an untimely loss of form.

Most interestingly, Danny Care replaced Ben Youngs after a season that began with injury ruling him
out of the World Cup and then a series of alcohol-related incidents that
saw him thrown out of Lancaster’s Six Nations squad. His form for
Harlequins and in the midweek matches here earned him a further shot at
redemption.

The 25-year-old scrum-half gratefully took his chances, scoring a neat first-half try from a quick
tapped penalty and marshalling his side superbly.

He said: ‘We defended really well and
stopped a couple of near-certain tries. Of course we’d have preferred a
win but, overall, it’s been a fantastic series against an excellent
Springbok side.’

Catch up: Juandre Kruger (right) and Gio Aplon attempt to get hold of the loose ball

Catch up: Juandre Kruger (right) and Gio Aplon attempt to get hold of the loose ball

Foot forward: Francois Hougaard of South Africa kicks the ball upfield

Foot forward: Francois Hougaard of South Africa kicks the ball upfield

Up in the air: England's James Haskell tries to catch the ball

Up in the air: England's James Haskell tries to catch the ball

South Africa had made three changes,
with the impressive Willem Alberts and Pat Lambie injured while Frans
Steyn chose this day to get married. But this was nothing compared with
England, who had lost their effective captain Chris Robshaw, double try
scorer from last week’s defeat in Johannesburg Youngs, and winger David
Strettle to injury, and then dropping No 8 Ben Morgan and lock Mouritz
Botha.

It meant that Alex Goode would make his first start at full-back and Thomas Waldrom his first at No 8,
while James Haskell’s appearance would be his first in England colours
since appearing from the bench during England’s World Cup quarter-final
defeat by France last October.

South Africa v England Third Test ratings

After last week’s shocking start at Ellis Park, where England conceded three tries in the opening 18
minutes, England had to quell early Springbok fire. They did better than
that, winning an impressive first scrum and when Pierre Spies, winning
his 50th cap for South Africa, was penalised, England’s Toby Flood,
another winning his 50th cap, slotted home the second-minute penalty.

He missed a further chance two
minutes later although seemed affected by an injury, and when Steyn
found the target with a seventh-minute penalty after an England offside
it was all square.

Pile up: South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira, center, with teammate Eben Etzebeth, right, tackled by England's James Haskell, left,

Pile up: South Africa's Tendai Mtawarira, center, with teammate Eben Etzebeth, right, tackled by England's James Haskell, left,

On the run: South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers, centre, attacks against England defence

On the run: South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers, centre, attacks against England defence

In your face: South Africa's Jacques Potgieter, left, takes on Owen Farrell, right,

In your face: South Africa's Jacques Potgieter, left, takes on Owen Farrell, right,

Hold on: England's Alex Goode (R) tackles South Africa's Gio Aplon

Hold on: England's Alex Goode (R) tackles South Africa's Gio Aplon

England roared back after Tom Palmer, in for Botha, palmed down Steyn’s attempted clearance and,
from a penalty, Care took the decision to take a quick tap. He had options outside him but put his
head down and drove through two South African defenders to score. The
12th-minute try was confirmation that his troubles seem to be behind
him.

Flood missed the conversion and
hobbled off to be replaced by Owen Farrell before a Steyn penalty cut
England’s lead to two points.

Farrell had the chance to kick three
points but, in worsening conditions, decided instead to kick for the
corner in a move that came to nothing. A further grub kick and chip also
failed to work as South Africa got more into it in the swirling Eastern
Cape rain, and it was no surprise when a 28th-minute Steyn penalty gave
them the lead.

Farrell’s eventful night continued
when he left the field briefly, pointing angrily at some Boks with the
back of his head covered in blood. It also prompted captain Dylan
Hartley, leading the side in Robshaw’s absence, to complain to referee
Steve Walsh. England were clinging on but managed
to keep the deficit to a single point at the break.

England's Thomas Waldrom

Toby Flood of England limps off the field

Joy and pain: Thomas Waldrom (left) impressed but Toby Flood (right) limped off

Big men: James Haskell of England is tackled by Jean de Villiers

Big men: James Haskell of England is tackled by Jean de Villiers

Within five minutes of the restart
England were back in front after Chris Ashton’s huge hit on Gio Aplon
gave Farrell the chance to stroke home the resulting penalty.

Despite England’s lead, the momentum
remained with the Springboks, especially when Hartley was sinbinned for
killing the ball in the 50th minute.

An out-of-sorts Steyn missed the
penalty but England, minus their hooker and captain, turned to prop Joe
Marler to throw in the lineouts until Lee Mears appeared from the bench,
Manu Tuilagi to act as openside with Tom Johnson off and Palmer to lead
his country.

England rugby fan

South Africa's rugby fan

Incredibly, England survived the
10-minute period with 14 men without conceding, but within moments of
Hartley’s return JP Pietersen touched down in the corner after Johnson’s
gamble to come out of
defence failed. Steyn missed the conversion.

England were not finished, though. With eight minutes remaining a Farrell penalty drew the scores
level and this time they managed to hold on, but not before Steyn’s 75th minute drop-goal attempt drifted wide.

Farrell even had a slim chance of a long-range drop-goal in the dying seconds, too, but he scuffed
it wide.

South v England Third Test ratings

LIVE: South Africa v England rugby – Third Test in Port Elizabeth

LIVE: South Africa v England – All the action from the final Test in Port Elizabeth

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UPDATED:

15:12 GMT, 23 June 2012

SOUTH AFRICA 3 ENGLAND 3

South Africa: Aplon, Pietersen, de Villiers, Olivier, Habana, M. Steyn, Hougaard, Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, J. du Plessis, Etzebeth, J. Kruger, Coetzee, Potgieter, Spies.
Replacements: Strauss, W. Kruger, van der Merwe, Kankowski, Pienaar, Jantjies, Basson.

England: Goode, Ashton, Joseph, Tuilagi, Foden, Flood, Care, Marler, Hartley, Cole, Palmer, Parling, Johnson, Haskell, Waldrom.
Replacements: Mears, Doran-Jones, Botha, Dowson, L. Dickson,
Farrell, Barritt.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

16.10: SOUTH AFRICA 3 ENGLAND 3

England are penalised, and Morne Steyn makes them pay with a fine penalty.

16.08: A poor penalty from Flood this time. It is from some distance, but both direction and strength are below par.

16.06: England are really taking it to the Springboks here. This is how it needs to be from Stuart Lancaster's men, they must try to unsettle the hosts.

16.04: SOUTH AFRICA 0 ENGLAND 3

Toby Flood is in front of the posts, and he makes no mistake. England claim an early lead.

16.03: Some nice early play from England, Care and Tuilagi are involved in a decent move, and they are awarded an early penalty.

16.02: We're under way, so we are. England kick off as they bid to end the series on a high.

16.00: The anthems are sung with gusto. Goodness, this is bringing back personal memories for me of being at the football World Cup in South Africa two years ago. Where does the time go Where, I ask you We're almost ready to get going here folks.

15.57: The hosts now make their entrance too, and we have a brief silence in memory of the former South African Test player Dolf Bekker, who died this week.

15.55: The England team make their entrance into this quite magnificent stadium.

15.50: South Africa have taken this series by storm, and are 2-0 up in this series. What price a whitewash

15.45: What a year it has been for English rugby. This is how rugby correspondent Chris Foy summed it up.

There have been 16 Tests, two
coaching regimes, several retirements, resignations and dismissals, one
damaging, prolonged period of blood-letting and in-fighting, belated
apologies, botched recruitment operations, famous victories and dire
defeats.

This has been the season when
England’s rugby team veered into soap-opera territory for a time, with
dwarf-tossing, bungee-jumping, heavy-drinking, ferry-leaping
controversies. Then came the clean-up process, overseen by Lancaster as
the interim head coach who became a permanent one.

15.40: I've just seen the teams. Let me share them with you. No, I insist.

South Africa: Aplon, Pietersen, de Villiers, Olivier, Habana, M. Steyn, Hougaard, Mtawarira, B. du Plessis, J. du Plessis, Etzebeth, J. Kruger, Coetzee, Potgieter, Spies.
Replacements: Strauss, W. Kruger, van der Merwe, Kankowski, Pienaar, Jantjies, Basson.

England: Goode, Ashton, Joseph, Tuilagi, Foden, Flood, Care, Marler, Hartley, Cole, Palmer, Parling, Johnson, Haskell, Waldrom.
Replacements: Mears, Doran-Jones, Botha, Dowson, L. Dickson,
Farrell, Barritt.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

15.30: Good day, good day. With all the sport going around, I'm almost losing track. But amid all the Euro 2012, Wimbledon and Olympics hoopla here is some more rugger for you. It's the final Test of England's long year.

Getting ready: Graham Rowntree keeps an eye on the England scrum during training on Friday

Getting ready: Graham Rowntree keeps an eye on the England scrum during training on Friday

South Africa 36 England 27: – Match report

South Africa 36 England 27: Lancaster's men stage brave fightback but not enough to save series

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UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 16 June 2012

England put up a spirited fight back against South Africa in Johannesburg but it was too little too late as they lost the second Test and with it the series.

South Africa went 22-3 down after just 20 minutes and were 25-10 behind at the break, which left England a mountain to climb in the second half.

But England came back into the game after the break thanks to a try from Ben Youngs and the boot of Toby Flood, but it was not enough as they were still 36-27 down at full time.

More to follow…

Down and out: England look dejected as referee as they lost the second Test and the series

Down and out: England look dejected as referee as they lost the second Test and the series

On the charge: England's Manusamoa Tuilagi runs with the ball

On the charge: England's Manusamoa Tuilagi runs with the ball

Brought down: Tuilagi is tackled by South Africa's Marcell Coetzee

Brought down: Tuilagi is tackled by South Africa's Marcell Coetzee

Good catch: JP Pietersen takes a high ball as Mouritz Botha challenges

Good catch: JP Pietersen takes a high ball as Mouritz Botha challenges

Diving over: Toby Flood scores for England

Diving over: Toby Flood scores for England

Stop there: Ben Foden is stopped in his tracks

Stop there: Ben Foden is stopped in his tracks

Diving save: Bryan Habana is tackled by Ben Foden

Diving save: Bryan Habana is tackled by Ben Foden