16 Nov 2014

South Africa beat England, Wales edge Fiji

1:55 pm on 16 November 2014

South Africa have held off a fierce England fightback to triumph 31-28 at Twickenham and make it five rugby defeats in a row for the host nation, 10 months out from the World Cup.

England captain Chris Robshaw in discussion with New Zealand referee Steve Walsh

England captain Chris Robshaw in discussion with New Zealand referee Steve Walsh Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Springboks' dominance over the English is now out to 11 wins and a draw, dating back to 2006.

England dominated possession and territory in the first half but continually spilled the ball and gifted the Springboks a 13-6 half-time lead when Jan Serfontein intercepted a Danny Care pass for a 60-metre score and Pat Lambie collected two penalties.

South Africa stretched the lead to 20-6 when Willie le Roux brilliantly set up Cobus Reinach 38 seconds after the restart, only for England to roar back level with tries by David Wilson and Ben Morgan after driving mauls.

The Springboks then scored their own rolling maul try through Schalk Burger and the boot of Lambie gave them a cushion that meant Brad Barritt's last-minute try merely reduced England's margin of defeat.

Meanwhile Wales beat a valiant 14-man Fiji 17-13 in Cardiff.

The game was a precursor to next year when the two nations meet in the pool stages of the World Cup.

In an open first half, Wales scored unconverted tries through giant wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert and a converted penalty try following a collapsed maul to take a 17-6 lead into the break.

Fiji, whose response came courtesy of two Nemani Nadolo penalties, provided a number of dangerous moments through their typically expansive attacking rugby but were let down by a lack of composure and poor decision-making.

Fiji prop Campese Ma'afu was shown a yellow card in the 36th minute for a series of infringements and within six minutes of returning to the field was shown a second yellow card for a dangerous tug on Bradley Davies.

Despite their numerical advantage, Wales struggled to break down Fiji who defended with a steely resoluteness which was non-existent in the first half.

After Toby Faletau had a late try ruled out, Nadolo intercepted a stray pass to race 70 metres to score.

Elsewhere, France held on from a fast-finishing Australia to win 29-26 at Stade de France, while Japan began their European tour by edging Romania 18-13 in Bucharest.