South Africa continued its domination of England by holding on for a 16-15 win in an international rugby Test match at Twickenham in London.
Willem Alberts scored the only try of the game and Pat Lambie kicked three penalties as South Africa extended its unbeaten run over England to 11 games. Owen Farrell booted three penalties and Toby Flood kicked two for the hosts.
“We were a bit fortunate, it was a hard-fought battle and it could have gone either way,” South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said in a news conference. “The defense from both sides was awesome.”
The autumn series of games in Europe will affect the seedings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The International Rugby Board rankings as of Dec. 3 will be used to band the 12 automatic qualifiers in the 20-team tournament in England, with the first four placed at the top of the five-team groups.
South Africa made it 10 victories in the past 11 with England on a rainy day at Twickenham. England earned a 14-14 draw when the teams last met in South Africa in June, ending a nine-game losing run in the series.
Flood kicked two penalties and Lambie booted three in the first half to give South Africa a 9-6 lead. Alberts then went over three minutes after the break, with Lambie converting, to push the Springboks’ advantage to 16-6.
Farrell kicked a pair of penalties to cut the deficit to 16-12. England won another penalty with just over a minute remaining and captain Chris Robshaw had Farrell attempt a kick instead of putting the ball into touch and going for a try.
Farrell made the kick to pull the host within a point, but England was unable to gather the ball on the restart and South Africa clinched the match.
“The players have to make decisions on the field,” England coach Stuart Lancaster said. “The purpose of having a captain in a team is that he makes decisions and the players back it and that’s what happened.”
England, which lost to Australia last week, closes its autumn schedule against New Zealand on Dec. 1.
Liam Meessam, Tony Woodcock and Luke Romano scored tries and Aaron Cruden kicked 18 points in place of injured Dan Carter in Cardiff as New Zealand handed Wales its sixth straight loss. The All Blacks extended their unbeaten run to 20 Test matches and also beat Wales for the 25th consecutive time.
Nick Cummins scored a try and Berrick Barnes booted three penalties as Australia held on for the win in Florence, Italy. Robert Barbieri touched down and Luciano Orquera kicked four penalties for Italy, which trailed 22-6 at the half.
Ireland ended a run of five straight Test defeats by beating Argentina. Jonathan Sexton and Tommy Bowe touched down twice each as Ireland ran in seven tries in Dublin. Sexton also kicked a penalty and three conversions to finish with 19 points.
Tukulua Lokotui and Fetu’u Vainikolo scored tries and Fangatapu Apikotoa kicked 10 points as Tonga secured its first win against Scotland. Greig Laidlaw accounted for the Scotland points with five penalties.
Frederick Michalak scored a try and finished with 19 points as France beat Samoa in Paris. The win gives France a sweep of its three-game autumn series after beating Australia and Argentina.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.