PLAYER RATINGS: Courtney Lawes puts in full-blooded performance

PLAYER RATINGS: Owen Farrell leads from the front as Courtney Lawes puts in another full-robust performance for beaten England while Handre Pollard spear-heads the fight back after Manie Libbok is hooked after just half an hour

  • It’s a sickening semi-final defeat for England in the dying moments of the game
  • Many England players will have played last ever World Cup for their country 
  • England 15-16 South Africa – Rugby World Cup semi-final RECAP after defeat

After a poor run of form leading up to the World Cup, many expected England to falter at the tournament and get knocked out easily.

But a stellar performance against South Africa tonight, bolstered by a strong kicking performance from Owen Farrell and excellent catching from Freddie Steward, has certainly made England fans proud. 

But despite their efforts, it wasn’t enough as Handre Pollard spear-headed a remarkable comeback for the Springboks.

And it was the South African ‘bomb squad’ of Snyman, Nche, Fourie and Koch that swung the momentum of the game.  

Mail Sport’s Adam Hathaway and Alex Bywater will now take you through who had a night to remember at the Stade de France and which players put in a performance to forget.

Flanker Courtney Lawes was tireless in defence and attack against the Springboks 

England’s captain Owen Farrell led from the front and scored a fantastic long-range drop goal

England Ratings

Freddie Steward – 7

Brought back to combat Springboks kicking threat, defused all the bombs they aimed at him

Jonny May – 7

Did his stuff defensively, with one incredible turnover, and supported England’s kicking game with pace.

Joe Marchant – 6

A revelation and, in one of the hardest positions to defend, held the South African midfield.

Manu Tuilagi – 7

Made his hits and dented South Africans where it hurt with ball in hand.

Elliot Daly – 6

Part of an excellent England kick chase game early on but a couple of fumbles marred his evening.

Owen Farrell – 7

The skipper led from the front and kept the scoreboard ticking with the boot. Great drop goal

Alex Mitchell  – 7

Mixed up his kicking game brilliantly in the first half, and was good with the boot defensively

Joe Marler – 7

Recalled to get England on front foot at scrum time and did not budge an inch at the set-piece.

Leicester’s Handre Pollard kicks the winning penalty kick that saw South Africa triumph

Manie Libbock suffered an off-night after he was substituted off at the 30 minute mark

Jamie George – 7

Went the distance in England’s last two games and the Saracen emptied the tank again.

Dan Cole – 7

Memories of 2019 nightmare were banished after the veteran stood up the Bok pack for 56 minutes.

Maro Itoje – 7

Won his battle with Etzebeth that saw the Springbok talisman taken off after 46 minutes.

George Martin – 7

A novice at international level but took it to the South African big boys physically.

Courtney Lawes – 8

Another full-blooded performance from the Test centurion, robust and great in line out.

Tom Curry – 7

Went off bleeding from the face but returned to take the fight to the Boks and got one over Kolisi.

Ben Earl  – 7

Was on the front foot with ball in hand but also on the front foot in defence and is growing.

Replacements: Ellis Genge (for Marler 52) 6, Kyle Sinckler (for Cole 56) 4, Ollie Chessum (for Martin 53) 6, Billy Vunipola (for Curry 33-39), Danny Care (for Mitchell 53) 6.

South Africa Ratings 

Willemse 3; Arendse 5, Kriel 6, De Allende 5, Kolbe 6; Libbok 2, Reinach 4; Kitshoff 5, Mbonambi 3, Malherbe 5, Etzebeth 4, Mostert 6, Kolisi (capt) 4, Du Toit 5, Vermeulen 5.

Replacements: Pollard (for Libbok 31) 8, Le Roux (for Willemse 44) 7, De Klerk (for Reinach 44) 8, Snyman (for Etzebeth 46) 7, Nche (for Kitshoff 49) 8, Fourie (for Kolisi 51) 7, Smith (for Vermeulen 51) 7, Koch (for Malherbe 56) 8.

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