Eddie Jones in verbal clash with Springboks fans after England loss

Henry Slade and Alex Lozowski

Coach Rassie Erasmus praised the Springboks' character following their come-from-behind 42-39 in the opening Test three-match series against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

"Credit to the new caps, because they didn't panic and showed they just wanted to play, so we chose to take control of the game and it worked", the loose forward added after his side overcame a 21-point deficit to triumph.

His reign began with back-to-back Six Nations triumphs in 2016 and 2017, including a Grand Slam in his first campaign, but Ireland deposed them as champions this year and they suffered defeats against Scotland, France, Ireland and the Barbarians before they set off for a three-Test series against South Africa this month.

The second half was dominated by the Springboks whose customary physicality was matched by a cutting edge in attack overseen by De Klerk and Le Roux, but it was the boot of Handre Pollard that did most of the scoreboard damage through three penalties.

"The frustration, for me, of not getting it quite right means that I just want to rip into it this week and if it was up to me we would be playing again tomorrow".

England could barely have made a better start as a monster 61-metre penalty by Daly was followed by a try that started from inside their own 22.

"When we managed to keep the ball, England were under the same stress we were early in the game".

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Hamilton, who came into the weekend leading the championship standings, came in fifth. His engine was six races old but Hamilton would have expected better.

"I'm really proud. There were a lot of mistakes, but character is something you can build on".

"We knew they were based in Durban and coming from the United Kingdom the altitude was going to be a factor", said De Klerk, who plays in the Premiership for Sale. "We were almost very, very good, so hopefully we can string a few things together and get that 80 minute performance next week". "That was our plan from the start but we didn't have the ball in the first 20 minutes".

He expected England to kick more but was caught out when the visitors attacked the wide channels with relative ease to open a 24-3 lead in the first quarter of the match.

"I think the altitude plays a part".

"When you have such a big number of players with very few Test caps, a lot of work will have to be done", said Erasmus. If we had lost, it would've created doubt, but it will be a bit easier now to get consistency in selection.

"They told me to go find it myself, so I'll have to go find it myself".

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