Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa taking an unassailable 2-0 lead over England in a rugby Test series relegated the World Cup in Russia to secondary positions in many Johannesburg Sunday newspapers.
“These Boks all Beasts” was the main back page headline in the Sunday Times and “Boks get another one over England” said the City Press.
“Boks dominate England” and “Character, composure the key” were The Sunday Independent headlines.
Television and radio sport bulletins also led with the Springboks’ triumph despite the huge popularity of the football World Cup in South Africa.
After two disastrous seasons under Allister Coetzee, there is hope that new coach Rassie Erasmus is steering the two-time world champions in the right direction.
South Africa recovered from a sluggish start in Bloemfontein to win 23-12 after staging a dramatic comeback in Johannesburg last weekend to triumph 42-39.
The final Test in Cape Town this Saturday will be a dead rubber with only pride at stake as England try to snap a five-Test losing streak that began in Scotland four months ago.
“Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira was active for just 45 minutes in his 100th Test before he was withdrawn from battle and it mattered little,” said the Sunday Times.
“The Springboks, frankly, had 22 other beasts lined up, willing and able to rip into England.
“They clinched the series in this at times brutal Test match and will travel to Cape Town with the luxury of spreading game time in their wider group.
“In a match of thunderous tackles, tetchiness crept in but boiling point was thankfully avoided.
“Again the Springboks had to summon courage and resilience after another lethargic start.
“They marginally bossed the collisions and England, although full of enterprise, were running on empty towards the end.”
City Press said: “In a performance led by the brute strength of man-of-the-match Duane Vermeulen, the Boks weathered yet another early storm from the visitors.
“The result was a first series win for Rassie Erasmus with the Cape Town match to spare, thanks to the sum of their parts and mature performances from his young charges.
“England were again left bemoaning their ill discipline and inability to hold a lead for their demise, which saw them fail to score a point in the second half.”
The Sunday Independent said: “The Boks scored 23 unanswered points in the final 56 minutes to render the third Test in Cape Town a largely academic affair.
“While the Boks were perhaps not as thrilling as they were in their comeback in the first game, this week they kicked well, chased strongly and defended brilliantly.
“They were also strong in the set pieces and, as requested by skipper Siya Kolisi, went the full distance.”