Danny Cipriani made the most of his opportunity – England coach Eddie Jones
Jones’ men secured a comprehensive win in the third and final Test against South Africa at Newlands.
Eddie Jones celebrated Danny Cipriani’s killer instinct as England’s fly-half engineered the critical moment in Saturday’s 25-10 victory over South Africa.
The series had already been surrendered but a comprehensive win in the third and final Test at Newlands finally brought an end to the five-Test losing run that began in the NatWest 6 Nations.
Owen Farrell was outstanding as he kicked 20 points but it was Cipriani’s exquisite chip into the corner for Jonny May to score that swept the match beyond the Springboks’ reach.
Cipriani, making his first Test start for a decade, was a peripheral figure until he set up May.
“I said before the game we might not have many opportunities and that Danny would possibly be good enough to take the opportunity we had and he did that,” Jones said.
“There was one opportunity for us to score a try. It was a beautifully weighted kick and we scored.”
Jones admitted that his enjoyment of England emerging from their worst barren spell since 2016 would only be brief.
“After every Test you either feel good or you feel bad. That lasts for about three or four hours, then you’re back on the treadmill again,” Jones said.
“I feel better than I did the first two weeks, but it’s all on again. We’d like to play South Africa next week because we’re coming to a peak now, so we’re trying to arrange a game at Twickenham for next week!
“I thought it was a great series of rugby. For the health of Test rugby, it was fantastic. The South African side are revitalised. They deserved to win the series but there were only small margins in it.”
A number of England players emerged with credit from the climax to the season, among them May, Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler.
The pack rediscovered their might after a passive first two Tests and in another about-turn, they were on the right side of a penalty count that read 14-6.
“We just handled the big moments better,” Jones said.
“If you look back at the last two Tests, in both Tests we put ourselves in a position to win the games, but when the pressure or the scoreboard has changed we haven’t handled those situations well.
“We kept our composure and focused on the next play. There was great leadership by the players out there and much better composure.
Disappointment to the #Springboks as their flag is lowered by @EnglandRugby at Newlands. Epic Series, well done to home side clinching series 2-1 @CastleLagerSA @FNBSA @MTNza #Springbokgameday pic.twitter.com/vLjDSbkEpN— South African Rugby (@Springboks) June 23, 2018
“Discipline is a matter of trusting your team-mates and trusting the system, not trying to solve everything by yourself. The team had been over-eager to play well.”
South Africa boss Rassie Erasmus lamented the first loss of his reign.
“We learnt a lot in this game, but it’s nicer to learn while you’re winning and not while you’re losing,” Erasmus said.
“We took some gambles and with the lack of combinations we have out there, this is more acceptable.”