Rugby fans in Port Elizabeth were treated to an ordinary performance from the Spingboks last night as England fought to a 14 – 14 draw with the home team.
There was a lot of expectation before the game that the Boks would consolidate on what had been achieved in the previous two victories against the touring English team.
However, resolute defence from the English, more missed penalties from Morne Steyn and numerous handling errors from the Springboks saw a lack of momentum throughout the game.
The Bok supporters eventually had enough of the aimless kicking from Morne Steyn and started to boo the Bok flyhalf after yet another directionless kick when the Boks needed to keep the ball in hand and work for points in the last five minutes of the test match.
Springbok coach Heneke Meyer will have to take a hard look at his half back pairing as Ruan Pienaar brought a sharper edge to the game after replacing Francois Hougaard at the 50 minute mark.
The Bok pack also failed to dominate the English up front and some of the new players in the team did not match their performances of the first two tests against the English.
Marcel Coetzee was the exception and the young flanker put in another workmanlike effort and took the ball up strongly. His defence was also solid and Coetzee seems set for a bright international future for the Boks.
JP Pietersen had another good game on the right wing and also crossed the line for Boks only try of the game.
Brian Habana did not have many opportunities on attack while Gio Aplon also spend more time fielding the high balls rather than being on the front foot and running with ball in hand.
Frans Steyn was missed in midfield and his value to the team was highlighted by his absence in Port Elizabeth last night.
The series has been won 2 – 0 by the Springboks and there is no need for Heneke Meyer to panic.
However, it is clear that the Boks will have to up their game if they want to compete in the upcoming Rugby Championship with an All Black team who laid down the gauntlet yesterday with an ominous 60 – 0 victory over Ireland.