England player ratings: Steward and Slade crucial to dramatic victory


ngland snatched victory at the last after a gripping 80-minute encounter with South Africa as Marcus Smith struck a match-winning penalty in the final minute.

In the first meeting between the two sides since the 2019 World Cup final, England started the brighter of the two teams even after losing opening try-scorer Manu Tuilagi to injury.

South Africa fought back, though, dominating the second half and beginning to turn the screw as England’s ill-discipline threatened to take them out of the contest.

Yet Eddie Jones’ side clung on, and Smith’s strike gave Twickenham a chance to roar, and England a victory they perhaps did not deserve.

Harry Latham-Coyle was at Twickenham to see Eddie Jones’ side in action…


Utterly rock solid under the high ball, Steward continues to look totally at ease at international level. An appropriately punchy carry for his try having sashayed into space to make the initial break.

One of England’s top performers, as is becoming habit.

Forced into midfield by Tuilagi’s injury, and didn’t always look totally at home, but produced a telling burst to set up Quirke.

Simply delectable pass to put Steward into space in the build-up to the full-back’s score, and his wide ball to Tuilagi was efficiently executed under pressure, too.

A third crucial pass in the move for the third try, blindly throwing flat superbly at the line. One of his better performances in an England shirt.

One stretching of the legs was all Tuilagi could manage before making another injury-enforced exit. It was a valuable one, of course, putting England ahead in the corner, but his early departure perhaps portents yet more injury woe.

Struggled to get to grips with a game he was reasonably rarely involved in, fumbling and running aimlessly on occasion.

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