England 28-31 South Africa

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer at Twickenham
Highlights: England 28-31 South Africa
England (6) 28
Tries: Wilson, Morgan, Barritt Pens: Farrell (2), Ford Cons: Farrell (2)
South Africa (13) 31
Tries: Serfontein, Reinach, Burger Pens: Lambie (3) Cons: Lambie (2) Drop goal: Lambie

England fell to their fifth consecutive defeat as South Africa profited from another disappointing display.

Trailing by 14 points early in the second half, England responded with back-to-back tries from driving mauls for David Wilson and Ben Morgan.

But a burrowing try from Schalk Burger and 13 points from the boot of fly-half Pat Lambie made it 12 matches in a row since England last beat the Springboks.

Despite their stirring fightback, England only seldom exerted any control, errors from half-back pairing Danny Care and Owen Farrell costing them at pivotal moments.

With just 10 matches to go until the World Cup, England's development as a team appears to have stalled, with the first serious questions being asked of the Stuart Lancaster regime.

Lambie opened the scoring with a straightforward penalty after Farrell's ill-judged decision to run from deep put his side in trouble, and a more serious error then gifted the visitors a more significant score.

Care, winning his 50th cap, threw a slow, telegraphed pass after a stodgy series of attempted drives and centre Jan Serfontein intercepted to race away and under the posts from 60 metres.

Lambie's conversion made it 10-0, and England were struggling - slow in thought, obvious in execution, Twickenham muted.

BBC Radio 5 live pundit Matt Dawson
"Over the 80 minutes, South Africa had control of the game. England had a purple patch when South Africa were down to 14 men and they scored two tries to level it at 20-20. But South Africa showed the composure you need in these pressure situations."

Dave Attwood cantered down the right but went alone with Anthony Watson free outside him, and Farrell then seemed caught in three minds as another period of pressure and territory was wasted.

Farrell and Lambie exchanged penalties on the half-hour, and although Farrell narrowed the deficit to 13-6, South Africa struck what appeared to be a critical blow immediately after the interval.

Lambie's clever kick over the rush defence was gathered by Willie le Roux, and the full-back drew the covering tackles of Mike Brown and Billy Vunipola before offloading beautifully for scrum-half Cobus Reinach to slide over.

Fourteen points down, England needed a quick response - and when Victor Matfield was sin-binned for bringing down a maul five metres out, the opportunity came.

England drove again off the line-out, the forwards smuggled the ball through cold hands and Wilson plopped under the posts before Farrell added a simple conversion.

It was only the start. From 45m out they set up another thundering driving maul, Springboks flying backwards, and replacement Morgan twisted and turned to barrel over for a second try in five minutes.

England coach Stuart Lancaster regrets 'missed opportunity'

From nowhere England were level, yet parity would be brief. South Africa set up a maul of their own and Burger, that weary old warrior, spun off the side to make it 25-20.

It should have been an eight-point lead when Dylan Hartley was controversially sin-binned for using his feet on a stray South African leg in another maul, but the visitors opted to kick for the corner and put it out on the full.

The unhappy Farrell was replaced by George Ford with 15 minutes to go, Ben Youngs coming on for Care, but before the young Bath fly-half could touch the ball Attwood was penalised again at a line-out and Lambie struck the three points.

Ford narrowed the gap again to just five, and then kicked for the corner from a second penalty 45m out.

But England lost the ball on their own throw and Ford put a subsequent kick out on the full to stem the momentum and noise.

From yet another maul Courtney Lawes was penalised, and South Africa marched down the other end to set up a series of eight rucks that ended with Lambie's drop-goal.

Brad Barritt's late try in the right corner made it a three-point game with seconds to go, but it was little but late and hollow consolation.

England: M Brown; A Watson, B Barritt, K Eastmond, J May; O Farrell, D Care; J Marler, D Hartley, D Wilson, D Attwood, C Lawes, T Wood, C Robshaw (capt), B Vunipola.

Replacements: R Webber, M Mullan, K Brookes, G Kruis, B Morgan, B Youngs, G Ford, M Yarde.

South Africa: W le Roux; JP Pietersen, J Serfontein, J de Villiers (capt), B Habana; P Lambie, C Reinach; T Mtawarira, A Strauss, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, V Matfield, M Coetzee, S Burger, D Vermeulen.

Replacements: B du Plessis, T Nyakane, C Oosthuizen, B Botha, T Mohoje, F Hougaard, H Pollard, C Hendricks.

Referee: S Walsh (Australia)

Touch judges: J Garces (France) and N Briant (New Zealand)

TMO: E Guazins (France)

Danny Care
Scrum-half Danny Care won his 50th cap for England
Jan Serfontein
Jan Serfontein intercepted Care's pass to canter home for South Africa's first try
David Wilson
Prop forward David Wilson scored England's first try early in the second half
England players
England suffered another defeat by three points after last weekend's loss against New Zealand