SA v England III: Big-match special
The SuperSport.com team was in Port Elizabeth today to bring you all the action as South Africa and England met in the final test of the Castle Series.
Our two senior correspondents, Brenden Nel and Gavin Rich, brought you a good-as-there experience from the magnificent Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Our coverage included text updates of the build-up, video, live streaming, a Q&A session and live text commentary.
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15:00 - Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the final test of the Castle series between South Africa and England. Conditions inside the stadium is very good at the moment, but there is rain predicted for later this afternoon. We'll keep you updated throughout the build-up.
15:05 - A lot of talk in lead-up to the test centered around hometown debutant Jacques Potgieter. This time last year he was in the stands as a supporter, today he'll run out with the hallowed green-and-gold in front of his family and friends. We caught up with Jacques to find out how he feels about his big day:
15:10 - It is always such a pleasure to come to Port Elizabeth to cover a test. It is not often that the singing of the national anthem is almost as much of a highlight as the actual match, but that is what this stadium is known for. The town itself is completely decked out in green-and-gold since early this morning, and the atmosphere is electric.
15:20 - To interact with our in-studio panel of Xola, Nick, Naas and Hanyani, please make use of our facebook page or make use of the hashtag #ssrugby on twitter. Selected comments will feature on air and on this page.
15:30 - Here are all the stats that matter ahead of the match:
- The Springboks have won the last nine consecutive Tests against England. This is a new record for South Africa against England. New Zealand is the only other country that had nine consecutive wins against England.
- This Test will only be the second to be played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The Springboks beat New Zealand here last year in the Castle Tri-Nations by 18-5. Morné Steyn scored all points on that occasion with five penalty goals and one drop goal.
- South Africa and England have only met once before in Port Elizabeth – in 1984, when the Springboks won 33-15 in the first of two Tests against John Scott’s England side.
- Bryan Habana is South Africa’s most capped Springbok wing with 75 Tests and also most experienced player in the squad with 76 Test caps. He is the Springboks’ top try scorer with 40 career tries in Tests (all scored as a wing). He also holds the Springbok record for most career tries in Tests against England, with six. Bryan has played in 10 Tests against England.
- Morné Steyn is South Africa’s top try scorer as a flyhalf with seven career tries. Morné will equal Butch James’ record for most capped Springbok flyhalf – 37. This Test will be Morné’s 25th consecutive Test of which only one appearance was not at flyhalf. Only five Springboks have played in more than 25 consecutive Test matches before.
- In the only Test at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Morné Steyn scored all points against the All Black in last year’s Castle Tri-Nations Test – 18. He needs 13 points in this Test to replace Braam van Straaten in second place for most points in Tests against England.
- Bismarck du Plessis is South Africa’s top try scorer in Tests as a hooker with six Test tries.
- Pierre Spies will play in his 50th test for South Africa. He is South Africa’s most capped No. 8 with 44 Tests in this position. Pierre holds the record for most Test tries as a No 8, with seven.
- Jean de Villiers will play in his 75th Test for South Africa. It will also be his 60th cap as centre. Jean scored his 20th Test try for the Springboks in Durban two weeks ago against England.
- Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will play together in their record 23rd Test as brothers.
- Jacques Potgieter will be South Africa’s 834th Springbok. It is appropriate that he will make his Test debut in Port Elizabeth, his place of birth.
15:40 - The first action on the field today is a bit of local tag rugby. Must be quite an experience for the youngsters involved. Good news is that there is still no sign of the predicted rain, let's hope this holds out.
15:50 - There was quite a bit of outrage after Stormers star Gio Aplon was excluded from Heyneke Meyer's original squad. Today he gets his chance to prove his worth. Here is what he had to say:
15:55 - The English kickers are the first to go onto the field to start their drills. Not the most gracious of receptions for them, but they should be used to it by now. The wind has picked up a bit lately, so getting used to the conditions will be vital.
16:00 - There is, of course, another former hometown who makes his return to PE today. England's backline coach Mike Catt was born and raised here. In today's match programme he is full of praise for the city and its people. "It's brilliant to be back in Port Elizabeth." "I had an amazing upbringing in the Eastern Cape." "I think that life at Grey High School gave me the stepping stones for achieving what I did on the rugby paddock in later years."
16:10 - Little under an hour to go before kickoff and we're sad to report that the wind has picked up even more. And when you look in the direction from where it comes from there are a lot of dark clouds on the horizon. If it were to rain, who would that favour?
16:15 - Quite a roar from the crowd as the Bok kickers make their way onto the field. The Stadium is already half full. People really do love their ruggas in this part of the country.
16:20 - Bok fans are really getting into the spirit of things on our social media platforms:
@OutClosetRugby: Dear O2, may I suggest to get the maximum benefit of your sponsorship of England Rugby Tours to SA to change your name to O3 #ssrugby
@lindyclaassen: Maybe Heyneke should have included John Smit in place of Morne Steyn. Could get more kicking points. #SSrugby
Bobby Molete on facebook: The Baby boks laid the foundation for them yesterday, the seniors will just hav to finish off. With the support of 49 million there's no other way Springboks are taking this one. Go bokke
16:30 - Pierre Spies will play his 50th test for the Springboks today. Here is how he feels about reaching that milestone:
16:35 - Today's on-field entertainers include the Coleske brothers and former Idols finalist Sindi Nene. The crowd is already singing along as they warm up for the anthems a little later.
A quick update on conditions: the wind is positively howling now and the temprature has dropped quite a bit. So far the rain has stayed away, however.
16:45 - Right, 15 minutes until kickoff and the stadium is now packed. The players are wrapping up their warm-ups on the field and will retire to their dressing rooms right now.
We'll soon be moving off to the match commentary facility as well, so click on the link above to join us. Also remember that we'll bring you live quotes from the two post-match press conferences on our facebook page.
16:50 - The on-field entertainers are tempting the weather gods with their version of CCR's "Have you ever seen the rain". The locals, knowing what's coming, have no qualms joining.
16:55 - The teams are now running out on the field for the anthems. Hold onto your hats!