Farrell remains the hero for England with four penalties

Sports | 5 Nov 2018

England co-captain Owen Farrell almost went from hero to villain as an injury-hit side came from behind to beat South Africa 12-11 in their opening November international at Twickenham on Saturday.

Farrell's penalty seven minutes from time, the third of four scored by an England team who didn't manage a try, nudged the hosts into a one-point lead.

There was drama right at the end when, with 80 minutes played, Australian referee Angus Gardner consulted the television match official to see if fly-half Farrell had committed a no-arm tackle on Springbok replacement Andre Esterhuizen.

But the official decided Farrell had made enough of a legal challenge not to award a penalty that could have seen South Africa snatch victory. "It's hard to keep your arms round when someone's running that hard but thankfully there was a bit of common sense," Farrell said.

England coach Eddie Jones, having seen his new-look side launch their countdown to next year's World Cup in Japan by clinging on for a win, praised their resilience.

"We had players out on their feet," he said. "A real show of resistance, a lot of toughness in our play."

Disappointed Springbok captain Siya Kolisi added: "We made it tough for ourselves. We had so many chances that we could have taken. We know we are our own enemies."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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