Hodgson inspired as England outclass Springboks

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson proved there is life after Jonny Wilkinson by leaving South Africa's end-of-season tour in tatters with a masterful performance at Twickenham as England won 32-16. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson proved there is life after Jonny Wilkinson by leaving South Africa’s end-of-season tour in tatters with a masterful performance at Twickenham as England won 32-16.

Hodgson has been filling in for England’s injured captain, but at this rate Wilkinson will struggle to get back into the side as the Sale half-back continues to impress with the play-making and kicking duties.

Hodgson finished with 27 points – including a 16th-minute try which saw him burst through three tackles in a display of strength few believed him capable of, although South Africa’s weak tackling also played its part.

He also had a hand in England’s second try, scored by his Sharks team-mate Mark Cueto, starting the initial move before Henry Paul’s cross-field ‘bomb’
was gathered and touched down by the two-cap international.

Hodgson – who did not miss a single shot at goal – will earn all the headlines as he followed up his commanding display against Canada last Saturday with more of the same.

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But England’s ranks were full of heroes.

Jason Robinson, captaining the side for the second time, brought the crowd to their feet with his electric running on more than one occasion, while Mike Tindall and Josh Lewsey also enjoyed fine afternoons.

All week England’s camp had stressed the need to match South Africa’s physicality – but they achieved far more than that as the Tri-Nations champions found themselves comprehensively out-muscled.

The home back row of Joe Worsley, Lewis Moody and Martin Corry outshone the Springboks’ vaunted loose trio – Schalk Burger had no impact – and England were never troubled at the scrum or line-out.

South Africa – who lost 17-12 to Ireland last Saturday – contributed to their own downfall with a sea of handling errors and some poor discipline.

Full-back Percy Montgomery kicked three penalties and a conversion of substitute wing Bryan Habana’s late try, yet the Grand Slam tour so coveted when they flew in from Johannesburg 17 days ago has now become a depressing journey.

England: J Robinson (capt); M Cueto, H Paul, M Tindall, J Lewsey); C Hodgson, A Gomarsall; G Rowntree, S Thompson, J White, D Grewcock, S Borthwick, J Worsley, L Moody, M Corry.
Replacements: A Titterrell, A Sheridan, B Kay, A Hazell, H Ellis, W Greenwood, B Cohen.

South Africa: P Montgomery ; B Paulse, M Joubert, D Wet Barry, J de Villiers; J van der Westhuyzen, F du Preez; O du Randt, J Smit (capt), E Andrews, B Botha, V Matfield, S Burger, A J Venter, J van Niekerk.
Replacements: H Shimange, C J van der Linde, D Rossouw, G Britz, M Claasens J Fourie, B Habana.

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