By Mitch PhillipsSouth Africa held off a fierce England fightback to triumph 31-28 in a thunderous test at Twickenham on Saturday to make it five defeats in a row for Stuart Lancaster’s side 10 months before they host the World Cup.Two tries put South Africa 20-6 ahead a minute into the second half and though England scored two quickfire rolling maul tries to get level, Schalk Burger got the key third Springbok score and the boot of flyhalf Pat Lambie brought them home.The victory made it 11 wins and a draw for the Boks against England, dating back to 2006, and was a hugely satisfying one following their defeat by Ireland last weekend.The frustration for England was that, just as a week ago against the All Blacks, they dominated the early stages but this time failed to turn possession into points and found themselves 10-0 down after 15 minutes after Jan Serfontein intercepted a Danny Care pass.When England did fashion an opening, poor handling or bad decision-making let them down, encapsulated when massive lock Dave Attwood ignored a two-man overlap and backed himself to get to the line, only to blow the chance.England had the best of possession and territory in the first half but were generally too lateral in their attacks and only two Owen Farrell penalties kept them in touch at 13-6 down.That gap became 14 points 38 seconds after the restart when Lambie chipped a perfectly weighted kick into the arms of Willie le Roux which the fullback gathered without breaking stride before slipping a lovely offload for Cobus Reinach to complete a wonderful score.England needed to hit back immediately and did so emphatically in the way they know best.A monster maul that South Africa, deprived of sin-binned lock Victor Matfield, were powerless to stop, sent prop David Wilson over and minutes later virtually the entire England team combined for another irresistible 40-metre charge that ended with Ben Morgan making it 20-20.South Africa showed, however, that they too could score through the forwards when, still with 14 men, they rolled over the corner for Burger to score and Lambie took his side 10 points clear with a penalty and a drop goal.Centre Brad Barritt scored England’s third try in the last minute but, just as last week, it came too late and merely made the margin of defeat look more respectable.
New Norwich boss Alex Neil made it two wins out of two as the Canaries squeezed past Cardiff City at Carrow Road.The hosts found themselves 3-0 up at half-time as goals from Gary Hooper, Kyle Lafferty and Cameron Jerome gave the East Anglian club a firm first half lead.In amongst a dominant display, the Bluebirds had the chance to reduce the deficit at 2-0, when they were given a controversial penalty. But justice was served as Peter Whittingham saw his penalty well saved by John Ruddy.The second half produced more goals, and it was the polar opposite of the first, as Cardiff flew out the blocks to set up a grandstand finish.First Alex Revell pulled a goal back for the visitors and, just moments later, in was 3-2 as Kadeem Harris finished with aplomb to give Russell Slade’s men hope.But the hosts held on to secure back-to-back wins under Neil.Meanwhile at Vicarage Road, play-off chasing Watford ensured they kept the pressure up at the top of Championship with a dominant performance over Charlton.The Hornets led 3-0 at half-time as Craig Cathcart, Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo notched in the first period to all but sow up the points.And they added more gloss to the score line as Ighalo doubled his personal tally to make it 4-0. Ben Tozer made it five when he smashed home a free kick to add icing to the cake.A brace from Noel Hunt ensured Ipswich kept the pressure on high-flying Bournemouth as they brushed aside struggling Millwall in a 3-1 victory at the New Den.The Hunt brothers linked up to give the Tractor Boys an early lead, and the Irishmen doubled the visitor’s lead nine minutes later as he slotted home from close range.The Lions were given hope when Magaye Gueye slotted home to make it 2-1.But debutant Freddie Sears played in Jonathon Parr who finished with a aplomb to ensure the three points went back to Ipswich to pile more pressure on Ian Holloway. Bournemouth returned to the top of the Championship with a vital win over Rotherham at the New York Stadium.Tommy Elphick opened the scoring moments before the break as he headed home Charlie Daniel’s set piece.And top scorer Callum Wilson secured the win when he doubled the Cherries’ advantage to ensure Eddie Howe’s men end the weekend at the top of the tree.At the Riverside, Middlesbrough closed the gap on the top two, after winning 2-0 against Huddersfield in a dominant win.Lee Tomlin finally opened the scoring after on-loan Patrick Bamford went close on a number of occasions for the hosts.And they doubled their advantage deep into added time in the second half as Tomlin bagged his second of the day to ensure ‘Boro kept up the pressure on the top two. A late Luke Murphy equaliser secured a point for Leeds United at Elland Road against in-form Birmingham City.Former Brentford man Clayton Donaldson drew a foul from Liam Cooper inside the box to gift Paul Caddis the opportunity to open the scoring from the spot.And the Scotsman made no mistake from the spot as he blasted his penalty home. But Gary Rowett was denied another away win when Murphy struck late secured a point for the Yorkshire club.At Craven Cottage, Fulham returned to winning ways, as Kit Symon’s men secured a 2-1 win over Reading.The returning Alex Kacaniklic opened the scoring for the south west London club, fresh from his loan at Copenhagen, but veteran forward Pavel Pogrebnjak brought the visitors level.Bryan Ruiz struck late on to break the hearts of the Royals’ faithful, as he headed in from close range to ensure they collected the three points.In-form Brighton fell to defeat at the AMEX, as Brentford secured a smash and grab victory with Andre Gray scoring the only goal.He collected Stuart Dallas’ ball to send a shot looping over the outstretched David Stockdale against the run of play in the first half.And their task was made that much easier when Lewis Dunk needlessly picked up a second yellow card to see red.Bolton Wanderers secured an away win over in-form Sheffield Wednesday as Liam Feeney and Darren Pratley scored for the Trotters.The Owls gave themselves some hope when they were awarded a penalty which Chris Maguire finished, but Neil Lennon’s men held on to secure a crucial win.In the day’s early kick-off, Nottingham Forest secured a vital 2-1 over Derby County to ease the pressure on Stuart Pearce.Struggling Wigan Athletic picked up a vital point against Blackburn at the DW stadium as James McClean cancelled out Corry Evans earlier strike.Meanwhile, Wolves marked the memory of Sir Jack Hayward put on a late show to win 2-0 against Blackpool, David Edward’s and a debut goal for Benik Afobe secured the win.Championship results in full:Derby 1 – 2 Nottingham Forest Brighton 0 – 1 Brentford Fulham 2 – 1 Reading Leeds 1 – 1 Birmingham Middlesbrough 2 – 0 Huddersfield Millwall 1 – 3 IpswichNorwich 3 – 2 Cardiff Rotherham 0 – 2 Bournemouth Sheffield Wednesday 1 – 2 Bolton Watford 5 – 0 Charlton Wigan 1 – 1 Blackburn Wolves 2 – 0 Blackpool Ighalo celebrates 1