In a game that has left England fans despairing at the thought of a Twickenham clash with the All Blacks in five months time, we saw Eddie Jones' side well and truly beaten by the Springboks. Outmuscled, outthought and pretty much outdone in every aspect of the game.
We highlight four of the biggest problem areas for England last Saturday and the areas that must be addressed ahead of the third and final Test of the series.
An area that has likely worried Jones more than any other is the way in which his side was outmuscled at every corner. In the face of an emotionally charged, newly coached Springbok side, all the England coaching staff could do was watch their players bullied for the full 80 minutes.
While in the first Test it was plain to see that altitude and fatigue played a large role in the deterioration of the performance after an ideal start, England were being stopped dead in the tracks from the first whistle this week.
In just the second minute, we see Billy Vunipola, Jamie George and then Mako Vunipola all manhandled by the South African defence.
Ten minutes later, the man that was supposed to fix all of England's issues this June, big Billy Vunipola, is dominated in the contact by the man making his 100th Test appearance, Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira.
Conversely, a mere 30 seconds later we see South African hooker Bongi Mbonambi met with weak tackles from Joe Launchbury and Tom Curry, making the type of ground against two defenders that Vunipola failed to gain against one.
Even Kyle Sinckler, a man that was introduced into the starting lineup for his dynamic carrying ability, failed to effectively break the game line, sent back for negative yardage five minutes before half-time despite two bites at the cherry.
In comparison, we see the Springboks send the ball out to number eight Duane Vermeulen, who from a static start makes a good five metres through the challenges of Curry and Launchbury.
Furthermore, the Springboks were able to gain ground through their physical inside centre, Damien de Allende, who proved to be a more effective straight line runner than any of the England eight. Below we can see the Stormers man comfortably meet the challenge from Nathan Hughes.
Even when England have managed to win some type of gain line battle, it tendered far fewer metres than their opponents, despite requiring far greater effort.
Below are two examples of the type of physical dominance South Africa asserted over England throughout the full 80, shutting down either England's biggest ball-carrying threats or fresh-legged subs not long introduced to the game.
57th minute, Mako Vunipola is stopped dead on South Africa's try line.
68th minute, replacement flanker Mark Wilson is dragged back by de Allende.
Even with both Vunipola brothers back, Kyle Sinckler introduced to the starting XV and Nathan Hughes' arrival from the bench, the national side failed to look anything resembling a top international pack.
Rare positive carries prove England's threat
On the rare occasions that England were able to break through the Springbok defence or simply make positive ground through one-out carries, they proved that a backline orchestrated by George Ford and Owen Farrell has the capability to produce exceptionally well-engineered scores.
The perfect example came within ten minutes, with Mike Brown opening up the scoreboard with the game's first try. A score sparked by a Billy Vunipola break through the middle of the pitch and subsequent ball delivery to Ford and Farrell.
Another example in the final quarter sees replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie introducing the type of successful carrying England have so desperately missed. Something he did repeatedly when he came on.
The successive metres made by the Exeter hooker provided rare front foot ball for Ben Youngs, who is able to whip the ball out to Danny Cipriani, who in turn sends Elliot Daly through the Springbok defence.
It seems there is no lack of skills to finish chances created, but the absence of a platform to work off is masking the threat the backline can offer.
With drastically reduced visible signs of altitude-induced early fatigue that we saw in the previous week's analysis, we cannot attribute last weekend's failings to the environmental conditions. Jones's men were dominated from minute one, whereas last week they were able to prove a level of dominance in the opening 20 minutes.
With the side containing mostly first-choice players, this will be the biggest and most difficult issue to rectify for the England coaches. A silver lining to an otherwise sombre cloud hanging over the national side will be the fact that once they return their pack to a level of parity (as they enjoyed for nearly two seasons), there is more than enough talent to win games.
Lack of composure produces errors
The next most influential and concerning issue for Jones to rectify is the disintegration of morale, wits and composure. It is clear to see that the culture around the first team at the moment is not a healthy one. That is not to say there is any lack of ambition, want or drive, but the cohesiveness and focus are, without a doubt, off-kilter.
While they may have suffered a torrid Six Nations overall, when England managed to make their way into their opponents 22, their ability to finish their opportunities was relatively healthy. This consoling factor in England's fifth-place finish has since been washed away in the Durban sea in which Jones has had the team carrying out their skill sessions.
At the start of half-time, Ben Youngs manages to make some rare ground with one of the trademark snipes we became accustomed to during England's spectacular 2016 campaign. However, this time around the Tigers halfback throws the ball away in a blind, speculative offload, clearly desperate to create that magic moment after a frustrating season.
Faf de Klerk intercepts Youngs' poor pass and kicks upfield, leaving Brown to scramble across and eventually find himself dragged into touch.
What had been promising yardage for England turned into a 50-metre loss of territory and possession.
Another example of promising position wasted by a player who usually oozes class and composure was the inability of Elliot Daly to spot a certain run-in for Jonny May during the 69th minute.
When the 'finishers' had entered the fray and Danny Cipriani was beginning to inject signs of life into England's attack, Daly is sent through the Springbok defence by his former Wasps teammate but fails to identify the open field available to Jonny May. Daly suffers from tunnel vision and is instead transfixed by the proposition of beating Willie le Roux and creating the wonder try.
A few minutes later we then see Henry Slade take the rather speculative decision to kick away possession when faced with Springbok defenders and no guaranteed linebreak, throwing away what was yet again an exciting looking opportunity created by Cipriani.
It was not only the backs throwing away promising field position. On three separate occasions we saw some of England's most senior players lose momentum and opportunity. Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Launchbury were all guilty of knocking on passes within 5-10 metres out of South Africa's try line. When momentum is as hard to come by as England found at the weekend, errors such as these are what truly kills a side's hopes.
Pressure and a desperation to prove that the team are better than their recent performances are hampering England's true quality.
Indiscipline was also an ugly issue to re-rear its head this week, with Nathan Hughes’ baffling decision to intentionally knock the ball out of Faf de Klerk's hands, despite being off his feet and in plain view of both Romain Poite and the assistant referee.
England go a man down just as the likes of Joe Marler, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Harry Williams were beginning to bring some kind of stability to the game.
It seemed that during his first year in charge, Jones was the expert man manager, hitting the perfect balance between intensity and focus that produced a Grand Slam and series whitewash in Australia. However, when the proverbial has hit the fan a few years later, he has failed to identify and remedy a poisonous emotional balance that has allowed their opposition to prosper from mistakes borne of inaccuracies.
Pack shake up hamstrings maul
At the beginning of the tour, the new look pack Jones has selected hinted at a huge step forward in their development. Multiple new dynamic attacking options were selected, with George, Sinckler, Curry, Brad Shields and the return of Billy Vunipola adding the type of go forward severely lacking during the Six Nations.
However, this shake-up has had a weighty knock-on effect to their maul's efficiency. An embarrassing afternoon for forwards coach Steve Borthwick as his pack were outdone at the set piece.
Poor body positions and a lack of genuine leg drive meant that the English maul was severely underpowered. The first example came in the eighth minute when two Springbok forwards, later joined by two additional men, manage to halt a six-man drive.
In defence the English were similarly outmuscled, with the Springboks marching a good 25 metres up the field eight minutes later.
A regular feature throughout the game as two additional mauls prove weak in their setup, with one also being pinged by Monsieur Poite for illegal blocking.
28th minute, penalty for blocking, weak bind.
58th minute, South Africa take England maul apart.
Kyle Sinckler, in particular, was guilty of poor body positions that failed to have any positive impact. Sinckler's replacement, Harry Williams, proved a step up by combining with Nathan Hughes to show a marked improvement in the maul that allowed Shields the opportunity to stretch out for a try that would have been scored if not for some well placed defending from Franco Mostert.
The arrival of Joe Marler, Cowan-Dickie and Mark Wilson later in the game would go a further step to improving the stability.
It seems Jones' commendable attempt to introduce a higher quality of attacking forward unit has produced adverse effects to England's set piece, costing them metres, points and more importantly, morale.
Jones’ overbearing methods causing player burnout
While it seems Jones had realised his mistakes in selecting a third second row in the pack with no openside, the lack of an attacking edge from fullback and dynamism throughout the pack, one area he has failed to address is his overbearing methods.
It is plain to see that Jones has taken too much upon himself and is over-managing the coaches and players. From the first few moments it was clearly evident that the team were overemotional, stressed and rushed. Owen Farrell had become renowned for his steely mindset, seemingly running ice cool at all times. However, we have seen a different side to Farrell this summer.
The players may have loved Jones for his outrageous work ethic and dedication, but this has begun to wear thin over time and this over-examination and high workload is translating onto the pitch more than ever.
This is an issue proving far more detrimental than any of the progressive, positive changes to the team makeup. There is no greater hindrance to this England side than the micromanagement of Eddie Jones.
Extra staff, extra sessions, the revolving door of attack coaches, emails to coaches before the cockerel has had its say and the unhealthy relationship with the players and coaches towards media and club owners has created an atmosphere that will negate any positive changes to the starting lineup or game plan. The 58-year-old must learn to take a step back and lower the severity of his methods.
First and foremost, Eddie must find some way of improving the physical edge of his side. While Sinckler has proven in the past that his explosive runs can produce game-breaking moments, Harry Williams established himself to be a far more reliable carrier, superior scrummager and effective maul component. On a similar note, Joe Marler proved to be a more reliable option at loosehead and with Mako Vunipola returning home to attend the birth of his child, the Harlequins prop will return to the starting lineup.
For as skilful as Brad Shields is and as much as he had a hugely positive effect on England's problematic breakdown, England are in dire need of a larger, tougher blindside. Newcastle Falcons man Mark Wilson can fill this role, offering no drop off in threat at the breakdown or lineout, although either of Exeter's Don Armand or Dave Ewers would have been a more effective replacement. A sorry state of affairs for England when a player of Shields' quality faces the threat of being cut due to a squad imbalance.
Selecting either Cipriani or Farrell at fly-half would also batten down the hatches in the midfield, with George Ford giving away ground time after time, easily brushed aside by Springbok runners due to a sheer lack of body mass. Whether Cipriani's extra weight and height is added in the ten jersey or whether Farrell is shifted inside one spot alongside Alex Lozowski is down to preference, but tightening up the midfield is one relatively straightforward method of reducing South Africa's front foot ball.
There are a myriad of changes that could be suggested in the backline, with Denny Solomona, Cipriani, Jason Woodward, Lozowski, Ben Spencer and Dan Robson all offering an extra spark. It is unlikely that even a huge winning margin at Newlands this weekend would produce many lessons, so Jones must look at making the most of the final game of the season, testing a few new combinations while also adding some heft to the backline. In particular, it would be a waste for Jones not to see the potential pairing of Robson and Cipriani at halfback and Lozowski at outside centre following their scintillating form in the Premiership.
It will be yet another nail in the coffin of England's possible return to form if Jones takes the decision to stick with the same team. There are big problems for England at current and with the tour lost, Jones must salvage what knowledge he can from the players he has taken on tour.
XV to start in Cape Town
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