SA beat England in Twickenham thriller

England dominated possession and territory in the first half but continually spilled the ball.

England's flanker Chris Robshaw (Top) secures the line-out ball during the Autumn International rugby union Test match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium, southwest of London on 15 November, 2014. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - South 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 the host nation 10 months before the World Cup.

England dominated possession and territory in the first half but continually spilled the ball and gifted the Springboks a 13-6 halftime lead when Jan Serfontein intercepted a Danny Care pass for a 60-metre score and Pat Lambie collected two penalties.

South Africa stretched the lead to 20-6 when Willie le Roux brilliantly set up Cobus Reinach 38 seconds after the restart, only for England to roar back level with tries by David Wilson and Ben Morgan after driving mauls.

The Springboks then scored their own rolling maul try through Schalk Burger and the boot of Lambie gave them a cushion that meant Brad Barritt's last-minute try merely reduced England's margin of defeat.