Positive ending for England
South Africa tour ends with draw at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
By Alex Williams. Last Updated: 23/06/12 6:30pm
England salvaged some pride from their tour of South Africa as they grabbed a 14-14 draw in the third Test against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth.
It was an improved performance from England, who kept things tight early on and went ahead through a try from returning scrum-half Danny Care.
A second-half score from Springboks wing JP Pietersen turned the tables back in the hosts' favour, but England got back on level terms and even had a chance to win the contest at the death as Owen Farrell scuffed a drop goal attempt in added time.
South Africa, who were left to rue a wasteful kicking display from Morne Steyn, go away with a 2-0 series win but could not complete a whitewash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
England took an early lead when starting fly-half Toby Flood slotted over a penalty from in front of the posts in the second minute.
But with fewer than seven minutes on the clock the hosts responded in kind as Steyn knocked over a kick from the left after England were penalised for offside.
England were back on the offensive soon after as Tom Palmer's charge-down led to a period of pressure which resulted in Care stealing over the try-line after a quick tap penalty.
Flood was off-target with the conversion, however, meaning that Steyn's 15th minute penalty reduced the deficit to two points, a gap which remained when England turned down a kick at goal to unsuccessfully go for a try.
England then saw their plans disrupted when Flood, still feeling the effects of an early collision, was forced to limp off the pitch, while a third Steyn penalty edged the Springboks ahead for the first time in the contest.
South Africa continued to pile on the pressure for the rest of the first half but England's defence held firm and the visitors went in just 9-8 behind at the interval.
At the start of the second half Chris Ashton clattered Springboks full-back Gio Aplon, drawing a penalty at the breakdown, with Flood's replacement Farrell slotting over the three points to give England the lead again.
After Steyn had missed a relatively simple attempt from the tee, England were dealt a potentially damaging blow when stand-in skipper Dylan Hartley was sin-binned for deliberately killing the ball at a ruck.
England managed to hold out until the hooker re-entered the fray but moments later South Africa struck, Pietersen finishing off an overlap on the right from close range.
Steyn's erratic display with the boot continued as he missed the conversion, meaning England were able to level the scores when Farrell slotted over a three-pointer from in front of the posts.
South Africa surged forward as the clock ticked down but could not convert, with England ultimately having the clearest chance to snatch the win as Farrell botched a long-range drop goal after the hooter.