The best stats from the first round of the 2018 Quilter International Tests
By Rhodri Jeremiah | Twitter: @RhodriJeremiah
Last Updated: 06/11/18 3:59pm
Sky Sports Rugby's resident stats guru, Rhodri Jeremiah, takes a closer look at who and what stood out from Saturday's compelling Quilter International Test between England and the Springboks...
Let's be honest here, South Africa should have won that game in the first half and they'll be ruing the fact they left Twickenham with an L and not a W.
Rassie Erasmus' side had 67 per cent possession and 78 per cent territory in the first 40. They made 65 carries and 187 metres compared to England's 32 carries and 71 metres.
In defence, England made 76 tackles in the first half. South Africa made less than half that amount making 31 in total. The Springboks had so much dominance that England didn't even step into South Africa's 22 in the first half.
That stat is even more staggering when considering the score at half-time was only 6-8 in South Africa's favour.
As the old cliché goes, rugby union is 'a game of two halves' and last Saturday was a prime example of that. South Africa still had a slight edge in both the possession and territory stakes in the second period, but England made 73 carries and 248 metres in the second 40 whilst their opponents made 65 carries and 194 metres.
England's no try victory
Despite not scoring a try, Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly's kicking brought England home with a 12-11 win. England co-captain Farrell had only one blemish to his name, with a 75 per cent kick success rate slotting three from four. The fly-half is now on 699 points for England with eight tries, 100 conversions, 151 penalties and two drop-goals.
The last time England won without scoring a try was over five years ago in March 2013 when Toby Flood kicked all 18 points in their 18-11 win over Italy in the Six Nations.
England, in fact, won two games in the 2013 Six Nations without having to cross over the whitewash. The other occasion being a 6-12 victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
England's opponents this Saturday, New Zealand, averaged close to 38 points and nearly six tries per game in this year's Rugby Championship. If England don't cross over the try-line this coming Saturday, a win is highly unlikely.
Pundits up and down the land continually discuss the importance of strength in depth in a World Cup year. Apart from the win, Eddie Jones would have been delighted with the performances of his young charges.
Mark Wilson, winning his fifth cap was named Quilter Man of the Match. He made 11 carries in attack and 14 tackles in defence in a well-rounded display.
Zach Mercer and Ben Moon, the finishers on debut, played like veterans when they came on at the start of the second half.
Mercer made seven carries, 24 metres and 10 tackles. Moon made 10 tackles and the prop forward was also instrumental in South Africa conceding a penalty at scrum-time in their own 22.
Marx's nightmare day
Malcolm Marx has been named in the 2018 World Rugby Men's Player of the Year shortlist, but he had a game to forget.
He won 13 of his throw-ins, but crucially lost four - three of which came via overthrows.
South Africa are noted for their set-piece, but last Saturday, it let them down.
Lions knowledge significant?
The hottest ticket in town is at Twickenham this Saturday when the All Blacks roll into HQ. Since the 2015 World Cup Final, New Zealand have played 40 matches, won 35, lost four and drawn one.
One of those defeats came against the Lions in Wellington last year. Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, Jamie George and Maro Itoje all tasted that victory. Will they have that same winning feeling come around 5pm this Saturday? Time will tell.
My prediction for what it's worth? New Zealand…by one score. Bring it on.