England boss Eddie Jones laughs off tunnel row with South Africa fans

EDDIE JONES was involved in a confrontation with South Africa fans as England fell to a thrilling 42-39 defeat at Ellis Park.

England's coach Eddie Jones at Ellis Park. Picture: AP/Themba Hadebe
England's coach Eddie Jones at Ellis Park. Picture: AP/Themba Hadebe

Supporters leaned over the railings and verbally insulted Jones as he walked down the tunnel at the end of the first Test.

The Australian stood his ground for 10 to 15 seconds and engaged with his tormentors before being ushered away by players and staff.

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“They (South Africa fans) have always got plenty to say. Especially when they win,” Jones said after the match.

“I was just asking them where I could get a good bottle of Pinotage. I’m still waiting for the answer so if anyone can help me out, please help me out.

“They told me to go find it myself, so I’ll have to go find it myself. That’s what happened, that’s what I asked him.

“When I asked where I can get a nice bottle of Pinotage from, he didn’t respond. I might go back and see him later.

“I wouldn’t worry about that because it was such a great game of rugby. Don’t worry about one little conversation about a bottle of red wine in the tunnel.”

England's Piers Francis, centre, is tackled by South Africa's Damian de Allende at Ellis Park on Saturday. Picture: AP/Themba Hadebe

The three-Test series was set up beautifully by a breathtaking first game that saw England surge 24-3 ahead through tries from Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell before South Africa exploded into life.

Sale scrum-half Faf de Klerk orchestrated a thrilling fightback that produced two tries for electric debutant wing S’Busiso Nkosi.

South Africa dominated much of the second half before England, finally able to get their hands on the ball, conjured tries for Maro Itoje and Jonny May that proved too late to save the day.

“It was a wonderful game of rugby, but it’s not good to sit in the loser’s seat. At times during the first 20 minutes we were brilliant and maybe we got seduced by the game,” Jones said.

“That might have been the cause of some uncharacteristic individual discipline errors which allowed South Africa back into the game and they were able to piggy-back off 17 penalties to establish a lead.

“I’m immensely proud of my team and the way they played. They played with a lot of courage, spirit and endeavour.”

Jones replaced Nick Isiekwe with Brad Shields in the 37th minute in a tactical substitution that mirrored the early withdrawal of Luther Burrell and Teimana Harrison against Australia two years ago.

“The game was opening up and was slipping away from us and if we didn’t do something to change the momentum of the game, it would get too far away from us,” Jones said.

“So I took a calculated risk and brought another back row on because I thought it would give us more mobility around the field in our defence.”

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus was delighted by a triumphant start to the series.

“There were a lot of young guys involved against a very experienced England side and it could have gone really badly for us,” Erasmus said.

“I’m really proud that despite of all the mistakes and wrong things we did I think character is something we can take forward and build on.”