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Page last updated at 21:41 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Saracens 24-23 South Africa

Saracens (6) 24
Tries: Joubert, Barritt Con: Hougaard Pens: Hougaard 3 Drop: Hougaard
South Africa (18) 23
Tries: De Jongh, Nokwe 2 Con: Pienaar Pens: Pienaar 2

Brad Barritt scores for Saracens against South Africa at Wembley
Brad Barritt goes over as Saracens hand South Africa a third straight defeat

South Africa suffered a third straight defeat on their tour of Europe as Premiership leaders Saracens came from 18-6 behind to win at Wembley.

Juan de Jongh and Jongi Nokwe crossed to send the under-strength Springboks into half-time with a 12-point lead.

Saracens, whose team included nine South Africans, struck back with tries from Ernst Joubert and Brad Barritt.

Former Springbok fly-half Derrick Hougaard kicked 14 points as Sarries sealed an impressive victory.

Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter told BBC Three Counties Radio: "The try just before half-time from the knock-on really put us back, but the guys fought back courageously. They are a tough bunch of players.

"I think it is a very good memory for us. They will remember this for ever which is great for the team."

Saracens lock Hugh Vyvyan added: "This victory is massively up there with previous great Saracens performances.

I certainly believe we can redeem ourselves in the next two Test matches

Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir

"To beat South Africa at Wembley is just fantastic. It's great for some of us here because we don't often get the chance to play the great players like these."

South Africa, who have also lost to Leicester and France this month, play Italy in Udine on Saturday before rounding off their tour against Six Nations Grand Slam champions Ireland at Croke Park on 28 November.

"I thought we had a very good first half but they put a lot of pressure on us and the things we did so well in the first half, we didn't do in the second half," said Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir.

"There were a couple of decisions that went against us in the second half but they got the momentum.

"I certainly believe we can redeem ourselves in the next two Test matches though. We are taking things game by game, and the game in Italy on Saturday is going to be huge."

Saracens attracted an impressive crowd of 46,281 to Wembley as their owners, a South African investment company, continued their attempts to tap into the expatriate community in London in order to build their supporter base.

606: DEBATE
Monkey_Noots

Sarries started with seven South Africans in their side plus England international Michael Horak and Barritt, who were both born in the country.

The Springboks XV featured five players who played in the Lions Tests including Ruan Pienaar, who put his side 6-3 ahead with two early penalties.

Following the second of those, South Africa counter-attacked straight from the restart and Andries Bekker looked set to touch down in the corner, only for England prospect Noah Cato to bundle him into touch.

That break launched 11 minutes of virtually unbroken South African pressure and although Saracens defended bravely, twice winning key turnovers, they eventually conceded.

De Jongh ran straight and hard through Cato's attempted tackle and then held off the challenge from Kameli Ratuvou to stretch for the line.

Pienaar inexplicably missed the conversion but his embarrassment was countered by Hougaard, who made a complete hash of a long-range penalty.

Pienaar made no mistake after Nokwe's try, which was controversially awarded despite the winger running on to a ball that looked to have been knocked on by team-mate Ashley Johnson.

Hougaard landed a second penalty just before the interval and, after the break, Sarries drew level with two tries in quick succession as they launched a sustained assault on the Springboks line.

Number eight Joubert scored the first after charging down a clearance from South African replacement Francis Hougaard with one hand before scooping up the loose ball to dive over in the corner.

Derrick Hougaard
Hougaard's late drop-goal prompted wild celebration at Wembley

Saracens had their tails up and Ratuvou was almost sent clear after some slick passing between replacements Andy Saull and Rodd Penney.

Although that thrust came to nothing, it carried Saracens back into the South African 22 and, after a powerful scrum, Barritt charged through three tacklers to score their second try.

Hougaard wasted the chance to restore Saracens' lead with another missed penalty and South Africa hit back in style, as Rose and Odwa Ndungane linking brilliantly to send Nokwe over for his second score.

But Sarries simply refused to be beaten and Hougaard dragged them back to within two points with his third penalty and then sparked wild celebrations with the match-winning drop-goal.


Saracens: Horak; Cato, Ratuvou, Barritt, Tagicakibau; Hougaard, de Kock; Gill, Reynecke, Skuse, Botha, Vyvyan, van Heerden, Melck, Joubert.
Replacements: Nieto for Horak (49), Penney for Cato (40), Barrett for de Kock (38), Brits for Reynecke (40), Goode for Skuse (49), Saull for Melck (47).

Not Used: Kruis.

South Africa: Rose; Ndungane, de Jongh, Olivier, Nokwe; Pienaar, Adams; van der Merwe, Strauss, van der Linde, Hargreaves, Bekker, Deysel, Potgieter, Johnson.
Replacements: Viljoen for Olivier (68), Bosman for Pienaar (68), Hougaard for Adams (40), Maku for Strauss (68), W. du Preez for van der Linde (10), Rossouw for Bekker (40), Raubenheimer for Johnson (68).

Att: 46,281

Ref: James Jones (WRFU).



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see also
Sarries fan kicks 250,000 prize
17 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Habana cleared of kicking charge
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France 20-13 South Africa
13 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 22-17 South Africa
06 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Injured Spies to miss Boks tour
03 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 29-32 South Africa
12 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Saracens will face SA at Wembley
29 Sep 09 |  Saracens


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