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Claims Kurt-Lee Arendse's try was illegal on two counts

By Kim Ekin
Kurt-Lee Arendse gasses March Smith on the outside /PA

A significant amount of England fans are complaining that Kurt-Lee Arendse’s remarkable 33rd-minute try at Twickenham was illegal following South Africa’s rout of England.

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Eddie Jones’ side suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Springboks as they lost a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final 27-13.

Jones’ men delivered the worst performance of an autumn campaign consisting of a solitary victory over Japan as the 14-man Springboks, inspired by half-backs Faf de Klerk and Damian Willemse, dominated.

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By the end of Saturday’s first half, England had spent only six seconds in the opposition 22 and their backline had been reduced to virtual bystanders by a vast error count and the familiar disciplinary issues.

The most brainless moment arrived shortly after the break when Jonny Hill flung De Klerk out of a ruck, prompting referee Angus Gardner to reverse a penalty. Seconds later, Eben Etzebeth was over to extend the lead to 24-6.

Unlike their mesmerising comeback to force a draw against New Zealand a week earlier, there were no late heroics this time, even after replacement prop Thomas du Toit had been sent off in the 60th minute for a dangerous challenge on Luke Cowan-Dickie.

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Henry Slade dashed over in the 72nd minute but pedestrian England had rarely threatened amid a lack of ideas or tempo in attack.

In contrast, the Springboks lit up Twickenham on an otherwise drab evening by running in a sensational try through Kurt-Lee Arendse, prompted by Willemse’s brilliance.

Arendse backed up his four-try salvo against Italy last weekend with the opener at Twickenham in the 33rd minute. Willemse and Willie le Roux combined on the right to set Arendse away and the Springboks wing raced past Marcus Smith before he crossed over in the corner.

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Many England fans feel the try should have been allowed on two grounds: A block by Arendse on England fullback Freddie Steward and an apparent forward pass to the same player moments later.

“Someone explain to me how the winger hasn’t blocked Steward and taken an intentional step to block the catcher?,” said one fan. “Standard officiating.”

“‘Try of the Year’ ?” wrote another… “except for the obvious deliberate block on Steward and the clear forward pass to Arendse. What is the TMO watching?”

Even seasoned journalists suggested things seemed a little fishy.

“That is such a clever, clinical counter-attack from SA,” wrote Will Kelleher. “Arendse the cute block on Steward, then rinses Smith on the outside to finish it.”

“Gently surprised Arendse’s block on Steward not looked at,” wrote Nick Heath. “Fell squarely in the “he knows what he’s doing” category for me, Jim.”

In the end it mattered little, with a sizeable gulf between the sides only slightly narrowed thanks to a late try for Henry Slade.

AAP and PA, additional reporting RugbyPass

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