South Africa rugby union player Sbu Nkosi reported missing by Blue Bulls

  • Club says winger ‘absent without leave’ for three weeks
  • Pretoria-based club express ‘grave worry’ for 26-year-old

The South Africa rugby union international, Sbu Nkosi, has been reported to police as a missing person, his club said on Saturday.

Nkosi, part of the Springboks squad that won the Rugby World Cup in 2019, has been “absent without leave” for three weeks and hasn’t responded to calls and messages, the Blue Bulls said in a statement.

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South Africa’s power game condemns England and Jones to another defeat

  • England 13-27 South Africa
  • Heavy defeat increases pressure on Eddie Jones

No great escape this time, just cold hard reality. England have no divine right to beat the world champions every time they face them in London but as this contest drifted to its inevitable conclusion there were distinct echoes of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama. England were not good enough then and they were similarly outplayed here.

South Africa, at the end of a tough old year, fully deserved their first victory over England on this ground since 2014. Their forwards were as flinty as ever but their game-splitting try was a beauty, starting in the visitors’ own 22 and ending with the winger Kurt-Lee Arendse diving into the right corner about 80 metres away. The Springboks have been looking to expand their horizons slightly and here was further proof they have the players to do so.

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Autumn internationals have shown the value of thinking clearly under pressure | Ugo Monye

Several matches have been decided by players not knowing laws of the game – there’s no excuse for that at this level

With two matches of the autumn internationals to go, what has struck me most about the last month is the small margins – just how many matches have gone down to the wire and ultimately been decided by clarity of thought. The number of times I’ve seen teams unable to show the necessary level of clarity has shocked me and it’s something that really has to improve between now and the World Cup.

Go back to the start of the autumn and Scotland against Australia. It wasn’t a great game, neither side was dominant but why was it that Nic White knew the lawbook inside out at the end and Scotland just did not see it coming? White knew exactly what he had to do – get the ball off the field come what may – but where was the clear thinking from Scotland to get players on the boundaries of the field to make it so much more difficult for him?

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Eddie Jones rouses England to purge 2019 demons against Springboks

The World Cup final defeat in Japan still haunts England’s coach who has challenged his side to gain revenge at Twickenham

It does not require a degree in the science of rockets to suggest English rugby needs an upbeat end to a problematic year. If parliamentary select committee hearings now involve an element of grandstanding, this week’s stark conclusion – “failure on an epic scale” – is not something the Rugby Football Union will be keen to hear echoing around Twickenham after the national team’s final autumn Test against a pumped-up South Africa.

To some the messy financial collapse of Worcester and Wasps might appear peripheral to England’s progress under Eddie Jones and certainly to a home stadium full to the brim with 82,000 thirsty punters. The truth of the matter is that all those things are directly linked to the same conundrum, namely the split personality that continues to hold back the sport even in its red rose heartlands.

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Siya Kolisi urges South Africa not to be distracted by Erasmus ‘sideshow’

  • Erasmus banned from England game for social media outbursts
  • South Africa seeking first a win at Twickenham since 2014

Siya Kolisi has called for a resolution to be found to the Rassie Erasmus saga, the Springboks captain insisting South Africa will not use it as an excuse as they seek a first win at Twickenham in eight years.

Erasmus is banned from attending Saturday’s match after being sanctioned by World Rugby for his outbursts on social media in which he implicitly criticised the referee Wayne Barnes following South Africa’s defeat by France.

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England leave out Willis and have doubt over Mako Vunipola for South Africa

  • Tizard retained as Eddie Jones expands lineout options
  • ‘This will be battle of intent, rather than technique’

England have dropped the flanker Jack Willis for the Test against South Africa on Saturday and also have an injury doubt hanging over the experienced prop Mako Vunipola. Eddie Jones, the head coach, has chosen instead to expand his specialist lineout options by retaining the uncapped Saracens lock Hugh Tizard in a 26-man training squad.

The unlucky Willis came off the bench in the latter stages of the 25-25 draw against New Zealand on Saturday but the breakdown specialist now finds himself surplus to requirements for a game which England’s management regard as a very different tactical challenge. The highly promising Tizard, and the Northampton pair David Ribbans and Alex Coles are all in the mix, with Sale’s Bevan Rodd included as cover for Vunipola who tweaked his back in a lively training session on Tuesday.

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Death threats prompt RFU to demand further action taken against Erasmus

  • RFU letter to SA Rugby calls for social posts to be deleted
  • Referee Wayne Barnes and family subject to torrent of abuse

South Africa Rugby is under increasing pressure to take action against Rassie Erasmus after the Rugby Football Union lodged a complaint over his social media posts concerning the refereeing of Wayne Barnes, who has been the subject of death threats.

It is understood that the RFU wrote an angry letter to its South African counterparts this week, outlining how Barnes – who was taking charge of his 100th Test last Saturday in France’s narrow win over South Africa – has received online threats while his family has also been targeted.

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