England started with a bang and raced to a 24-3 lead in the opening quarter, thanks to three converted tries and a penalty goal, but SA Rugby's Director of Rugby said they made a few tactical adjustments, which started the comeback.
More than looking good, England was rampant in that opening 20, with wing Mike Brown, fullback Elliot Daly and centre and captain Owen Farrell all scoring tries in the first 16 minutes, tearing South Africa apart out wide.
"Credit to the new caps, because they didn't panic and showed they just wanted to play, so we made a decision to take control of the game and it worked", the loose forward added after his side overcame a 21-point deficit to triumph.
"I was very nervous as we didn't expect to have such a tough time early in the game, but we have guys who had been in situations like that before", the first black player to captain the Springboks said after his side had prevailed 42-39. "This game has set the series up fantastically well".
It was asking too much for the second half to match the drama of the first and so it proved initially as South Africa camped in the England half but added only a Pollard penalty.
For spells of that first half England looked a different side from the one that suffered three successive defeats in the Six Nations, but they failed to live up to the standard after the Springboks pegged them following a blossoming start from the Red Rose.
Kolisi was a little more detached from the moment. "It's an enormously symbolic thing for South African rugby and shows that transformation is working". Kolisi is hoping to reflect on his historic achievement after the three-match series against England has been won.
Character, tactical changes won the day for the Boks
England at least emerged from a pulsating Johannesburg opener without any significant injury concerns, with Tom Curry and Daly suffering minor cramp and a dead leg respectively.
However, the tourists must find a way of nullifying scrum-half Faf de Klerk, who thrived off the quick ball presented by his dominant pack to feed debutant wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and S'Busiso Nkosi.
Head coach Eddie Jones has urged his team to improve their discipline ahead of their next meeting, and George says it is something the players are aware of. Nkosi scored in each corner, the second after combining brilliantly with fellow debutant Dyantyi.
Onlookers said that Bok fans leaned over railings above the tunnel and shouted insults at the Australian.
Two minutes later and they were over again, Slade's long pass giving May space and with shell-shocked South Africa in disarray he sent Farrell over under the posts. A bloke said something, so I asked him where I can get a nice bottle of Pinotage and we can have a chat.
"Our replacements all went to the U.S. last week and I expected them to run out of steam a bit after some time, but all of them made a big impact".
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