There are few bigger challenges in world rugby than taking on South Africa.
The reigning world champion Springboks are renowned for their physicality, dominance at set-piece and ability to defensively strangle their opposition into submission, so England had to produce a high calibre performance in order to get a victory.
Anticipation and excitement were at fever pitch in The Green Room as guests enjoyed analysis and stories from some legends of the game who know a thing or two about beating South Africa. Lawrence Dallaglio, Mike Tindall, Ben Kay and Will Greenwood all joined the panel which included another special guest. 2003 World Cup winning captain and Lions Tour 1997 winning captain Martin Johnson also joined our esteemed panel to give his thoughts on England and the big game ahead. To add a little balance to the banter we also welcomed Springbok legend Bobby Skinstad who received a raucous reception from Green Room patrons.
Not only did we have some rugby royalty on the stage, but we were also joined by the one and only Zara Tindall who delighted guests. In addition, star of SAS Who Dares Wins Jason Fox and ‘Location, Location, Location’ star Phil Spencer were also spotted enjoying The Green Room experience. Last but by no means least, superstar chef Marcus Wareing produced another stunning menu with dishes like Venison, butternut squash and beetroot granola and a delectable, salted caramel and chocolate tart with praline crunch which ensured our guests left for their match seats with sufficiently satisfied tastebuds, ready for the huge game ahead.
The on-field action was just as exciting as many had anticipated, with England scoring early tries through Manu Tuilagi and Freddie Steward. South Africa roared back with four penalty kicks from the boot of Handre Pollard and the game was finely poised at halftime with England going in with a slender 15-12 lead. The second half was extremely tight, and it looked as though Makazole Mapimpi’s try was enough to sink England. However, the die was not cast as substitute Joe Marchant busted through the South African defence to set up substitute scrum half Raffi Quirke for his first England try. After England conceded another penalty, the Boks grabbed the lead back with a penalty from the man who kicked England to defeat in the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final Francois Steyn. With a 26-24 lead and only a minute to play, Steyn gave away a cynical penalty which Marcus Smith slotted through the posts to claim a hard-fought 27-26 win for the English. Twickenham erupted, Swing Low rang out around the stadium and England ended the Autumn Nations Series unbeaten.
The Green Room atmosphere was celebratory to the say the least with the merriment continuing for some long into the evening. Safe to say we sent everyone on their way fully entertained after having experienced one of the most exciting days at Twickenham in years. The good news though is that you don’t have long to wait until The Green Room is back for the visits of Wales and Ireland in the 6 Nations next year. So, if you want to be a part of the ultimate VIP experience at Twickenham look no further than The Green Room.