Owen Farrell insists England's rip-roaring start in their Six Nations win over Ireland was not a response to any outside pressure.

England began their campaign with a poor showing in a defeat against France in Paris before grinding out a victory over Scotland amid tough Edinburgh conditions in round two.

Back at Twickenham against an Ireland side who had started with two wins from two, England earned a deserved 24-12 triumph over a visiting team coached by Farrell's father Andy.

Eddie Jones' men had come under scrutiny following a mixed start, while the head coach was initially questioned and subsequently vindicated for his decision to move centre Jonathan Joseph to the wing and continue with flanker Tom Curry at number eight.

"It's pressure from everybody else, not us," England captain Farrell said when asked about the outside voices.

"We're unbelievably happy with how things are in-house. We feel we are getting better and couldn't wait to play this game.

"I think you saw that from the way we started the game. It's nothing to do with anyone on the outside. We are giving ourselves lots of confidence to rip in come kick-off."

England were boosted by the return of powerhouse centre Manu Tuilagi, a player Farrell feels would make a difference to any team in world rugby.

"You don't need me to tell you [how important he is]," Farrell added.

"Any team in the world would want him by your side, we're lucky to have him. He's playing brilliant rugby."

England led 17-0 at the break with George Ford and Elliot Daly the beneficiaries of some shoddy Ireland defending, while Luke Cowan-Dickie touched down from an England drive in the second half.

Part of England's success owed to their dominance of the forwards, with the returning Courtney Lawes earning the man-of-the-match award.

"We knew Ireland were on good form and we came out flying, we put an emphasis on that all week. It was great to get out here with the boys," Lawes said.

"Any chance I get to put on the shirt, especially at my old age, I relish it. We just want to keep building, the goal is to be the best team the world has ever seen."

Andy Farrell shouldered the burden of blame for Ireland's Six Nations loss to England as his side were outplayed at Twickenham on Sunday. 

Ireland's hopes of a Grand Slam, following back-to-back wins over Scotland and Wales, were dashed as Eddie Jones' men ran out deserved 24-12 winners.

The visitors were up against it from the moment George Ford capitalised on Johnny Sexton's error to score the opening try after seven minutes, with the Ireland fly-half enduring a rare off-day.

Sexton's error-strewn display, which included two woefully miscued penalty attempts, summed up Ireland's afternoon as Farrell's charges came up well short.

"Disappointing. I think the scoreline flattered us a little bit," Farrell told BBC Sport after seeing Andrew Porter's last-gasp converted score narrow the gap.

"We started firing a few shots when the game was over and that's not what we want to do.

"I think it was a knock-on effect of cumulative errors. The opposition had something to do with it obviously, they played really well.

"They played like a side that was desperate to stay in the competition, so fair play to England for that. But we'll look at ourselves for the reasons we allowed them to play the game they wanted to play.

"First and foremost, I look at myself. Why were England up for it, winning the physical edge? That's down to myself.

"The reality is the last try at the end allows the points difference not to be too bad and we're in the competition.

"We go into the Italy game knowing what we've got to do. If we perform like we want to in that game we'll take it to the last weekend."

A strangely out of sorts Sexton admitted Ireland had nowhere to hide after a lacklustre showing.

"We gave a very good team two tries from our mistakes, not covering the chip kick, and then we didn't take our chances," he said.

"We were getting the ball on the back foot, trying to get to the edges and we couldn't, looked a bit silly at times.

"We still have a big home game against Italy and if we can do that we still have a championship to play for.

"We need to be a bit better, not play in certain areas of the field when we are going backwards."

England put themselves firmly in the hunt for the Six Nations title and ended Ireland's Grand Slam dream with a 24-12 victory at Twickenham.

Coach Eddie Jones had thrown a curveball with his team selection, in particular the decision to deploy Jonathan Joseph on the wing, but few were left questioning his wisdom at full-time.

With France having beaten reigning champions Wales on Saturday to pile the pressure on both of these teams, it was the hosts – winners over Scotland in atrocious conditions last time out – who responded in style on Sunday to fuel their ambitions.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell will have had his sights set on a clean sweep of victories in the championship after wins over Scotland and Wales, but those hopes were dashed by a team starring his son Owen.

George Ford's early try, facilitated by a Johnny Sexton error that characterised a rare off day for the fly-half, set the tone, with Elliot Daly touching down in not dissimilar circumstances before the break.

Robbie Henshaw darted over in the second half but any prospect of an Ireland comeback was ended when Luke Cowan-Dickie's converted try restored England's advantage, rendering Andrew Porter's stoppage-time score a mere consolation.

England, whose only Six Nations loss at Twickenham in the last 19 matches came against Ireland in 2018, started with remarkable intensity and soon got their reward.

Sexton, who later badly fluffed his lines from a penalty, fumbled from Ben Youngs' grubber kick and Ford was on hand to gather the loose ball and touch down.

Daly was similarly alert to get on the end of Ford's searching kick as Jacob Stockdale was caught off guard, while Owen Farrell added six first-half points with the boot to leave Ireland with a mountain to climb as, in 21 matches between the nations in this competition, no side had ever overcome a half-time deficit to win.

Ireland did prove far more determined after the break and Henshaw broke through the line to cap a prolonged spell of pressure, but Sexton's kick was again wayward.

Sensing the job was not yet done, England attacked with renewed vigour and Cowan-Dickie was the beneficiary of some excellent forward play as he crossed the line and Owen Farrell added the extras, with John Cooney doing likewise after Porter's last-gasp try.

Flying start sets the tone for England

It was a painfully slow start that cost England so badly in the opening defeat to France, but there was no sign of any such complacency on this occasion.

England were up and at Ireland from the first whistle and, after their initial momentum was halted by a fumble from the otherwise outstanding Courtney Lawes, the hosts were quickly on the front foot again, opening the scoring via a combination of the quick-thinking Youngs ​– making his 100th Test appearance – the ever-alert Ford, and the unusually flustered Sexton.

Sorry Sexton human after all

He is one of the very best in world rugby, but that does not mean Sexton is immune to error. He demonstrated that twice in the opening quarter of an hour, which proved a microcosm of the whole contest.

First he treated Youngs' kick through the middle like a hot potato, eventually palming it to the grateful Ford, then he shanked a three-pointer from the tee in a manner quite unbecoming. Another miscue followed in the second half to compound Sexton's woes.

What's next?

England welcome Wales to west London in round four on March 7, while Ireland return to Dublin to host whipping boys Italy on the same day. 

Devin Toner has been promoted to the Ireland team to play England in the Six Nations on Sunday after Iain Henderson was ruled out.

Coach Andy Farrell had initially named an unchanged team for the crunch Twickenham clash, with Ireland joint-top alongside France after winning their beating Scotland and defending champions Wales.

However, the continuity has been disrupted, as family reasons mean Henderson will be unavailable.

Towering lock Toner, who was surprisingly left out of Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad under previous boss Joe Schmidt, comes into the side for his 70th cap.

The change sees Ultan Dillane take Toner's spot among the replacements.

England are under huge pressure heading into what Lewis Moody has described as a "must-win game" against Ireland in the Six Nations.

Eddie Jones' side were lacklustre in a shock loss to France before getting their campaign up and running by beating Scotland in torrid conditions at Murrayfield.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up welcome Andy Farrell's Ireland to Twickenham on Sunday and former England flanker Moody believes the onus is on the hosts to get a result.

Speaking to Omnisport ahead of the England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday, Moody said: "Without a shadow of a doubt we all expected England to drive on after the World Cup. They faltered in the first game, the Scotland game allowed us to see they can knuckle out a victory in diabolical conditions. 

"All being the well the weather conditions will be favourable this weekend and we can really see where England are at.

"Ireland will come with confidence from the first two matches, they have the energy and enthusiasm of having a new coaching staff.

"For England it's a must-win game, because otherwise all of a sudden you're going into your fourth game having lost two, only just won one and staring down the barrel of a seriously disappointing Six Nations, which they started with big expectations.

"Without a shadow of a doubt there is a lot of pressure on this England side and coaching staff, which there always is, but we need to see them crack on and Eddie take them forward."

Moody, who made 71 appearances for his country and was part of the 2003 World Cup-winning squad, feels England – who won in Dublin last year – are slight underdogs for this weekend's match against an Ireland side who received a visit from U2 frontman Bono this week.

"I have to admit I'm not overly confident, I even think Ireland will come in as slight favourites," he said.

"England have not really fired so far in the Six Nations, they had that really disappointing start in France, they got what they needed in Murrayfield – which is a very difficult place to go and win.

"To knock out a win in those unbelievably horrific weather conditions was impressive, but this is the true test, this is the game that matters. They [Ireland] have a very well-organised side, with a new coach who seems to be instilling some real belief and I'm sure they've got a slight degree of vengeance from last year's upset at home to inspire them."

While England still have not found what they are looking for in this year's Six Nations, Ireland's desire to win may have been boosted by the presence of Irish singer-songwriter Bono at the team hotel.

Moody does not know exactly how the away side will benefit from that experience, but he suggested some song lyrics might provide some inspiration. 

He said: "I'm not sure what motivation that will provide, but it'll be interesting for sure. Perhaps there may be a few of his lyrics quoted beforehand, but I'm not so sure what impact that might have."

- The England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match will take place at Twickenham Stoop on February 22, kick-off 17.30 and will be raising money for Restart Rugby, RFU Injured Players Fund and the Tom Smith Testimonial Committee. Visit http://tickets.quins.co.uk for tickets and more information.

Family loyalty will go out of the window when England and Ireland do battle this weekend, and France face a major test of their Six Nations title credentials against Wales.

Ireland beat defending champions Wales 24-14 in Dublin last time out, while France also made it two wins out of two with a 35-22 triumph over Italy.

The joint-leaders will not have home comforts for the first time in the tournament, with the third round of matches seeing Les Bleus travel to Cardiff on Saturday and Ireland taking on England at Twickenham on Sunday.

England captain Owen Farrell could inflict a first defeat on his father, Andy, since he become Ireland head coach.

Winless Scotland and Italy do battle on Saturday at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, where the hosts go in search of their first points of the tournament.

We take a look at what promises to a be pivotal round of matches with some standout Opta data.

 

Italy v Scotland

- Scotland have won six of their last seven Six Nations games against Italy, their solitary loss in that spell coming at Murrayfield in 2015 – the Azzurri’s last victory against any side in the Championship.

- Seven of the last eight Six Nations meetings between Italy and Scotland in Rome have been decided by seven points or fewer.

- Italy have spent 40 minutes in possession in the Six Nations this year, longer than any other side, making the most carries (300) and metres (857) in the process; in contrast, Scotland have spent the least time in possession during this campaign (33m 56s).

- Scotland have missed just 25 tackles in this year's Six Nations, fewer than any of their rivals and as a result boast the best tackle success rate (91 per cent).

 

Wales v France

- Wales have won eight of their last nine Test matches against France, this after winning just two of their previous 12 clashes with Les Bleus before that run.

- France and Scotland (7/7) are the only sides who boast a 100 per cent scrum success rate on their own feed in the Six Nations this year, while Wales have recorded the worst success rate at that particular set-piece - with 11 from 15.

- France’s Bernard Le Roux has made the most tackles of any player in the tournament with 38, one more than Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.

- No player has beaten more defenders in the Six Nations this year than France's Antoine Dupont (10, level with Stuart Hogg), while he also has the second-most offloads with seven.

 

England v Ireland

- Ireland are the only side to hold a winning record over England in the Six Nations (winning 11 and losing nine); however, they suffered a record 57-15 to the Red Rose in their last meeting before the Rugby World Cup.

- England have lost just one of their last 19 home games in the Six Nations (W17, D1). That one defeat came the last time they hosted Ireland in 2018.

- Ireland have won 95 per cent of their lineouts in the Six Nations this year (19/20), which is the best rate of any team. However, England have stolen the most lineouts (5) in the Championship.

- Maro Itoje has hit 74 rucks in the 2020 Six Nations, more than any other player, and has also won the most turnovers with six.

Lewis Moody wants England head coach Eddie Jones to unleash the "fire" of Ellis Genge on Ireland in a blockbuster Six Nations battle on Sunday.

Genge came off the bench to score a late try that ensured England regained the Calcutta Cup with a 13-6 victory over fierce rivals Scotland at Storm Ciara-battered Murrayfield last time out.

Powerhouse prop Mako Vunipola is unavailable for family reasons for a pivotal round-three showdown at Twickenham this weekend, so either Genge or Joe Marler are set to come into the starting line-up.

Former England flanker Moody wants to see Genge, who described critics of the Rugby World Cup runners-up as "sausages" after the win over Scotland, in the front row from the start.

Speaking to Omnisport ahead of the England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match at Twickenham Stoop, Moody said: "I love Genge, I just think he's something different, as is Marler.

"From a character point of view they are both very authentic, unique individuals. From a playing point of view Ellis just brings some proper fire, he's got that fire in his belly.

"You can see how hungry he is, how passionate he is for his team to do well. He's totally bought into that, you can see that with the post-match chat after the Scotland game, where he was clearly upset people were attacking his coach and his team.

"I like that sort of spirit in a player. Whether he's technically the best scrummager, I'm probably not a good enough artiste of the front row to be able to give enough information on that, but in terms of an individual I'd want him in my team, he'd be on the starting sheet."

Moody says the return to fitness of centre Manu Tuilagi is a major boost for England, particularly with Billy Vunipola unable to play any part in the tournament due to a broken arm.

The World Cup winner added: "For England, it will be enormous. Without Billy Vunipola and Manu it's a different proposition without that ball carrying. They get those extra yards every time and that ability to offload.

"Manu coming in would go some way to reinstilling that momentum in the England attack, it feels like it's been missing for the last two games - obviously you have to take into account the conditions against Scotland."

 

- The England v Ireland Rugby Legends Charity Match will take place at Twickenham Stoop on February 22, kick-off 17.30 and will be raising money for Restart Rugby, RFU Injured Players Fund and the Tom Smith Testimonial Committee. Visit http://tickets.quins.co.uk for tickets and more information.

Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are on course to be fit for England's crunch Six Nations showdown with Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday.

Tuilagi suffered a groin injury early in England's defeat to France on the opening weekend of the tournament, while Slade has been out since sustaining an ankle injury in December.

The centres trained with the Rugby World Cup runners-up on Wednesday and could face joint-leaders Ireland this weekend.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "Manu trained fully so should be in contention for selection. It's good to have a quality player back.

"Slade also trained so we have just got to monitor his progress. He has a positive chance. He's a quality player. This gives us more options."

One player who will play no part is prop Mako Vunipola, who flew to Tonga and is not available for "family reasons".

Jones says England are well stocked to cover for the absence of the British and Irish Lion, with Joe Marler and Ellis Genge vying for a start.

The Australian said: "Mako's a quality player but we are lucky we are blessed with two outstanding loosehead props in Joe and Ellis, so we can recover the loss of Mako.

"But it's disappointing to lose him."

Genge scored the winning try in a battling 13-6 defeat of Scotland before the rest weekend. 

Andy Farrell has named an unchanged side for Ireland's mouthwatering Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham on Sunday.

Fit-again back-row Caelan Doris replaces Max Deegan on the bench in the only alteration to the 23 following the victory over Wales.

Robbie Henshaw was withdrawn just five minutes into the second half of the 24-14 win over the defending champions last time out, but the centre has been passed fit to start alongside Bundee Aki.

CJ Stander remains at number eight after another man-of-the-match display against the holders, with blindside flanker Peter O'Mahony retaining his starting berth and Doris - who suffered a head injury on his debut versus Scotland - among the replacements.

Ireland are joint-top of the table with France after winning their first two games and will be out for revenge after losing to Eddie Jones' side twice last year.

 

Ireland: Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton (captain), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Caelan Doris, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Keith Earls.

 

 

England prop Mako Vunipola will miss the crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday for family reasons.

Vunipola made his first appearance of the tournament in the victory over Scotland but will not face Ireland after travelling to Tonga.

Ellis Genge could be handed a start after scoring the winning try in the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield. Alternatively, Joe Marler could come back into the side, with the uncapped Beno Obano offering another option.

Fit-again centres Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade were among the 33 names included by Eddie Jones for England's first home match of the tournament.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up were beaten by France in their opening match before edging out Scotland in brutal conditions in Edinburgh, while Ireland have won two out of two.

 

England squad:

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Harry Williams.
    
Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Henry Slade, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Ben Youngs.

Temba Bavuma will miss South Africa's opening Twenty20 international against Australia on Friday due to a hamstring strain.

The 29-year-old batsman suffered the injury when fielding in the high-scoring T20 defeat to England on Sunday and will sit out the upcoming Wanderers clash.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said Bavuma could return for Sunday's second game in their three-match series against Australia and there would be no replacement called into the 16-player squad.

"The recommended recovery time for the injury is seven to 10 days," said CSA. "He will remain with the team and receive treatment from the medical staff."

Bavuma blasted a rapid 49 off just 24 balls at the top of the order in a five-wicket loss at SuperSport Park as England sealed a 2-1 series win.

West Indies women will get their T20 World Cup in Australia off to a start this Saturday with an opener against Thailand but have much improvement to make if they are to reach the heady heights they have in recent times.

There will be two groups of five competing for progress to the semi-finals, with the top two from each group making it through.

The West Indies find themselves in Group B along with England, South Africa, Pakistan and Thailand.

West Indies had a successful tournament in 2018, reaching the semi-finals before being knocked out by the eventual champions Australia. Whilst their form in the format has not been ideal over the last few years, they still have some of the most exciting players in the tournament lining up for them.

Deandra Dottin is among the best attacking batters in the world, particularly if she's facing spin - in the last two years she scores at 8 runs per over against spinners, and only gets out every 38 balls.

With ball in hand, captain Stafanie Taylor will be looking to Shakera Selman to make inroads at the top of the inning - nobody swings the ball more than her over the last two years of T20I cricket, and on the hard fast pitches of Australia, movement through the air will be crucial.

If all goes to plan, West Indies will be more than confident of progressing to the knockout stages.

England made the final in the last edition of the T20 World Cup before, like West Indies, being eliminated by Australia. Heather Knight's side are still somewhat in transition, but a new-found balance relying on Nat Sciver to bowl four overs has allowed them to play an extra specialist batsman - it's given the batting line-up some serious oomph. On the bowling side of things, Sophie Ecclestone is a very important part of the English attack. A tall left-arm orthodox spinner, no player has taken more wickets for England in T20Is since the start of 2018 than Ecclestone, with 35 wickets in that time at an average of 16.82. Offering control as well as attacking threat, she'll be the likely fulcrum of the England attack. Knight will see anything but progress from the group as abject failure, and they'll be eager to go all the way.

Pakistan bowl 76 per cent spin over the last two years - that’s the most of any team in the world during that period. Much like Bangladesh in Group A, this does at least give them a clear blueprint to work to a basic structure they can focus on in the absence of many acclaimed stars. If they have one standout player it's Bismah Maroof, who has notched up 782 T20I runs in the last two years, comfortably the most of any Pakistan batter and the 11th most for anyone in the world. If anyone in Pakistan green is going to spring a shock on the opposition, it'll be her.

In contrast to Pakistan, 76 per cent of the deliveries sent down from South Africa over the last two years, come from pace bowlers, the most of any side in the competition. They were a disappointment at the last T20 World Cup, not reaching the semi-finals. Their bowling is mixed, but their batting is likely to focus around a few key individuals, and one in particular. Alyssa Healy is renowned as an absolute colossus, but Chloe Tryon - at least statistically - is almost keeping pace with her. A powerful left-hander, Tryon is particularly effective against spin bowling, rocketing along at 8.6 runs per over (compared to 7.6 runs per over against seamers). The South African has a particular preference for hitting off spinners, scoring 180  from 113 deliveries against off-break bowlers in T20I cricket. Given how much spin is bowled in T20 cricket, this sets Tryon apart, her strength and power meaning that she doesn’t need pace on the ball to cause damage - South Africa will be looking to her to really lift the scoring rate when she’s at the crease.

Thailand are the most notable presence at this T20 World Cup, an unfamiliar presence in top-level cricket for both men and women. However, much of their success in recent years and in qualification is down to Nattaya Boochatham. A skilful right-arm seamer, Boochatham has taken a lot of wickets since the start of 2018; in fact, in that time period, only Poonam Yadav has taken more international T20 wickets than Boochatham. Undoubtedly, this has been given a boost by the standard of opposition that Thailand have been facing, but it’s been Boochatham who has done the damage in those matches. If Thailand are going to lay a glove on any side at this tournament, she’ll have to be at her best.

Eoin Morgan said there was "no limit" to England's batting potential after their second-highest Twenty20 run chase secured a thrilling 2-1 series win over South Africa.

The Proteas capitalised on dream batting conditions to post a mammoth 222-6 in the decider at SuperSport Park on Sunday, Heinrich Klaasen top-scoring with 66 from only 33 balls.

That was not enough to prevent the tourists from winning a run-fest by five wickets with five balls to spare, captain Morgan matching his own record for the fastest T20 half-century by an England batsman.

Morgan bludgeoned 57 not out from only 22 balls - striking seven sixes - after Jos Buttler (57 from 29) and Jonny Bairstow (64 off 34) also flexed their muscles in Centurion.

Skipper Morgan believes England sent out a message to their rivals with the T20 World Cup in Australia on the horizon.

"It creates belief that you can chase down anything and it reinforces what our method is in chasing big totals down," said the England captain, named man of the match and series.

"It's a reference point to what we can do, there’s no limit on restricting yourself to certain things. You want to leave everything out there with the bat.

"It won’t always work but it will give us the best chance of winning.

"Moving forward from this series, our learning will continue to get better, hopefully, because I don't think we’ve played at our best in this series."

Morgan also gave his backing to Buttler, although he did not believe the wicketkeeper-batsman was at his devastating best at the top of the order.

"I'm delighted for Jos," Morgan told Sky Sports. "I think he has as much talent as somebody like AB de Villiers; it took De Villiers a long time, and a lot of games, to get going in a South African shirt.

"We need to back guys that have that sort of talent; Jos has been around a long time now and we know that when he delivers, we win games of cricket. It's great to see him back in the runs.

"I think the priority at the moment is to get the top three facing as many balls as they can - they are the most destructive players that we have.

"If that changes between now and the World Cup, and we feel the need to fill a gap somewhere, then we might change it but, for the moment, it's an extremely destructive batting line-up to play against."

Eoin Morgan matched his own record for the fastest half-century by an England batsman in a Twenty20 international as the tourists clinched a 2-1 series victory over South Africa after a SuperSport Park thriller.

Heinrich Klaasen blasted 66 from only 33 balls after Temba Bavuma (49 off 24) and Quinton de Kock (35 from 24) laid the platform for the Proteas, who posted an intimidating 222-6 at Centurion on Sunday.

England embraced the challenge of pulling off their second-highest successful run chase in the shortest format to turn the series around, Morgan making an astonishing 57 off 22 deliveries as they got home with five balls and five wickets to spare.

Captain Morgan struck seven sixes, equalling the England record of a 21-ball fifty that he set against New Zealand last year, after explosive knocks from Jos Buttler (57 from 29) and Jonny Bairstow (64 off 34).

There were 28 sixes in a contest which proved to be a batsman's paradise at altitude, with England ending a successful tour on a high note after also coming from behind to secure a 3-1 Test triumph and draw the ODI series.

De Kock capitalised on winning the toss by delivering a brutal onslaught along with Bavuma, the openers needing only 22 balls to get 50 on the board.

The captain disdainfully hammered Chris Jordan for three consecutive sixes, with Mark Wood also given the treatment before De Kock struck Ben Stokes (2-35) to Bairstow in the deep.

Bavuma drilled Adil Rashid's first ball over the rope, but the spinner got a measure of revenge when he bowled him one short of a half-century and Stokes struck again to see the back of Rassie van der Dussen.

Klaasen, in for JJ Smuts, then took centre stage, racing to a half-century in 25 balls, with 23 runs coming off an over from a struggling Wood.

David Miller made only nine in a fourth-wicket stand of 66 with Klaasen, whose scintillating knock was ended by Tom Curran (2-33), but his unbeaten 35 got South Africa up to their fifth-best T20 total.

In England's response, a fine catch from Tabraiz Shamsi sent Jason Roy on his way in Lungi Ngidi's second over before Buttler set about the returning Dale Steyn and took only 23 deliveries to reach his half-century.

Bairstow also looked ominous, dispatching Shamsi and Bjorn Fortuin into the crowd as the 100 mark came up inside nine overs, but Buttler gave it away when he was caught ramping Dwaine Pretorius.

The clean-striking Bairstow was bowled by Andile Phehlukwayo, having nailed three sixes, and England needed 78 from 38 when Dawid Malan - replacing the unwell Joe Denly - edged behind in a superb over from Shamsi.

Morgan middled Pretorius over the fence twice in the next over to silence the crowd and did the same to Ngidi after ending Steyn's spell with a six.

Stokes launched Phehlukwayo for back-to-back sixes before an incredible stand of 61 off 4.3 overs was ended when he holed out to Ngidi.

An imperious Morgan struck another two sixes in that same penultimate over from Ngidi, and Moeen Ali struck the winning runs after both he and the skipper offered chances to Pretorius.

Elliot Daly has followed Jamie George's lead by signalling his intent to remain with relegated Saracens.

The English and European champions will drop down into the Championship next season after breaching the Premiership's salary cap rules.

Uncertainly surrounded several of Sarries' international stars but England hooker George became the first to commit his future to the club earlier this week.

Club and international team-mate Daly has now announced his intention to do likewise.

"My plan is probably pretty similar to Jamie. I am still in contract," said Daly, whose immediate focus remains with England and the Six Nations. 

"At the moment I am not thinking about that. It is coming but we have the rest of the season to sort it out. 

"At the moment, I am just thinking about the next couple of games with England and then when I get back to Sarries then start talking about next year."

It has been an interesting start to life at Sarries for Daly, who walked straight into the crisis at Allianz Park following England's Rugby World Cup final defeat.

However, he has no regrets about leaving Wasps, despite the off-field issues at his new club.

"My first day wasn't the best. It's a big thing and it's not to be taken lightly, but the way Saracens dealt with the players I thought was really good," Daly added.

"I didn't see this coming, but I definitely don't have any regrets joining. The way that we train, the players there, the coaching staff - it's an amazing club to be at.

"When a club like Saracens want to sign you, the best team in Europe as they were at that time, it's a no-brainer to go and play with some very good people."

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