Kolisi, who captained the Boks for the first time, said: "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. That's a unsafe back three South Africa have".
But England suddenly lost momentum as South Africa found their straps with De Klerk dictating the pace of play in a triumphant return to his former home ground.
Electric debutant S'busiso Nkosi crossed twice to bring Ellis Park to his feet and in between his two tries, Jones hauled off lock Nick Isiekwe, making his full debut, and brought on the uncapped Hurricanes forward Brad Shields.
In any case, as I say, I think Eddie Jones will take the positives. "We were almost very, very good, so hopefully we can string a few things together and get that 80 minute performance next week".
England suffered a fourth straight test loss and fifth overall.
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. England was dominant once more in the last 10 minutes and scored two late tries. The unfortunate victim of an attack after England were defeat by Scotland during the Six Nations, this encounter seemed to have a lighter tone.
"It certainly wasn't the start we wanted in our first Test at home and I was anxious because we had a lot of young players against a very experienced England side", said Erasmus.
"I'm immensely proud of my team and the way they played".
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Today, Siya Kolisi will follow in Madiba's footsteps down the same tunnel to lead the Springboks into a new dawn.
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.
From George Ford's poor kicking to Maro Itoje's concession of too many penalties to Elliot Daly's kick out over the end line, and the forwards' inability to get any sort of foothold, the Red Rose wilted as the game progressed. "There was a lot of young guys on the park.it could have gone really bad for us".
England's Mike Brown scores a try as South Africa's Jean-Luc du Preez defends at Ellis Park. Nkosi scored in each corner, the second after combining brilliantly with fellow debutant Dyantyi.
Kiwi-born flanker, Hurricanes captain Brad Shields, endured a rough start to his global career for England.
But the match was turned on its head when Faf de Klerk orchestrated a stunning first-half comeback supported by the brilliance of Willie le Roux that enabled the Springboks to take a 29-27 lead into half-time.
But Mako Vunipola, winning his 50 cap in the match, was shown a yellow card with just over 15 minutes to go and South Africa hit the accelerator - with Aphiwe Dyantyi strolling over.