Dominant South Africa won their third Rugby World Cup in Tokyo yesterday via a demolition job of England. But whilst the Springbok’s may be jumping for joy, the England team is left devastated by the result.
A powerful display from South Africa
South Africa’s outstanding, quick, suffocating defensive line as well as their brutal superiority in the scrum meant they were able to inflict regular scoreboard pressure on England throughout the game from the ever-reliable boot of Handre Pollard. Overall, he scored 6 penalties and two conversions from tries to score 22 points in the game overall.
Two late tries, one from Makazole Mapimpi and a stunning, agile finish from Cheslin Kolbe added to England’s woes to guarantee that a convincing score line of a 20-point margin matched a convincing display. Although Owen Farrell ensured 4 kicks from 5 and 12 points (he even went past 100 points for the tournament), England produced a display polar opposite from the one that tore apart the All Blacks in the quarter final. On the other hand, South Africa’s gritty work against Wales was forgotten with a blistering execution of powerful rugby in the final. What a difference a week makes, eh?!
England lose a player in the first 3 minutes
Perhaps the signs were ominous from the first 3 minutes, after Kyle Sinckler was knocked unconscious from his own teammate Maro Itoje’s forearm. The prop has been integral to England’s performances this tournament, most notably in the scrum, and it was here most obviously that England were found wanting today, as well as at the breakdown. Faf De Klerk as ever covered every blade of grass, throwing himself into tackles not expected of a number 9, whilst Man of the Match Duane Vermeulen made 49 meters with 10 carries and turned the ball over twice.
“Rugby shouldn’t be something that creates pressure on you, it should be something that creates hope”
As the game ebbed and flowed, but with England always chasing the game (from 12-6 to 15-9 to 18-12) South Africa seized the advantage at the end as the game inevitably opened up a little, with England having to press for points. Some may view the 32-12 score line as a little harsh overall, but nobody can doubt that the deserved winners of this game were South Africa. It was a disciplined, destructive, bruising performance mixed with classy passages of rugby. Not only was it a special moment for the South African nation, it was also a special moment for Siya Kolisi as the first black man to ever captain the Springboks.