SOUTH AFRICA WINS THIRD RUGBY WORLD CUP TITLE OVER ENGLAND
South Africa outplayed England in the final to win their third Rugby World Cup 32-12 in Yokohama on Saturday. The Springboks dominated the throughout the match as England struggled to repeat their semifinals performance. Siya Kolisi became the first black man to captain the South Africa and lift the World Cup.
After a brilliant display against defending champions New Zealand in the semi-finals last week, England were the favourites to win their first World Cup since 2003. On the other hand, South Africa survived a tight game with a narrow 19-16 victory over Wales to secure their place in the final.
Both teams suffered early setbacks. England’s Kyle Sinckler had to leave the field after he collided with teammate Maro Itoje’s elbow. The Boks then lost Lood de Jager after he injured his shoulder in an attempt to stop a charging Billy Vunipola.
But the Springboks, who won the tournament in 1995 and 2007, dominated the breakdown and hammered the English scrum. England struggled to get a toehold in the game but, remarkably, still managed to stay in touch, trailing 12-6 at the break.
In the second half, South Africa’s sheer physical dominance began to tell. The Boks, through fly-half Handre Pollard, were leading 18-12 with 13 minutes left on the clock when the Springboks buried English aspirations.
South Africa put the result beyond doubt with a piece of attacking brilliance. Makazole Mapimpi’s kick ahead was gathered by Lukhanyo Am who drew the defence before flicking the ball casually back inside to Mapimpi who sprinted for the line.
Any hopes of an England comeback were snuffed out by the diminutive Cheslin Kolbe in the 76th minute. The winger, probably the most exciting attacking back in world rugby, collected an immaculately timed pass by Pieter-Steph Du Toit, turned England captain Owen Farrell inside out with his pace and sidestep and dashed over the try line to seal the thrashing.
South Africa’s triumph is even more remarkable when their recent history is considered. They struggled for consistency, losing to Italy and fell low in the World Rugby rankings. But they began to rebuild their reputation as a rugby superpower. They beat a vastly improved England in a home Test series last year and then stunned the All Blacks at home. This year they thumped a hapless Australia and then drew with their arch-rivals New Zealand in Wellington to win the Southern Hemisphere’s Rugby Championship.