CAPE TOWN, November 2 – South Africa’s Springboks peaked to perfection to record a historic 32-12 win over England in the 2019 RWC final on Saturday at the International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan.
With this victory, the Springboks became the first team to win a RWC final after losing a pool match (to New Zealand’s All Blacks in their opening match). The RWC records will also show that South Africa have never lost a final after three appearances.
The 72 000 capacity crowd warmed to the fare as the Springboks emerged victorious in the ‘Battle of the Brutes’ and several forwards failed to see out the game as injuries took its toll.
A mere 48 seconds into the match the Springboks missed penalty a goal able penalty after Handré Pollard sent his kick wide. He was however on target eight minutes later to open the score in the match (3-0).
In the opening 10 minutes, there was no sign of the usual kicking-based gameplans by either, with England even choosing to run the ball from their in-goal area.
The Springboks made a huge statement in the early scrums and England did not seem to have an answer. Also, the Springboks’ gameplan was not quite what England was expecting and there were early tell-tale signs that they were rattled.
Midway through the half England finally showed a fair measure of enterprise and set off on several sorties into the Springboks’ half where they awarded a 21st-minute penalty. Centre Owen Farrell made no mistake with his attempt (3-3).
Straight afterwards, lock Lood de Jager and hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi left the field after taking knocks to the head and Malcolm Marx and Franco Mostert were called off the substitutes’ bench to join the fray. This situation just about reflected the war of attrition that was in evidence out there.
In the 25th minute, the Springboks regained the lead with a second Pollard penalty (6-3).
There was an emphatic response from England as they pinned the Springboks down in their 22m area, but defence triumphed over the attack. However, the Springboks infringed at broken play and Farrell was on target from the kicking tee with a penalty to level scores (6-6).
Straight from the restart, the Springboks managed to regain the initiative and after a penetrative surge downfield they won a penalty which Pollard steered through the posts, three minutes ahead of halftime (9-6).
Yet another scrum penalty for the Springboks a minute before the change-over saw a Pollard penalty double the lead for a 12-6 scoreline as the teams made their way back to the change rooms.
There was no of the same early in the second when Pollard capitalised on a scrum penalty when he gave the Springboks a 15-6 lead, only two minutes after the restart.
Nine minutes later Farrell goaled a penalty to reduce the deficit for a 15-9 scoreline.
However, the Springboks regained the 9-point lead when Pollard goaled his sixth penalty (18-9) but it was brought back to a six-point match when Farrell struck again just ahead of the hour mark (18-16).
The Springboks turned the match on its head with a wonderful team effort which was rounded off by leftwing Makazole Mapimpi close to the corner flag. Pollard’s conversion opened a 13-point lead (25-12).
The were more woe for England when they lost the ball and the Springboks cleaned up before they sent rightwing Cheslin Kolbe away and a few sidesteps later he was over for a try which Pollard to convert with seven minutes left on the clock (32-12).
Scorers: South Africa 32 (12): Tries: Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe. Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalties: Pollard (6) England 12 (6): Penalties: Owen Farrell (4)
– African News Agency (ANA)