World champions South Africa beat England (16-15) on Saturday 21 October and qualified for the World Cup final where they will challenge New Zealand. She will try to win a fourth world title against the All Blacks, who are also searching for a fourth star.
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They came from a long way! The South African world champions, who had been trailing throughout the match, took the lead three minutes from time thanks to a penalty kick from Handre Pollard. The Springboks thus stunned the English, who were playing in their fifth final in history, with just seconds to go. We must believe that experience or force of habit is what led the world champions who were able to prevent the return of the French in the quarter-finals and overthrow the English in the semi-finals.
There is no doubt that this encounter will not go down in the annals of history simply because of a single try scored by South African Rudolf Snyman, but it provided a dose of suspense and tension that was largely extracted by a surprising English team. Because, against the Boks, Rose’s team was on the mend from the start and with intensity: first with four penalties (3rd, 10th, 24th, 40th) and a touchdown (53rd) from Owen Farrell but above all by taking the Springboks to their own game, in a scrum (2 Win) as well as in touch (4 touches missing).
Who is the fourth star?
By responding to the South African physical influence and playing – a lot – with their feet, while relying on a steel defence, the English played with their weapons. And he almost succeeded! For 70 minutes, the Boks looked unable to respond to the problem England imposed. Even second row RJ Snyman’s (69′) attempted save from Pollard’s decisive penalty.
In a week’s time, the final between South Africa and New Zealand will be a rematch between the top two teams in the World Rugby rankings: as it did in 1995. Back then, South Africa won painfully (15-12, AB) thanks to Joel Stransky’s opening footwork. Twenty-eight years after winning their first title, on home soil, South Africa have the chance to become the first team to sew a fourth star onto their shirt. New Zealand has the same ambition.
(with France Press agency)
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