South Africa is alone in the world with four titles. The Boks won their third straight game by one point last night at Stade de France, an example of their brutal realism in this World Cup. The All Blacks were prevented from developing all-round rugby, as they were shown a yellow card in the third minute, an introduction to half-time for the Springboks, who led 12-6 at the break. New Zealand captain Sam Keane also received a red card in the 34th minute, a final sending off that was the first of its kind in a World Cup final.
Although they rebelled in the second half, with a try from full-back Beauden Barrett in the 58th minute, the Blacks missed several points, most notably a penalty kick from Jordie Barrett which looked like the match point in the 73rd minute. They fell short at the same time from the Boks and their captain. Siya Kolisi, who was crowned for the second time in a row.
On Friday evening, England won A little conclusion » In the kidnapping against Argentina. It was unexpected for the XV de la Rose, which almost died after months of crisis. This unexpected third place offers a great reward for the generation that will close the line having demonstrated the strength of their character: we must never bury the traitorous Albion.
A bittersweet feeling
Behind the joy of the winners, this World Cup leaves a bittersweet feeling. The Blues’ agonizing quarter-final defeat to South Africa had the effect of a cold shower on patriotic fervor. The arbitration sparked endless debates, showing that its subjectivity remains a problem that video can do nothing about. Far from feeling aggrieved, there remains the painful impression that it was or never was the 15th year for France, who once again stumbled to the top title.
After the fever has subsided, but not the bad mood, we will find many reasons to protest against the competition. Nor can all this be attributed to the bitterness of the Gauls, who were bad losers. The draw was held approximately three years before the competition, with the hierarchy evolving in the meantime, resulting in an unbalanced final table. This is an achievement that did not always help the understanding of the game, as the semi-finals presented a very bad spectacle. Seven weeks of competition seemed a bit long. Or the place of the “small” teams is in question again…
We can consider that Portugal, Fiji and Uruguay gave a good response with their exciting performances. We will also console ourselves with attendance records, praised by Bill Beaumont, president of the World Rugby Union (see interview below), or with quiet security, a challenge taken up just months before the Olympics. We will also remember the beautiful atmosphere in the stadiums and host cities, and even in the players’ hotels or in the training sessions, which was reaped by the good enthusiasm of the fans of the teams from all over the world who came in large numbers. We will long remember the vibrant cheers of the Irish fans that propelled their team to victory during their first round match against the Springboks (13-8), after a fierce battle.
The World Cup will be expanded within four years, from 20 to 24 teams. Australia, which retained its coach Eddie Jones (63 years old) despite his team’s unprecedented exclusion from the group stage, will host the next edition. There is time to change this hierarchy: as we saw again this year, the magic of the World Cup allows for rapid renewal.
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