South Africa have the final say

We come from different backgrounds, different races, and we came together with one goal…I really hope that we’ve done that for South Africa…We can achieve anything if we pull together as one. Captain Siya Kolisi

Number three the Springboks

By Roger Childs

The 32-12 victory gave the Springboks their third World Cup in Yokohama last night. Most of the pundits picked England to win, especially after their comprehensive win over the All Backs in the semi-final. However from the start, the South Africans showed they meant business. In the first scrum they shunted the much vaunted English pack back on its heels and won the first of many penalties from this set piece. Handre Pollard happily converted any goal kicking opportunities into points.

It was 12-6 at half time from six penalties and then four more in the second half to make it 18-12. Then in the 65th minute  the dam broke and excellent Springbok tries followed from their two wingers to give them a 20 point win  – the greatest ever margin in a World Cup final.

Pollard kicks one of his six penalties

A victory built around all round forward dominance

The English forwards had dominated in all the games they played through to the semi-finals. The scrum often pushed their opponents back, the loose forwards y were quick to the loose ball and often won turnovers and in the lineout Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje won plenty of clean ball. The All Blacks were on the receiving end of this forward power in last weekend’s semi-final.

However, it the final last night the Springboks had the dominance.

  • They scrummed low, and frequently pushed the English back.
  • In the lineouts they never lost the ball on their throw and were able to snaffle a couple from their opponents.
  • Their loose forwards were often faster to the breakdown and they never conceded a turn over.
Celebrating the second try

The tackling was deadly from all the players and the English had great difficulty trying to penetrate the “green wall”. Often their ball carriers were nailed behind the advantage line. Consequently, this strong defence meant that the English never scored a try.

Plenty of variety

South Africa had won a dour semi-final against Wales with far too much of the boring “high kick and hope” approach. Senior coach Rassie Erasmus had indicated that they would probably use the same strategy in the final. But he was foxing.

Certainly the kicking featured, notably well targeted high kicks from Faf de Klerk behind the scrum, and Handre Pollard’s well placed kick cross field in the final quarter led to the excellent try by Makazole Mapimpi. 

Makazole Mapimpi scores the Springboks’ first try

There was also plenty of running the ball in the backs and they often exploited spilt ball by the English. Late in the game a dropped English pass was gathered by the Springboks and quick passing and speedy running led to the second try by Cheslin Kolbe.

A win for the nation to cherish

The coaches and players emphasised throughout the tournament that their World Cup campaign was for the people back home – the rich, the poor, blacks, whites and coloureds.

They were watching all over the rainbow nation and interest grew as the game progressed.

The crowd swelled as the game went on. From scores to hundreds to a thousand or more, young and old, men and women, all gathered in front of the big screen in the square of Newtown Junction, in the very centre of Johannesburg. Guardian Reporter, Jason Burke, in South Africa.

After the game Kolisi gave a humble and moving speech, and for the first time in World Cup history it was a Black man who raised the William Webb Trophy to the great delight of the thousands of South African fans in the packed Yokohama stands.

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