Rainbow Nation celebrates again
WORLD CUP FINAL REPORT: South Africa made history by becoming the first team to win the tournament after losing a pool match.
And in the process, the 32-12 demolition of England in Yokohama on Saturday, saw them equal the record of claiming the Webb Ellis Cup three times.
It also means the Rainbow Nation will be ranked No.1 in the World for the first time since 2009.
* Did you miss any of the action? To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
1995 is reborn! In fact it is reborn in greater splendour and glory.
It was all the greater for being unexpected and all the greater for the manner of it. All the greater for the joy it has again brought to the nation, sending it rocketing into ecstasy. Every South African can stand up with pride and hope and say: “This is my country. These are my people. There is nothing we can not achieve.” And as they do, they bow with Japanese reverence to the team that brought this about in such an emphatic way.
What England did to New Zealand last weekend in the semifinal, so South Africa did to England in the final, and there is simply no disputing the victory in all its grandeur.
Against New Zealand, England had got their attack in first. Against England, South Africa’s got their attack in first. Against England, New Zealand looked bewildered and became ragged. Against South Africa, England looked bewildered and became ragged.
This is the second biggest World Cup final victory – 20 points this time to the 23 points in 1999. New Zealand have won the trophy three times, and now South Africa have won it three times. The first two South African victories were try-less but this one was won with a try by each of the wings.
The wings scored the tries but the forwards won their battle comprehensively. They were far too good for the England’s pack. They scrummed better, forcing England to concede six penalties at scrums, a huge number. They tackled far better than England did, making more tackles and missing fewer. They made more than twice as many metres with the ball in hand. They won and deserved to do so.
Siya Kolisi won the toss and chose to kick off. The teams came out, the drums were banged, fire was shot into the air, each side sang its anthem with passion, the crowd counted down and Handré Pollard kicked off.
Courtney Lawes tackled Lood de Jager and was penalised, but Pollard missed the kick to loud applause.
England suffered a setback in the first two minutes when Kyle Sinckler tackled Makazole Mapimpi and suffered a head injury. He went off and did not return, his place taken at tighthead by Dan Cole.
England were in fact under a great deal of early pressure as Willie le Roux broke and then Pollard caught his own high kick. England tried to run out of trouble but, when Owen Farrell was tackled and penalised, Pollard goaled. 3-0 after 9 minutes.
England went though phases that ended when Cheslin Kolbe was penalised and Farrell levelled the scores. 3-all after 22 minutes, and South Africa lost Lood de Jager and Bongi Mbonambi to injuries. De Jager had hurt a shoulder and Mbonambi went off for a head injury assessment, from which he did not return.
The England scrum was falling apart and a penalty at the collapse of a scrum enabled Pollard to restore the lead. 6-3 after 25 minutes.
England went onto hectic attack with Sam Underhill and Cole getting really close, but the Springbok defence held out till penalised for Farrell to kick an easy goal. 6-all after 34 minutes – just time for Pollard to restore the Springbok lead after Billy Vunipola was penalised at a tackle and then increase it after yet another scrum penalty.
Half-time came with the Springboks leading 12-6.
Early in the second half, the Springboks changed their props determined to maintain their scrum dominance, and it paid off with another three points from the first scrum after the arrival of Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch. 15-6 after 45 minutes.
But ironically it was England who then turned on the Springboks at a scrum, won a penalty and added another Farrell three-pointer to the score. 15-9.
South Africa took a quick throw into a lineout and established a surprise maul at which England were penalised. 18-9 to be followed by another Farrell penalty. 18-12 with 22 minutes to play.
It started with a box kick by Ben Youngs. Willie le Roux, who thoroughly justified his selection, caught the ball and was tackled, but Lukhanyo Am went down the short side with a little pass to Malcolm Marx who immediately gave to Mapimpi. The left wing chipped downfield where Am got the bouncing ball and gave it back to Mapimpi who scored a try which Pollard converted. 25-12 with 14 minutes to play.
England’s handling went awry when Am patted the ball to Pieter-Steph du Toit who gave to Kolbe who stepped inside Farrell and raced over for the try. 32-12 with seven minutes to play, and already there was joy on the Springbok faces.
They were back in the England 22 when the final gong of the 2019 World Cup sounded and Pollard kicked the ball in to the stands.
The final whistle went, a signal for joy unbounded for the victors and bitter dismay for the conquered, who were gracious in defeat.
As in 1995 when the president wore the captain’s No.6 jersey, Nelson Mandela in Francois Pienaar jersey, so in 2019, the president Cyril Ramaphosa wore his captain’s No.6 jersey, Siya Kolisi’s jersey.
There was so much for South Africans to rejoice over, even for those doubters who were probably never happier to be wrong.
Man of the Match: The candidates are 23 Springboks with their captain Siya Kolisi and all of them deserve the honour.
Moment of the Match: Makazole Mapimpi’s try – a wonderfully bright moment after all the criticism of the Springboks’ drab, unimaginative, kicking game.
Villain of the Match: Nobody at all. There nobody on the field who came anywhere near villainy. The match was a credit to both teams.
Pens: Farrell 4
For South Africa:
Tries: Mapimpi, Kolbe
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 6
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Dan Cole, 19 George Kruis, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Jonathan Joseph.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Francois Louw, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)