Rugby World Cup: “England were absolutely magnificent,” concede South African media

The Springboks have “come back from the dead”, exclaims the South African site News24

Rugby World Cup: “England were absolutely magnificent,” concede South African media

The Springboks have “come back from the dead”, exclaims the South African site News24. “As best they can”, South Africa dampened the hopes of England (16-15) at the end of “an all-powerful standoff”, Saturday October 21, savors the Daily Maverick . The players of the Jacques Nienaber-Rassie Erasmus duo thus offer themselves a dream final in the Rugby World Cup against New Zealand, victorious over Argentina in the semi-final, scheduled for October 28, in Saint-Denis ( Seine-Saint-Denis).

In a rain-soaked Stade de France, “England did everything they could to win the match, and they were absolutely magnificent” in their register, concedes News24. The English “dominated South Africa physically, took the upper hand in groupings and perfectly mastered the kicking game”, develops the media.

The Guardian goes even further: “England played the match of their lives”, despite a very messy journey so far, believes the London daily. And yet, “South Africa still won.”

“For almost the entire eighty minutes, we had the impression that it was not going to be the Boks’ evening,” notes the Daily Maverick. “England has stepped up its efforts and South Africa has not provided any firm answers,” continues The Guardian. Siya Kolisi [the third row captain of the Boks] literally had his shorts pulled down in a maul. Bongi Mbonambi [the hooker] had a nightmare on the sidelines. »

The Springboks’ “trick inventory”

The South African enthusiasm, seen during the quarter-final against France, seemed far away, notes News24. Just like the brilliance with which the Boks won the Japanese World Cup final in 2019, against these same Englishmen. On Saturday, “it was England who seemed clear in their strategy, South Africa half-heartedly leafing through their inventory of tricks in the hope of coming across something that works,” details The Guardian.

“And when Owen Farrell, the inspiring captain of England, slammed a drop in the 53rd minute, the Swing Low, Sweet Chariot [the chant of the supporters of the XV de la Rose] resonated among the 78,098 spectators” at the Stadium from France, tells News24. The English then led by nine points, 15 to 6, and thought they were going to have another chance to win the World Cup, “twenty years after their first coronation,” adds the South African media.

“But in the end,” regrets The Daily Telegraph, “they failed in one breath. » Well helped by the entry of their replacements, in particular that of the left pillar Ox Nché, the Boks regained the advantage in the scrum, which allowed the reigning world champions to benefit from two decisive whistles in their favor and score ten points “to overthrow England”.

“The first penalty resulted in [substitute second row] RG Snyman’s try, following a maul coming off the sidelines,” describes the Telegraph. And "with two minutes to go", head gunner Handré Pollard slotted home a penalty from almost 50 yards to seal the game, leaving the English side "devastated by the cruel turn" of events.

“It was the definition of 'winning ugly,' but to perfection,” admits Daily Maverick. “At least,” reassures the Telegraph, this performance has “infused this English team with much-needed credibility, and has given its supporters a reason to believe that this team is finally heading in the right direction under the leadership [of the coach] Steve Borthwick.”

Writing in the South African daily The Citizen, journalist Jacques van der Westhuyzen reports that the nation that wins the World Cup final on October 28 “will be the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy for the fourth time ".

The Springboks and the All Blacks, three world titles each, have already faced each other at this stage of the competition in 1995, in Johannesburg (South Africa), under the eyes of Nelson Mandela, and "it was the hosts who had it won 15-12 after extra time,” the newspaper recalls. In 2023, the Blacks beat the Boks 35-20 in Auckland (New Zealand) on July 15, but the South Africans took a stunning revenge against “their biggest rivals” (35-7) in London, on August 25, The Citizen concludes, full of hope.