Rugby World Cup: the duel between South Africa and Ireland, an “epic poem” for the foreign press

“For once, the great rugby celebration will have lived up to expectations

Rugby World Cup: the duel between South Africa and Ireland, an “epic poem” for the foreign press

“For once, the great rugby celebration will have lived up to expectations. This poster corresponded to a final before its time, and the real final, in five weeks, will be hard-pressed to match what this match showed: determination bordering on brutality, thrills and offensive thrills. » If the British daily The Times, which refers to "a magnificent spectacle from start to finish", is as enthusiastic in its report of the Rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Ireland on Saturday September 23 South Africa and won, 13-8, by the XV du Trèfle, this fight between the two first nations in the world ranking was widely expected.

And indeed, “the first 40 minutes were by far the best of this World Cup. The ferocity of each team's defense was barely believable, as was the speed and precision of the lines playing under immense pressure,” assures the South African daily The Daily Maverick, which hails a meeting of “very high quality”.

The battle promised to be mainly physical: the Springboks, reigning world champions, had placed seven forwards on the substitutes' bench, the kind of score sheet intended to let the Irish know "their intention to roughly bury them under the pitch of the Stade de France", reports News 24. According to Rito Hlungwani, a coach quoted by the South African media, the Springboks' initial objective was clear: "After the first half, the Irish should never again want to to play rugby. »

“The strongest team in world rugby wanted to show that size matters,” adds The Irish Independent. An opinion shared by the British daily The Guardian: “Against the Boks, the ball carrier barely has time to take half a breath before the tackler is already throwing himself at him. Close your eyes for a second and you will wake up a few days later with a doctor at your bedside who, if all goes well, will declare you fit to play again in the spring. »

“Closer to street fighting”

Except that the South African plan didn't quite work. The fight resulted in a rough and aggressive defense from the Irish who resisted the physical power of South Africa. “Ireland’s immense defense and black magic stopped the Boks,” comments The Daily Maverick. For The Guardian, the close match mainly pitted “the complex and extremely well-crafted offensive combinations of Ireland against the crazy blitz defense of South Africa. »

For The Irish Examiner, who regrets a violent spectacle, "closer to a street fight than a rugby match", the victory is however less linked to the talent of the XV du Trèfle than to the points lost at the foot, 11 in total , by South Africa: “Despite their bravery and aggression, the Irish can thank their opponents, who had a bad evening in front of the posts. »

An observation shared by the entire Anglo-Saxon sports press, which questions the choice of a new South African scorer for the rest of the competition, in particular for the quarter-final which could pit them against France , October 15. If the Blues finish first in their group, Ireland will probably face New Zealand, unless Italy performs well in Group A.

For its next matches, the Clover XV should be able to continue to count on its hordes of singing supporters, who are the subject of several articles in the Irish press. The Irish Times thus reports the words of the Irish captain, Johnny Sexton, impressed by the green crowd present in the Parisian streets, and which was estimated at more than 24,000 people at the Stade de France: "I had never, ever seen a such a crowd. »

According to The Irish Independent, these Irish supporters experienced a “magical night” and the meeting between the Springboks and the XV of Clover, “this epic poem, this wild, hypnotic and captivating fight, gave rise to a historic victory” which resoundingly confirmed Ireland's World Cup claims.