Key Talking Points- Springboks 32-12 England Rugby World Cup Final 2019

South Africa became the first team to lose a group stage game and win the Rugby World Cup after beating England 32-12 in Yokohama. The Boks defied history to claim their third World Cup crown, putting them equal with New Zealand and keeping the title in the Southern Hemisphere.

Here we take a look at five key reasons why the Springboks won

Dan Cole becomes another Phil Vickery: England were dealt a blow early in the game when tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler walked off due to concussion after a collision with Maro Itoje. It meant Dan Cole had to play nearly 78 minutes, and he suffered the same fate that befell Phil Vickery in the first Lions test ten years ago- domination at the hands of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

The Springbok scrum had the English one backpedalling on several occasions (despite being 20 kgs lighter) and thanks to the trusty boot of Handre Pollard, kept adding points whenever Jerome Garces blew a penalty their way- nearly 12 points came from scrum penalties.

Cheslin Kolbe’s early tackle on Courtney Lawes: England were restricted to their own half for the first ten minutes, and couldn’t build the quick start they normally desire. On one occasion with the Boks 3-0 up, England had a 5 on 2 overlap, but Cheslin Kolbe executed a brilliant tackle on the much larger Courtney Lawes. England managed to take three points from a ruck penalty, but it should’ve been seven, but for Kolbe, who is so integral to the Bok blitz defence, and implements his role perfectly.

Farrell’s missed kick at 15-9: England started the second half much, much better than they did the first one, and Owen Farrell, normally a very reliable kicker, had the opportunity to reduce the gap to three points. However he missed a relatively easy kick by his standards and instead of it becoming 15-12, the Boks pounced at the other end to make it 18-9, and the game was effectively over then, with England needing two scores to overhaul the Boks.

The brilliance of Duane Vermeulen: The Springbok 8thman has probably been the Player of the Decade for them, and put in a Man of the Match performance for them. He earned them breakdown penalties, was instrumental in the massive 20 odd phases of defending on the own line that the Boks did against Vunipola, Tuilagi and co. around the half hour mark, and was also the brains of a midfield maul move that took England by surprise, and earned them a penalty that put them two scores ahead.


(via Twitter)

Two fantastic tries for the Boks: The Springboks have often been accused of playing ten man rugby, but both their tries in this game were fantastic- Lukhanyo Am’s no-look pass to Makazole Mapimpi for the first, and Kolbe’s individual brilliance, leaving Owen Farrell eating grass, for the second.

As Warren Gatland had predicted, England perhaps played their World Cup final a week before against the All Blacks, and the Boks, with their six man forward bench, were too big and strong for Eddie Jones’ side, and thoroughly deserved winners.

1995, 2007 and 2019 (?)- Springboks take on England in World Cup final

South Africa will be looking to win their third Rugby World Cup title when they square off against England in the final in Yokohama later today. The odds are perhaps against the Springboks- no team has won the Rugby Championship and the World Cup in the same year (SA won the 2019 RC), and no team has won the World Cup after losing a game in pool play (the Boks have already lost to New Zealand). However their previous two titles came in 1995 and 2007, and going by the twelve year gap between those trophies, this might well be their evening.

England will be favourites for this clash- they’ve already beaten Argentina, Australia and New Zealand in this tournament, and beating the Boks will see Eddie Jones’ side achieve the Southern Hemisphere “Grand Slam”- perhaps the toughest path to a title win since the Boks in 1995. Jones will also become the first foreign coach to win a World Cup- all previous winners have had a manager native to their country.

Jones, not surprisingly, has chosen to name an unchanged XV- keeping faith with the side that dismantled the All Blacks in the semi-final. There’s only one injury enforced change on the bench, with Ben Spencer coming in for Willi Heinz.

England squad vs South Africa

The Springboks have one change- influential winger Cheslin Kolbe returns from his ankle injury to take his spot in the XV ahead of Sbu Nkosi. Apart from his attacking influence and capability under the high ball, Kolbe is also very good on defence- his decisions on the rush defence system have been fantastic, and it’s been a big reason for the Boks’ fine showing defensively. Continue reading “1995, 2007 and 2019 (?)- Springboks take on England in World Cup final”