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Springboks Roar to World Cup Glory

South Africa have added another Webb Ellis Cup to their name with an incredible victory over England in the final

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

South Africa have claimed their third Rugby World Cup title with a resounding 32-12 victory over England in Japan this morning.

Fly-half Handre Pollard contributed 22-points from the boot to add to tries from wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe to see the Boks sweep aside the English. 

The Springboks started the better of the two and had a chance to go ahead as early as the second minute when Pollard misplaced a simple enough penalty kick. 

England were handed a massive blow less than a minute later as Kyle Sinckler was taken off after being knocked out cold after hitting his head against teammate Maro Itoje’s elbow. 

Things got worse for the men in white when Pollard made no mistake from a penalty in the ninth minute to make it 3-0. 

However, despite looking off the pace it was England that hit next as Owen Farrell knocked over a penalty of his own just after the 20 minute mark. While for the Boks both hooker Bongi Mbonambi and lock Lood de Jager went off through injury. 

Straight from the restart the Springboks put pressure on the opposition and showed their dominance in the scrum to win a penalty which Pollard kicked over to put them ahead once again. 

England hit back again over the next ten minutes and but for some impressive defence from the Boks they would have been in for a try but they had to settle for a penalty kick from the boot of Farrell to level once more. 

With just over five minutes remaining before half-time Pollard put South Africa in front again with yet another penalty and things only got better for them on the stroke of half-time as they won another scrum penalty with Pollard smashed over to leave it at 12-6 come the whistle. 

The Springboks opened the second period as they ended the first winning a penalty at scrum-time just inside the England half. Pollard sent the kick from the left-hand side flying over to stretch the lead to 15-9. 

However, the tables were turned five minutes later as England won a penalty from a scrum this time around and from the penalty Farrell ensured a further three-points to make it a six-point game. 

Farrell had a chance to cut further into the lead moments later but sent the penalty wide of the posts and they were punished as Pollard notched up his sixth penalty two minutes later to make it 18-9. 

However, England hit back right away as Farrell made up for his miss with an easy penalty kick won from the restart to put them within six once again with just over a quarter of the match remaining. 

Pollard had another penalty attempt from almost 60 metres out but couldn’t connect properly with the kick as the score stayed the same. 

South Africa were celebrating four minutes on however, as they sent the ball out wide left to winger Mapimpi who chipped over the top for centre Lukanyo Am, who caught the ball before sending a beautiful pass back inside to his No 11 to waltz over for his sixth try of the tournament. Pollard added a further two points to the scoreboard to make it 25-12 with just over ten minutes to go. 

England went in search of a score to get within touching distance of the Boks but they were driven back time and time again. 

Eventually centre Henry Slade knocked the ball on just inside his own half, Pieter-Steph du Toit picked up the loose ball before sending the ball to Kolbe who darted forward showing incredible dancing feet to charge over for a vital try. Pollard converted to give the Springboks a 20-point lead with six minutes remaining.

South Africa went looking for further scores but couldn’t find a way through the English defence for a third time and as the clock struck 80 minutes Pollard kicked the ball out to the delight of the men in green. 

The win now means that the Springboks are level with New Zealand having won three World Cups in their history, and in doing so have become the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup having lost a game earlier in the tournament. For England it is a massive disappointment following last weekend’s brilliant victory over the All Blacks, but for South Africa it is a deserved trophy to add to their Rugby Championship from earlier in the year. 

Player Ratings

England Starting XV:

Elliot Daly (4), Anthony Watson (5), Manu Tuilagi (6), Owen Farrell (7), Jonny May (5), George Ford (5), Ben Youngs (6), Billy Vunipola (6), Sam Underhill (7), Tom Curry (7), Courtney Lawes (4), Maro Itoje (6), Kyle Sinckler (n/a), Jamie George (5), Mako Vunipola (5)

Replacements (5)

South Africa XV:

Willie le Roux (7), Cheslin Kolbe (8), Lukanyo Am (8), Damian de Allende (7), Makazole Mapimpi (8), Handre Pollard (9), Faf de Klerk (8), Duane Vermeulen (9), Pieter-Steph du Toit (8), Siya Kolisi (7), Lood de Jager (6), Eben Etzebeth (7), Frans Malherbe (7), Bongi Mbonambi (7), Tendai Mtawarira (7)

Replacements (8)

Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.

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World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video

While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.

The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.  

The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions. 

World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.  

Statement Ends.

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Rugby World Cup

RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.

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Confirmed.

How the draw worked

As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.


Draw seedings

Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.

The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.

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Rugby World Cup

Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023

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Image from World Rugby
  • Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
  • 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
  • RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France


World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2 
  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
  • Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
    The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
  • Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
  • Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner


Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

Official Press Release from World Rugby

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