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Rugby World Cup

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

Gatland Explains England RWC Final Comments

Warren Gatland has come out to explain his comments around England’s Rugby World Cup final as well as looking back on one vital mistake he made in his career

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(Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland has given his reason for predicting England’s fall in the Rugby World Cup final while talking to Off the Ball.

The coaching great, who stepped aside from his 12-year stint with Wales following the conclusion of their World Cup campaign was promoting his new book ‘Pride and Passion’ and explained how the emotional toll of England’s semi-final win over New Zealand was hard to follow up. 

“At the very elite level of sport, it is the emotion that counts. And sometimes when you have a great performance and you are emotionally charged right on the edge, it is difficult to repeat that,” he said. 

It proved to be the case for England as they failed to find another gear in the final, being dominated by South Africa who ran out 32-12 winners. He drew on past experiences in his career to back up his point, including a discussion about the 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour.

“When I look back at my time coaching, there are two examples that really strike out for me. One was in London coaching Wasps, and we played Leicester in the last round. Martin Johnson’s last game and Neil Back’s last game at Welford Road. I completely underestimated the emotion of that. They beat us 45-24 or something like that. Then in the final, I didn’t think they could bring the same level of emotion so we put 40-points on them in the final. It was the same scenario with Australia in the second test in 2013. James Horwill, tears running down his eyes, the effort and energy they put into that, I didn’t think they could bring the same the following week,” he added. 

That Lions tour threw up some major complications for Gatland including a decision to drop Irish legend Brian O’Driscoll for the third test, which caused huge backlash and the Kiwi regrets how he went about the decision that week. 

“The biggest mistake we made was on the Sunday after the second test we put Brian up for media. That was a huge mistake because everyone just assumed with Sam Warburton getting injured that Brian was going to play and going to be captain the following week. So we made the decision and I said to the other coaches ‘there could be a big falling out over this’. I didn’t realise quite the extent,” he finished. 

Gatland’s experience is easy to see and he will take charge of yet another Lions tour in 2021 as he leads his charges to South Africa as he completes the full cycle of tours having also managed them to a series draw with New Zealand in 2017. In the meantime Gatland has taken up a role with Super Rugby franchise the Chiefs as he returns to his homeland looking to add further success to his CV.

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International

Steyn’s Rugby Career Could be Over

Double World Cup winner Frans Steyn could be set to call time on his career early following his latest triumph

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(Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

Springboks great Frans Steyn looks likely to at least pull the curtain down on his European career in order to return to his homeland.

The two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who managed to pick up medals from the 2007 edition of the tournament and this year’s one, beating England in both finals, is currently contracted to French Top 14 giants Montpellier. 

However, it is believed that he has held discussions with the club about ending his contract come the end of January instead of when it is supposed to expire in July and speaking to South African news-outlet Volksblad, he seems keen on settling down in his homeland. 

“Rugby has always been an inspiration for the Afrikaners, especially for farmers. If we had a bad week, if we watch good rugby on Saturday, then everything is better again. Only good rain, a good rugby weekend gives us the power to face Mondays again. It is a privilege that many farmers do not have. We know what to do in the future and what we need to have in place. We want to raise our children here and are attached to the rural feel that Bloemfontein offers. We want our children to have a good experience here as my wife and I had when one grew up here,” he said. 

The 32-year-old has a family farm in Bloemfontein and it is understood this is not the first time he has made the suggestion to return to the area, but it now looks more likely than ever that he will get what he likes. 

Steyn is expected to return to the French club next week, where he would play until January before his possible move back to South Africa. 

At this time it is unknown whether the back would continue his rugby career with local professional side the Cheetahs, who play in the PRO14, or whether he will end his career early, having played at the top level for such a long time already.

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International

Scots End Row with World Rugby

Scotland and World Rugby have been unhappy with one another for the guts of a month, but they have finally sorted their differences out

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

World Rugby have confirmed this morning that the Scottish Rugby Union has accepted the punishment received for comments made during the Rugby World Cup in Japan last month.

The punishment of a £70,000 fine and a meaningful apology was handed to the union following comments made by their chief Mark Dodson, who suggested sueing World Rugby as his team’s clash with Japan came under threat by Typhoon Hagibis. 

In what was a must-win game for the Scots to progress to the knock-out stages, he also criticised the running of the competition by the hosts. Eventually the match was played and Scotland lost 28-21, leaving them heading home, but World Rugby were not happy. 

Having announced the punishment last week, World Rugby have now released a statement to confirm that Scotland have accepted the decision. 

“World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter. The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party,” the statement read. 

It puts and end to a dragged out argument between the organisations which will be a relief to fans. The fine will be donated to the Childfund Pass it Back programme, which is continuing to help the areas affected by the typhoon last month. 

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