Dale Money | November 1st, 2019
After six weeks of exciting World Cup Rugby, it comes down to a Saturday finale between two familiar foes in England and South Africa. These two national sides have quite an interesting past history, which dates far back as 1906 during what was the South African rugby tour of Europe. It was the first international tour by a team from South Africa and came just four years after the Boer war. The game was played in Crystal Palace ending in a 3-3 standstill. Since that time they have battled amongst each other in 41 test matches, with the Springboks leading the all-time series 25-15-2.
The English will be coming into this match against the South Africans, with a bit of revenge on their minds there’s no doubt about that. It was in the 2007 World Cup that they last met in the final, in which the Springboks would win by a score of 15-6. Percy Montgomery was key in the win scoring on four penalties.
It will all kick off Saturday at 5:00 AM eastern, in Yokohoma’s International Stadium.
It would be an understatement to say the Red Roses shocked a lot of people, by knocking off that goliath of international rugby all blacks. This was a team that prior to this game, hadn’t lost a World Cup match since 2007 against France in the quarter-final. Gotta hand it to England though, it wasn’t just that they won the game against New Zealand it was how they did it, from the outset they were able to control the game with an all-around swarming performance. The Kiwis were not able to get much traction, rarely were they able to work their way into England’s 22.
They were much quicker, more powerful and just all-around played better defensively from the outset. It did not take even two minutes before they were able to break open the scoring, with a Manu Tuilagi diving try in the all black’s end. Down 13-0 in the second half, New Zealand would eventually put some points on the board. Ardie Savea would score from five meters out, intercepting a miss thrown England line-out and putting it away for a try. It would end up finishing 19-7, however, the scoreline was certainly not indicative of how well England dominated. They’d have two potential tries called back, one from Ben Young the other being Sam Underhill’s.
Having both Vinupola brothers. playing together in the final will be crucial for the English chances. They’ll be looking to join Bobby and Jack Charlton as the second pair of brothers to win a world cup with England. Billy Vinupola has recently offered up a challenge to the South Africans, after the Springboks fight fire with fire statement. Look for a battle of the number eights, with both Vinupola and Duane Vermeulen going head to head.
Included in Eddie Jones lineup for the game versus the South Africans. Props Mako Vinupola and Kyle Sinckler. At hooker will be Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes will be the starting locks. The flankers are Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, number eight Vinupola, scrum-half Ben Youngs, fly-half George Ford, and winger Jonny May. Owen Farrell and Tuilagi are locked in at the centre position. Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly will get the start at full-back.
The South Africans will look to make history as the first country in the tournament, to lose a group game and still come out of it with the Webb Ellis trophy. After all the excitement build-up, from the razzle-dazzle of Saturday’s affair. The expectations for a repeat on Sunday with the second contest, between South Africa and Wales didn’t really come to fruition. This was much more of an ugly ground them out, down to the wire sort of game. Flyhalf Handre Pollard’s 76th-minute penalty would break the 16-16 deadlock for the Springboks, which would prove to be the clincher. Faf de Klerk, Pollard, and Damian de Allende were all integral cogs in the team’s nail-biting win.
In a match that was controlled by the kicking game as well as the solid defensive play of the South Africans. It would end up coming down to a classic kicking duel between the fly half’s. Pollard and Dan Biggar, would go back and forth through the first 46 minutes, combining on six penalty goals. While the Welsh had 61 percent of possession in the game, they were not able to breakdown that hardened Springboks defense till late in the second half. It would take until the 65th minute for Josh Adams to eventually crack that wall with a try, leveling the score 16-16. Adam’s sixth try of the tournament.
Rassie Erasmus is going with basically that same line up from the semi-final. With just the one exception, Cheslin Kolbe has returned from his ankle injury replacing S’bu Nkosi. Getting Kolbe back for the final will certainly be a real welcomed boost, to what his team will be able to do offensively speaking. A player that just based on his speed and agility. He is quite adept at getting into those open areas along with that ability to change direction on a dime when needed, making opponents miss.
Tendai Mtawarira and Frans Malherbe will start at prop. Bongi Mbonambi starts at hooker. At lock, is Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager and Pieter-Steph Du Toit. Number eight Vermeulen, and flanker Siya Kolisi. Starting at winger will be Makazole Mapimpi, fly-half the ultra-consistent Pollard and scrum-half de Klerk. de Allende and Lukhanyo Am get the nod at centre. Kolbe and Willie le Roux will man the full-back spots.Questions and comments?
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images