England Are Crushed By Iron Fist Of Mighty Boks
The Rugby Paper|November 3,2019
WELL, it didn’t go to the script and will have left England fans devastated.
Nick Cain

But South Africa have never deviated from playing iron fist in an iron glove rugby and yesterday in Yokohama it won them the World Cup for the third time in their history.

It was a landmark, too, because it was the first time they have become world champions under a black captain, and Siya Kolisi and his squad earned the glory because of the way they outplayed an England team which was revealed to have shot their bolt when beating New Zealand in the semifinals.

So much for Warren Gatland’s jibe about peaking too soon and Eddie Jones’ glib response – “enjoy your third place play-off !”

England’s inability to rise to the occasion and shake free of the South African chokehold in this attritional final brought a grim error-riddled end to a campaign which promised Red Rose glory.

Instead, it was South Africa who walked off with the Webb Ellis Trophy, and despite the inquest that will follow into the controversial 66th minute try scored by wing Makazole Mapimpi which swung the match decisively their way, they deserved to.

The South African gameplan hatched by coach Rassie Erasmus was limited but it was so well executed that in most respects this final was not close, because England were mugged in almost every area.

While Mapimpi’s try featured a pass from Malcolm Marx that looked forward but was deemed by the TMO not to be “clear and obvious”, what was obvious, and clear, was that England were tactically outthought and outplayed.

As Kolisi, who had the best of all reasons to celebrate his 50th cap, put it afterwards: “The coach said to keep it nice and simple – and physical.”

The Springboks played the game at the medium-paced tempo they favoured, and it enabled their big pack to get maximum leverage at the set-piece – and also gave fly-half Handre Pollard the opportunity to peg England back in their own territory.

The South African squeeze saw England dominated at the scrum – conceding seven penalties – as well as disrupted at the line-out.

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