South Africa chokes England and equals record of titles

Siya Kolisi and the Springboks are rugby world champions. Christophe Ena / AP

The saying goes: "No scrum, no win". No melee, no victory. True, regarding this ninth Rugby World Cup final. It was a match of pack versus pack, quintals of muscle against quintals of muscle. Strength exercise for South Africans and English. But perhaps more so for the first named. Which won the day (32-12 at the end, 12-6 at half-time), clinching their third world title, Saturday, November 2, in the night of Yokohama.

The match ended, her two children on the back, Siya Kolisi advances in the lead. An excellent third line. A symbol of 28 years, for some, born two weeks before the official abolition of apartheid: the first black captain of the Springboks. The Webb-Ellis Trophy, named after the putative inventor of the sport, an Englishman, will go back to South Africa; British fair play will have to deal with it. To shake hands with the winners and losers, this time: Conservative Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and Crown Prince Akishino.

Read also: Relive the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Because of apartheid, the "Boks" disputed only their seventh edition of the World, out of nine possible. But it's enough to match the New Zealand record of titles in the competition. Already the third title of South Africa, after that of 1995 against New Zealand, at home, under the eyes of Nelson Mandela, then that of 2007, again against the English, on the lawn of the Stade de France.

The English, KO input

On Saturday, the South Africans knew their weapons, they used them: to tilt the balance of power with well-placed fronts, while alternating the game at times. In sum, first "Fight fire with fire", according to the opening statement by Lood De Jager, the second South African line.

First result: a cart on the field from the third minute of play, and at least eight members of the surrounding English. Eight men came to the news of the right pillar Kyle Sinckler, rang of entry: the man wanted to hit Makazole Mapimpi … then hit his own teammate, Maro Itoje. He will leave the lawn finally standing, but sounded. Prelude to agitated debates, inevitably. Sometimes difficult for the Palois Jérôme Garcès, first French referee to lead a final of the World Cup.

As often with South Africa, the meter has long progressed to the foot. Six penalties for "Boks", by Handré Pollard; four for the English, by Owen Farrell, who may rethink his failure in the second half.

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Then comes out Makazole Mapimpi. A fine test at the end of the line, left side, proof that the Boks have more records than the caricature wants to lend them, after a game on foot for Lukhanyo Am, and a blind pass of the latter.

And Mapimpi and Kolbe sprang

Here is Makazole Mapimpi become the first South African to enter a test in the final of a world cup. The two previous titles of the "Boks" have all been played with drops or penalties.

This is also the same Mapimpi that became the best test scorer of this ninth World Cup: ten tries in the end, tied with the Welshman, Josh Adams, whom the South Africans had eliminated in the semi-finals (19-16) .

A second try followed, Saturday, six minutes from the end. That of Cheslin Kolbe, half-time penalty, but recovered from an injury to an ankle just in time for the final. Just in time to take speed all that England had players still able to run. The winger of Toulouse figure, for the record, among the six nominees for the best player of the year 2019. Marginal reward to submit Sunday, the day after the final.

Several times during the match, the giant screens of Yokohama showed the two breeders. English side, Eddie Jones still standing in stands, as usual. Among South Africans, Johan "Rassie" Erasmus is rather seated, always quick to communicate with his assistants by earphones, just two years after taking office.

Read also: Cheslin Kolbe, small size and great asset of South Africa

Unfortunate English, who thought they had already overcome the hardest after their semi-final against New Zealand (19-7), these All Blacks just winners of South Africa in the first round! On Saturday, Prince Harry made the trip. Like thousands of compatriots, with the usual sound of "Swing low, sweet trolley".

The XV of the Rose will continue, for at least four more years, to live with the memory of the title of 2003. The only one of England, and the only one of the Northern hemisphere, in nine editions of the World. Next appointment in four years, in France, where the "Boks" had won their second title.


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