the symbolic coronation of the Springboks for an unprecedented world

It's just sports. Perhaps. But why deprive yourself? And why resist going to see beyond? On his shoulders, Siya Kolisi carries his two children, as the hopes of so many compatriots. Here he comes to the Webb-Ellis trophy, in the Japanese autumn, on the Yokohama lawn. Fireworks to celebrate the third title of South Africa and this new victory in the final of the World Cup, on England (32-12), Saturday, November 2.

"You have restored the pride of South African rugby and we have felt good" South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize

The first black captain of the Springboks refuses to see himself as a post-apartheid symbol. But recognizes his pride in playing rugby for " a team like this, coming from so many different backgrounds, different races … " A rainbow team, in a country with still "So many problems" social: "We did it for South Africa. It shows that if we all pull in the same direction, we can achieve something " Accuracy of his coach, Johan "Rassie" Erasmus, an Afrikaner: "In South Africa, the pressure is not having a job, it is having a loved one who gets killed … Rugby should not create pressure but rather hope. It's a privilege, not a burden. "

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Rather a blessing, for Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Nobel Peace Prize had wanted to address the players, before the final: "You have restored the pride of South African rugby and we have felt good. " Nelson Mandela would have been " proud ", even supposed former winger Bryan Habana. He said it alongside the current captain, in the euphoria of victory, right on the lawn, at the microphone of a British television channel.

No change of era

Third final played, third final won for the country. Twelve years after the second title, already against the English, at the Stade de France. With Habana for player. And twenty-four years after the first in Johannesburg, against New Zealand. With Mandela for president, finally freed from the racist jails of apartheid.

One time, we imagined a change of era on the rugby planet. But no: this new title of the Boks confirms the ascendancy of the southern hemisphere. In nine editions of the World Cup, already three awards for South Africa, as much for New Zealand (1987, 2011 and 2015), two for Australia (1991 and 1999). And only one for a northern nation, England (2003).

The English, however, thought they had negotiated the most complicated summit, in the land of Mount Fuji: to have eliminated the New Zealanders, double world champions out, in the semi-finals. A great match of intensity. The first defeat in the All Black World Cup since 2007. The next day, the Welsh lost to South Africa after a hard, not to say boring game, also reminiscent of rugby rugged reality.

Also come back in memory of the red and white jerseys of the Japanese selection, the Brave Blossoms. "Brave flowers" flourishing from victory to victory. On October 13, scenes of joy in front of the giant screens of the city of Oita, on the southern island of Kyushu. Nearly a thousand kilometers further, in Yokohama, Japan's national team won its fourth match of the first round. Victory over Scotland and first qualification of the host country for the quarter-finals of the competition.

Extend the oval pre

Obviously a very good news for World Rugby. The international federation never made any secret of its intention, with this first Asian edition of the World: to expand its oval, to open up to a new market. And maintain the illusion of a world sport, mitigate a little in-between a competition as long in duration as short in number of candidates for the title: almost a month and a half, and at least four days of beating between matches of the same team. Time more than necessary, facing the growing load of shocks.

"This edition was certainly the most revolutionary to bring the game to new audiences and attract new fans" Bill Beaumont, President of World Rugby

The day before, Saturday, October 12, far from Oita, nature had hit a good part of the country. More than 80 dead after the typhoon Hagibis, the most violent of the season, and especially in the Tokyo region. Victims to whom the rest of the competition will have paid tribute: twenty seconds of meditation before each kickoff, starting from the quarter-finals.

If they suddenly seem derisory, the repercussions of the disaster on the small world of rugby are still unpublished. They led to the outright cancellation of three first-round matches. Two on October 12: France-England to Yokohama and Italy – New Zealand to Toyota. Then a third the next day: Canada-Namibia, in Kamaishi. Not just anywhere: in the city of the only stadium built in sight of the World Cup, on the site of two schools ravaged during the terrible tsunami of 2011.

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Without this cancellation, the Italians would still have a very theoretical chance of qualifying if they had beaten the All Blacks. Hence the regrets of Sergio Parisse: the transalpine captain has estimated 'Ridiculous' to cancel a match of the calendar without managing to program it elsewhere. In fact, the award of this World Cup in Japan goes back a decade. Either a decade to consider such a case …

The English president of World Rugby, that is understandable, will retain something else. For Bill Beaumont, this ninth edition was "It was certainly the most revolutionary to bring the game to new audiences and attract new fans."

By the way: the Blues are now four years ahead of them to restore confidence to their own public. This year, new elimination in the quarterfinals for the XV of France. This time against the Welsh (20-19), after that on a record score (62-13) against the New Zealanders in 2015. Four years before the next World Cup. That in France.

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