The 2019 Rugby World Cup – How England And South Africa Made It To The Final
England’s world cup victory against the All Blacks last weekend was one to remember – but they still have another hurdle to overcome if they want to win rugby union’s best-known trophy for the second time. On Saturday, they’ll take on South Africa in the final. So, how do the two teams’ tournament journeys compare?
England’s World Cup Campaign
Eddie Jones’s men made their way out of Pool C in style. They racked up victories against Tonga, the United States, and Argentina, while their cancelled tie against France was recorded as a draw.
Their quarter-final tie saw them play Australia at the Oita Stadium. The Wallabies made it onto the scoreboard first, but England had the edge at half-time, with the score 17-9 in their favour. Despite their best attempts, Australia couldn’t make their way back into contention and the English won by 40-16.
England were then up against the current holders of the coveted rugby union trophy, New Zealand, who they hadn’t beaten in a Test match in seven years. However, the English gave a clear indication of their intentions before the match began, responding to the All Blacks’ haka by standing in a “V” formation – a move that resulted in them receiving a £2,000 fine, as a number of their players crossed the halfway line.
Their victory symbol turned out to be prophetic too. After just two minutes of play, they’d scored seven points, and by half-time, they’d added three more to their tally. They made it to 13-0 before New Zealand got off the mark – and the seven points the All Blacks received from Savea’s try and Mo’unga’s conversion turned out to be the only ones they managed to get on the board. The underdogs secured a 19-7 victory, with New Zealand, for once, having bitten off more than they could chew.
South Africa’s Route to the Final
The Springboks defeated Namibia, Italy, and Canada in the pool stage of the tournament, but lost against New Zealand, something which will boost English fans’ confidence as the final approaches. However, the South Africans have shown what they are capable of throughout the competition, so Eddie Jones’s squad would be wise not to underestimate them.
They were the first to score in their quarter-final match and, although Japan’s attacks tested them and they made a number of handling errors, their defence, for the most part, held firm. By half-time, however, they were only two points ahead of the hosts and it was clear that they would need to do far more if they wanted to win. Thankfully for Springboks’ fans, their heroes upped their game dramatically in the second half. They went on the attack and, by the final whistle, had managed to increase their lead to 26-3.
Those watching South Africa’s semi-final tie against Wales may not have seen the most attractive of rugby, but the match was certainly a hard-fought one. It became a battle of inaccurate kicks in windy conditions, with errors on both sides. The Springboks led at the break and, although Wales soon equalised, a try from de Allende and a subsequent conversion by Pollard put South Africa ahead again. Welsh fans were given hope when a converted Josh Adams try brought them level, but Pollard put pay to that with a 76th minute penalty, which saw the Springboks win by 19-16.