RWC2019 Final: England v South Africa Rate the Match

Ford and Farrell

What did you think of the Rugby World Cup final today?

You know the drill – tell us what you thought of the game in the comments below, and we’ll put together some reaction and analysis in due course.

138 thoughts on “RWC2019 Final: England v South Africa Rate the Match

  1. I’m gutted, but there is absolutely no doubt that the better team won. England didn’t play well because South Africa didn’t let us play well. Brilliant defence ruffled the feathers which led to is panicking and either giving sloppy passes or knocking the ball on. Pin England back, force penalties with a dominant set piece, keep the score board ticking over. Another example of why it’s good to take the points when on offer. SA targeted the one area that other teams failed to and that was Elliot Daly. Outplayed in every facet of the game and deserved winners.

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    1. I thought they asked questions of Youngs and Ford too. Ford can be forgiven as it was physicality but Youngs was pressured into mistakes. SA were brilliant today. England deserved silver medalists.

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      1. Agreed. Ford probably has the biggest heart on the field, but there is no denying physics. Youngs’ passing lacked accuracy and fizz, he hesitated and gave slow service. But that was largely down to how much pressure SA put on him and I think he bottled it. Sinckler going off 2 mins in was a hammer blow, Cole was always going to struggle with a full 80 and he got schooled in the scrum by The Beast. Marler showed his class when he came on but by then SA already had favour with the ref for 50/50 decisions.

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  2. Take this one on the chin England. You got to the final and beat every southern hem team bar one. I thought the whole England team looked like they had butterflies before they even started but maybe it’s just me. Underhill and Curry had good games again. Otherwise, not your best game, way way off the levels against the AB’s. I think this England team pressured themselves a little too much always trying to get better every game. You got to the level you needed to be at against the AB’s, there was no need to get better. Hard luck and well done getting this far. Congrats to the Bokke!!

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      1. DarthMaul seems to agree with me below. I think SA were better but England beat themselves a bit too, from the getgo! Still outstanding achievement as World cup finalists.

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        1. England got 20 put on them. They didn’t score a try. Regds the SH? V Arg down to 14. V Aus whom last lost 36 zip in NZ. V NZ won by 12, conceding a try (apiece) & whom beat SA W Champs. How do these facts tally with yr subjective take? Reality check required.

      1. lol, that would be the end of my chin. Manu would probably knock my jawbone off. But I think comments online by England fans have been humble enough. There’s always a few plonkers but for the most part humble. Saffas have taken scrummaging to the next level.

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    1. NZ played very poor v England and didnt show up, perhaps 4/10 they just werent there mentally. So England’s performance, while very good, was not as amazing as all English media, players, supporters thought.

      I had SA winning the final and I was right.

  3. Well done SA. Eng had no chance from the start. Bigger, stronger, solid defence just ground Eng down. At least someone scored some tries in the end. Gutted for Eng team though.

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  4. No shame in losing if you play well but our basics were awful. Why did we keep trying to penetrate a defence that is as porous as Gore Tex? No strategic kicking game and no one in the pocket for DG opportunities. Brainless.
    Congrats to SA. Had a game plan, more power and ultimately , more imagination too.
    The big question is where too next? Will EJ stay or has he taken this group as far as he can?
    Four more years…………

  5. Chapeau to the Boks and Rassie. Played with exceptional efficiency and deserved winners.
    Losing Sink early doors was a big blow and if last week was a microcosm of everything that worked about Eddie’s gambles, this week was a microcosm of everything that was dubious and risky. Youngs made the whole team jittery with his painfully slow delivery and bad passing and because Spencer had only just arrived Eddie didn’t take him off. Daly got exposed at fullback as he isn’t a fullback and the minute I realised Cole had to play the whole match I thought we were going to lose.
    Pressure of being faves got to us big time.
    Said before the match I was worried about Garces reffing and he did us absolutely no favours.

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  6. Agree with you Mr B, England looked nervous from the off. Some training moves passes/moves never worked and some amateur passing mistakes. Hammered in the scrum and you could see the confidence fading. Not having a quality No 15 came back to haunt us as many said would. My concern was confirmed in that for all EJ masterplanning (see another post), SA were the unknown and hard to plan against. But look you cannot ignore SA bossed that game and they deserved to win. If you told me England would be in the final 2 months ago i would have laughed. They have exceeded my expectations

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  7. Think that one of the things that is depressing about this loss is that all the things many of us have been moaning about got thrown into stark relief today. Most especially the whole scrum half debacle which we have practically all been furious about.
    And then many of us were very nervous we only had Cole as tighthead behind Sink and preferring Williams anyway. And the problem with Daly not being a fullback.
    So these issues suddenly flared up at the worst moment and couldn’t be addressed. We were also unlucky with injuries hitting our most vulnerable areas.

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  8. Early on England looked very nervous lots of sloppy passes and knock ons. Knock ons led to scrums, scrums led to pens, pens led to scoreboard pressure that we never recovered from. Well done SA you dod to us what we did to NZ

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    1. That’s the game in a nutshell Leon and we were thoroughly beaten. Our handling errors came from nerves and where the passes and handling stuck previously , the inaccuracy cost us dear. We played an inspired team who managed to slow the game to suit them and then as we chased the game they ran away with it.

      On a positive note , we are in a far better place off the back of this tournament than we have been in a long time.

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      1. Quite possibly SJ, but England were in a pretty good place after 17 on the bounce too. Then took a dip. Came right with a bang v Ireland, then last Sat. Now another dip today. Need for more consistency may lie in TCUP as per SCW?

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        1. Was actually referring to the previous RWC’s (although this is admittedly unclear from my post) where we have left the tournaments in disarray (2011 & 2015) and/or ill prepared for the future (2003 & 2007). Relative to those tournaments I am more buoyant about the future.

          I do take your point about the consistency of this team though and elsewhere on this blog I did voice concerns about reading too much into the semi final win. Worries me that much of the squad have big match experience (Sarries particularly) , yet often show naivety

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          1. Yes, I was responding to yr last sentence. It was actually 18 in a row for EJ (I think), so looked good then. The dips afterwards need ironing out, as per last wk & today. When winning, little needs changing. When it’s going a bit pear shaped is when a decision’s needed on how to play. If being ball starved, might pay to hang on to it for a bit. Vary it between carries & getting it wide, deploying dummies, bringing in May, Daly & straightening the line for the wing recipients. Then, vary again after 10. Maybe accurate up & unders, occasional corner kick for return line out? That sort of stuff? Got decide pronto though, when score’s still in reach. If oppo just too powerful, quick more difficult admittedly.

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    2. Srry Leon, but to complete, NZ did to SA etc. Who stated it’s what happens on the day? Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! It was bluddy Bigglesworth! Gawd help us all!

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        1. Say it to yourself twice each day then Leon. Nothing’s won until it’s done. It’s on the day. Hoodoo about unchartered territory or never winning the cup when losing a pool game has nothing to do with it. England did very well this tournament. I’d say a lot of effort was expended against the ABs’ mentally and physically. That didn’t help.

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  9. Were our heads in the wrong place when we took the field?Did we fail to cope with the pressure?Imo we lost the psychological battle.

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    1. Agree. I thought England looked jittery from the get go. Yes SA’s defensive pressure was immense but some of the awful passing was unforced.

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  10. England’s only performance was against NZ, and boy they looked amazing! However 80mins less rugby than other teams and only managed 1 performance. Kudos to SA. Why was Elliot daily first choice 15? I still think Eddie Jones doesn’t know what his best team is. Against NZ they were absolutely phenomenal unfortunately it seems a singular performance.

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    1. Hardly a singular performance if you chart the last four years. apart from the AB’s no team in World Rugby puts in near perfect performances all the time. added to which, we got to the final. that didn’t happen due to one “special” performance.

      1. How many different combinations over the 4 years, still not a definitive 15 from EJ. Congrats on the final however nobody remembers who came second do they.

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              1. ah yes of course 2015 SA lost to NZ in the semi. Think they might have finished 3rd thou.
                Wait a minute i think i might just be disproving my own points

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  11. My initial reaction was to turn the TV off in absolute disgust at 4 years hard work gone down the crapper in losing to a much less talented side.The win for SA will hopefully give their country a much needed boost.
    My concern is what that result will do young impressionable minds worldwide.To me it seems like the message is the way ahead is for brain dead boshing up the middle with a bit of skill being an optional extra.

    1. I don’t agree – I think RSA demonstrated extremely well that while they can bosh it up with the best of them, they are adaptable and play what’s in front of them. I’d take either of their tries as an “optional extra”! And Kolbe’s step to put Farrell on his arse was pure skill.

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      1. The beauty of rugby is there is no right or wrong way to win. Surely all that matters in the final of the rwc is to be on the right side of the scoreboard. SA outplayed us and there is no caveat on the trophy for style.

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        1. SA also played the brand of rugby which was most likely to hurt us. Had they run it for tries early doors we might have got the foothold we needed. It also exposed us where we were weak positionally .
          I do think Eddie’s Achilles heel with only playing Youngs even though he is always erratic bit us very hard today plus his taking the risk with only taking Heinz as back up. If he had taken and blooded Spencer he could and should have come on early.
          And I was always in a state of terror about having Cole as second tighthead. These wounds really were predictable and self – inflicted.

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  12. Congrats to the Boks. Played the better game and worthy winners.
    Totally gutted at the moment, but maybe a game at Kingsholm will cheer me up later. Thought we over achieved to reach the final but once there really thought that we could win, but we just couldn’t cope with the SA power and once we started chasing the game, the wheels came off. Oh well here’s to 2023.

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  13. Losing Sinks compounded the nerves and seemed to really unsettle the team. Should have used the time looking after Sinks to reset. Maybe they tried to do just that, but it didn’t work. Lawes works much better with Sinks, so perhaps it was too late even that early.Needed a try in the first half instead of the three points. Just gave SA even more confidence, not that they needed it. Minor really, outplayed in every aspect.
    Hopefully it’s time to end the Daly full back experiment unless he starts to play regularly for club. Young’s has finally lobbed his last slooooooow pass as well hasn’t he?
    Hats off to the Boks though, bruising brutality, took Eng apart in the scrum. It was like the old boxing saying, a good big un will always beat a good little un.
    It was good while it lasted though wasn’t it…

    1. Don’t you mean losing Stinks D Stan? Understand that. Agree about going for a try though. Farrell, Jones took the points instead. Mind set thing. Need better decision maker/s.

  14. Tenacious defense and power game by forward pack laid the foundation for an unlikely Springbok victory.
    This tactics employed reminds one much of the manner in which the great pythons of South Africa,constrict and swallow their prey.
    They often wait for their prey to exhale to squeeze them even more, till eventually
    even the sweet chariot wheels come off.
    Well done Boks victory against all odds

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  15. Just a request to the guys at TRB. Once the WC dust has settled, would you do a think piece on which players will/won’t be around in four years and the up coming talent that may replace them?

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    1. Acee I think the biggest mistake any team makes is relying on past form going forward or selecting some player that happened to play in a world cup or was a part of a team that beat an unbeatable an almost opponent. I wouldn’t speculate on that. Maybe even Curry and Underhill will be out of form in 4 years or bested by incomers. It’s pointless to speculate on that this far out but those 2, maybe Maro I think could be in the running in 4 years. I think this was a tremendous opportunity for England and they will be back. But France will be up there in 4 years. Argentina might come back. Japan are on the up. I think Australia will rebound. Anything can happen in 4 years.

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      1. Yes, even the ‘invisible’ AB’s might stumble across the line & make a comeback Bigglesworth. But I don’t want to speculate of course, after all, anything can happen. You might even state something comprehensible one day!

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      2. God, some people have to suck the fun out of everything! Ok, it’s not a logical method but it IS England related, as you keep seeming to forget!!

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  16. Tough on the England players but they left their best on 5he field last week. The Boks were very good not perfect though. Last weeks England would have provided a better contest. Not sorry for Bitter Eddy though. Gatland called it very well and had his nose bitten off for it.t

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  17. South Africa were the best team, had a game plan and enacted it to the T, England were second best and played awfully, I said this on Facebook and have been slammed.

    I am immensely proud of England getting to the final but the were awful and I think the occasion got on top of them, look at the passes in the first half and some of the attacking decisions, the Bokke dominated at the scrum and didn’t let England over the gain line, England didn’t play well and huffed and puffed getting nowhere.

    That being said I think this will be a learning experience and England will be strong enough to learn from this and get better going forward.

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    1. It’s as well to remember that we had momentum suddenly in the third quarter when Faz missed a kick to take us within 3 points. Feel that was a big miss as it seemed to deflate the side and gee the Boks.
      Ford has been getting a lot of stick but it’s incredibly difficult for any fly half to.play with a scrum half who is so off the boil. Scrum half is where Eddie has been most culpable in terms of decision making. Youngs dithering around playing like a drain is hardly a surprise to the rest of us and we should have had more back.up.than Heinz.

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    2. This was not a “learning experience” it was a WC Final, the pinnacle of a player´s career, and most of this team will never get the chance to play in another one. We made more errors in the first ten minutes than we did the whole of last week, and looked nervous and out of sorts. We got knocked back on contact far too easily, and stuffed in the tight, though that was partly due to Garces allowing The Beast to drive persistently inwards and upwards on Cole without incurring a penalty. Youngs, as most of us have said on here ad nauseam has a horribly slow pass at this level and constantly gave SA the chance to marshal their defence, which they did superbly. Daly once again proved to my complete satisfaction that he has never been, nor will ever be a full back, being dodgy under the high ball and windy in the tackle. Ironically, even though SA deserved to win fairly comfortably, there was a point in the second half where we had closed to 15-9 and looked to be generating a bit of momentum. Then Farrell missed a penalty and Pollard almost immediately kicked a more difficult one to give SA a psychological boost once more. All hope of a come back snuffed out in two minutes by two kicks. Congratulations to SA, I thought they played well to a plan, whereas England did not look to have one. De Klerk, Vermeulen, and Du Toit were outstanding, but they look to have developed a real team ethos and will be very tough to beat over the next few years. It is good to see them back at the very top after some years in the doldrums. Finally, the first SA try appeared to contain two forward passes, but as one saw with Nigel Owens the other day the game no longer seems to be played according to the laws as written, but according to some unspoken agreement that forward passes, offside, running obstruction, not straight at the lineout, feeding at the scrum and diving off your feet to protect the ball when a team mate has gone to ground are now all perfectly acceptable. The game has changed a lot in my lifetime, and not always for the better. Roll on 2023, I hope I am still around to see it!

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      1. “All hope of a come back snuffed out in two minutes by two kicks.”

        Andrew, I know you have your opinions and are entitled to them but come on

        Ford kicking it out on the full and sloppy passing especially by him and Youngs in particular (awful game), being over powered in the scrum (regardless of maybe 1 ref decision in the scrum), not breaching or looking like breaching the Saffas’ defence, knock ons in attacking positions at key moments (Watson)… one misses kick was the least of Englands woes, but enjoy your fantasy.

        The damage was done long before then, psychologically, and maybe even before they started. As DarthMaul alluded to and I agree, England weren’t in the right place from the start.
        Maybe fatigued from the epic battle against the AB’s. Gatland may have been proven correct.

        SA’s rush defence and scrum in particular put England under enormous pressure.

        England did very well and beat every other southern hem side. Not a bad showing overall.
        Try a bit of humility. Good luck in 2023..
        life goes on.

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        1. Red rag stuff or what? Yes always lots of reasons, but at the point in the game Andy referred to, England, despite whatever else had gone on til then, would have been within 3, so surely game on, pressure on. Then Pollard goaled to relieve the pressure almost straight away. Andy can ‘speak’ for himself, although unlikely as he clearly despises you, yr 1/2baked takes & swelled head. However, seems his pt is pretty obvious that England could, should have been within 3. Potentially pivotal, as the nxt side to score would have had the psychological high ground. You seem a tad obtuse sometimes Bigglesworth, missing the obvious. As a further example, yr ‘humility’ comment was completely misplaced, utterly out of context & irrelevant. Try re-reading what is actually stated & you may glean what is actually meant.

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      2. Everyone seems to have an opinion on pressure affecting players. My favourite was from the former WW2 fighter pilot come Aus cricket all rounder; “ pressure is a Messerschmitt on your arse, not playing cricket”….
        Nevertheless it happens, but no one mentions the ref. How much pressure do you think a ref is under after having a 5,000+ Petition lodged to try and remove you from a semi-final, and then go onto to take the final against the same country. I don’t know what support there is, not as much as the players I don’t suppose.

        It’s a very long winded way of saying I agree with Andy; lots of social pressure for everyone not to criticise a defeat in anyway for fear of the bad loser tag. Eng supporters get enough stick about being bad winners FFS. No Don, not a dig at you, you’ve been a rich vein of amusement ever since NZ exited.
        The cynic would say SA gave the first scrum a go at maximum disruption, boring in, wheeling, whatever…see how it goes, tester l’eau…..The realist would say the coach that’s actually played at international level knows exactly what to do.
        I’ll add one thing Andy, De Klerks delays at put in were monumental, pretty much every one….

        Sour grapes, pissed off, losing Stinks Don, you bet…,

        If I felt any other way then I probably wouldn’t be on this blog in the first place.
        Gracious in victory, and in my case a few too many beers in defeat….Characters will be defined when it all gets going again in the 6N….can’t wait…..

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        1. Srry D Stan, I wasn’t around in WWII, but I imagine I wouldn’t have wanted an Me/Bf 109 on my tail either. Bit of trivia. 1st WWII fighter pilot ‘ace’? Edgar ‘Cobber’ (I know, but prob not his idea) Kain. You’ve guessed it. Another bloody Kiwi! Oops, there I go, ramming it down throats again! Poor Bastard killed himself though doing a barrell victory roll after some sortie. All this before the B o Brit, but not before he married some nubile actress. Still, not a happy ending.. or ‘landing’.

  18. Absorbing. Another 7/10. Interesting in that, although it seemed destined to be the 1st try-less final. Then SA scored 2 quick ones to reverse the likely looking England overhaul in the last 1/4. A bit safety 1st with both teams taking the points, particularly before 1/2time. If either had had the will to go for a line out try then, it could have influenced the game’s outcome. England spurned another, after 1/2time & taking the advice of Stroudos, went for the points. What price now? In the context of the match, it was surely a pivotal choice. England pushed & got close, but never headed SA, when a try might have done so. Although England upped the pace 2nd 1/2, SA were on mostly still on top in the scrums, breakdowns, had at least parity in line outs & their defence nullified England’s attack. Reverse of the AB game last week, when at least NZ scored a try. Ironically, they also beat the now new W Champs. Too little, too late & a wrong choice from England, when at 1point they were so close! In the end their vaunted, Mitchell inspired, W Class ‘D’ was exposed down each flank to deliver a scoreboard which made it look almost like a non contest. Hard on England, hard on the Kamzjazi Kids. Expected an England win & control by the last 1/4.

    However, in the end, SCW’s cautionary warning; ‘It worries me that Eng have already been anointed W Champs. This is going to be a dogfight’. And; ‘In a knockout tourney, yr last game counts for nothing’, came to pass instead.

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    1. “ England spurned another, after 1/2time & taking the advice of Stroudos, went for the points”

      I’m flattered Don, but I’m fairly sure the England players and management couldn’t care less about my advice.

      Having said that, my advice remains the same:
      Always take the points.
      And I feel exonerated in that Pollard & SA did exactly that, only scoring tries to put gloss on the result after the game had been won.

      1. T in cheek Stroudos. Hope England continue to take yr advice, esp when comparing overall record between our 2 countries. Whom mostly go for tries? Need to re-read my comments about context of game. Eng lineout try before 1/2time could have changed context of game. 2 late tries may never have happened then, particularly with Farrell’s miss in mind. Besides, cherry picking 1 game to suit yr prejudice is subjective. As alluded to, Eng kicked for all pts & lost. If only?

      2. T in cheek Stroudos. Hope England continue to take yr advice, esp when comparing overall record between our 2 countries. Whom mostly go for tries? Need to re-read my comments about game context. Eng lineout try before 1/2time could have actually changed context of game. 2 late tries may never have happened then, particularly with Farrell’s miss in mind. Besides, cherry picking 1 game to suit yr prejudice is subjective. As alluded to, Eng kicked for all pts & lost. If only?

  19. One thing which is nauseating is seeing the hacks who.raved about England after the win over the ABs crawling out of the woodwork to insult them now. However they played today nothing changes the excellence of that performance and it’s vomit worthy listening to the hacks and journos put the boot in now.
    No wonder we have the rubbish to do with Brex##it with this sort of pettiness.
    It really would be nice to see them get a good kicking out on an international rugby pitch. Maybe add in Johnson, Rees Mogg and some other Etonian w#nkers for good measure.

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    1. Yes Bolter. Agree.
      My theory is these sports writers are just jealous.
      And yes, I would love nothing more than chopping any of Johnson, Mogg, Gove, Redwood (the list goes on) in half on a rugby pitch.

      My biggest worry about England potentially winning the World Cup was how we’d then see Johnson’s stupid face all over the celebratory photos. He’d have been all over the team like a rash, spewing out some garbage about Hyperion to a Satyr and making up some bullshit narrative about plucky old Britain showing what a global powerhouse it is or some clichéd crap like that.

      At least we’ve been spared that vomit-inducing embarrassment.

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      1. Many likes. This has made me feel infinitely better about losing the final! You are right, seeing Johnson “own” the victory would have been too much to bear.

      2. Haha! Hyperion to a Satyr is brilliant.. And spot on unfortunately. The man is vomit worthy. I just saw the staged photo of him watching the final while desperately clutching someone else’s dog which was attempting to make a get away. The dog has my sympathies..

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  20. Much, too much, been read into last 2 games? After AB game, all seemed hunky dory. No, few, complaints about Eddy, Daly, Youngs, Cole then. After today, understandable disappointment (I know!). However, these ‘flaws’ were present last week & previously as oft reffed then. 1, or 2, games shouldn’t change all that. Sure, these players may be better repositioned or replaced. Surely though, the real issue is how to read & resond to the evolving context of a game as it unfolds. Blindly taking the points may be appropriate sometimes, but not at others. Going for the line out try before 1/2time when the opportunity presents, may be the sounder option. Especially with tries are at a premium after 40 & you’re still behind on the scoreboard. These decisions in an 2nd best, but still in it armwrestle can make a pivotal difference in such circumstances. IMO, it may have today for England. It’s at this juncture that the right decision maker needs to also get his read right. Not easy, but it’s what sets this person apart & when he/they need to decide on this potentially vital choice. England may have missed a truck today. Maybe SA too, but they had the Eddie. Hansen too got it wrong last week with 2 of his pics at 6 & 2 & not changing them.

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  21. Well that was annoying.
    South Africa were great. They did to us what we did to the Kiwis the week before.
    For sure we lost to the better team but what is so frustrating is to have lost so tamely, without really firing a shot.
    As has been mentioned above, the issues that EJ has managed to gloss over so successfully came home to roost today – scrum half, full back, tight head and am inability to switch plans mid game.
    Saffers were immense today though and fully deserve their win. Vermuelen and Du Toit in particular were brilliant.
    A tough one for England to get over but I think we’ll be able to judge the character of this team buy how they respond to this in the 6 Nations.

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    1. England dug their own grave by handing the boks so many kickable penalties (even though the rules need changing in this space) and losing mental discipline in the face of inevitable pressure. Mental discipline handles unfortunate events (like Sink’s HIA) and prevents them overpowering performance.

  22. Looks like Gatland called it right when he said England may have played their final against the ABs & he was slated for it. England looked like they thought they only had to turn up to win it & by the time they realised otherwise it was too late. A depleted Wales side lost by a late penalty to the Bokke so this puts that performance into some context. Notwithstanding it looks like England are on the up & will be worthy favourites for the 6 n coming up.

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    1. Absolutely no comparison between how SA played against Wales and how they played today. If they had played as they did against Wales they would have lost.
      Gatland wasn’t the only person to say it would be very difficult to play the next match with comparable intensity, Fitzpatrick said the same.
      Why exactly were SA able to do such a number on Cole in the scrum? Surely he’s faced the Beast before without folding like that? What was going on? I wanted Williams in the squad rather than Cole like many others. At least if he does get out scrummaged he offers a ton more in the loose. Today reminded me of the game against Scotland when Cole came on and we immediately conceded 3/4 tries. Yes I know it’s not all on him but you can’t have passengers at this level. Losing Sink with his abrasive energy was a big blow.

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    2. Haskell made me chuckle when he said he was looking forwards to the Gats reponse “he won’t want to do it publicly, maybe a box of Kleenex in the post”

  23. Dunno if there are SA fans here. Wanted to say huge congrats on your team’s performance today. We were very poor but they played with huge purpose, conviction and control.

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  24. Well done England – don’t beat yourselves up, fans, your team probably over-achieved getting to the finals, which was a superb effort. My dream was a Wales Egland final, I won’t pretend! But tht penalty in the last moments of the semi sealed it and they sneaked in. Heartbreaking, but there we are! great tournament.

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  25. Commiserations to the England team. It was a tournament of many surprise results, but I never felt England making the final was one of them, just the way it happened. Same with the final. I am sure all the true and sober fans felt very nervous about what the outcome would be, and that it could’ve gone either way on the day. Not surprised by the Springbok victory, but just elated with how it came about. I imagine I feel almost exactly the same way English fans felt after their decisive victory last week. Sport, and rugby in particular, give us a lot of joy, win or lose, and for that we have to remember and thank the school of Rugby and Webb Ellis, and many others (both amateur and professional) who played the game in that same revering spirit we witnessed again in this world cup.
    “At the end of the day rugby was the winner”, as “the grandfather of South African Rugby” (Doc Craven) used to say. So it was again with this tournament. I’ll stop waxing lyrical now, but I love this game. A lot of respect to all the opponents. It is not a game without them.
    Looking forward to a good premiership season now.

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    1. Yes, yes Stanly R, but where did you prev state that you thought England would make the final? Also, did you prev state before the final, that you expected SA to win it? All seems a bit retro wise if to me, but you might prove me wrong? Also the flowery Webb Ellis stuff is legend, not fact BTW. Yr tone didn’t quite make me sick up in mouth a little bit, but nearly.

      1. Hi, Don P. I did make mention somewhere else on this site before the weekend that I expected the England v. Boks game to be a very close afair (like the Wales v. Boks game), but also mentioned that if either team could get it perfectly right on the big day that it could be an outright win (either way). I don’t want to lay any claim to having made any wise predictions though. I didn’t have a clue who would win. Just glad about the result. As for the Webb Ellis trophy legend, sure maybe it has been romantacised a bit. As to wether a boy really picked up a soccer ball and ran with it … well that probably still sometimes happens somewhere all around the world (more often than not in SouthAfrica) which is probably why we are rugby champs and not soccer champs. I guess the Webb Ellis story is beyond doubt the archetypal story of the the boy who spurned soccer to play rugby instead, but wouldn’t be too surprised if it was true in its details as well.

  26. England got bossed in the scrum because,scrumming is all about timing.Under the present rules there is no advantage in feeding the scrum,because only the team feeding the scrum has to hook the ball.

    So for a moment it is 16 feet against 15 and that is when the battle’s won and lost.That is why scrumhalves rely on crooked scrum feeds.England were naive in this regard and only one one occasion managed to put the Bok pack in reverse to earn a penalty,

    The Bok pack was not really ‘hooking’ the ball.They just drove over it on their own feed,because any front row forward may hook the ball.So if you savvy enough just drive over the ball and nobody can accuse you for not ‘hooking’ the ball. The referee won’t see it either because he is to busy watching illegal binding and scrum collapses.

    In days gone by,many hookers were lifting their feet in anticipation,because there were no scrum commands and it was all about the scrum halves timing.

    So today you need real ‘beasts’ upfront,because they lay the foundation for the 5 behind them.
    In this regard England was found lacking as soon as they lost one player due to injury.

    Sport has a fickle nature.The All Blacks beat the Boks,England beats the All Blacks,The Boks beat
    England in an amazing turn around.

    They may be world champions but as in many
    other sports they won’t remain together in one country. Many will find themselves overseas earning a living.This is the advantage the All Blacks have,they don’t have to rely on overseas players and I am pretty sure they are hurting at the moment but are already planning the downfall of the Boks and resume the battle to establish supremacy in the Southern hemisphere.

    1. All very technical Frans, but the fact is, England have often relied upon ‘beasting’ other countries in the scrummage, and this time they were simply on the wrong end of a beasting. I was surprised they struggled so much – Wales gave the Boks a pretty even contest, and I was gutted by that last minute penalty that deprived us (Wales) of a final against England, in which, if I’m honest I’d have REALLY fancied our chances!
      There is a psychological problem with England that keeps surfacing, a kind of ‘bottling’ or ‘choking’ in big games, particularly in second halves – it happened against SA a couple of summers ago, against Wales in the 6N and of course even against Scotland. Next coach will have to address that one.
      My guess is that England really missed Sinckler; not just his scrum, which has massively improved, but his work all round the field. he was pretty sensational against the ABs.

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    2. I think having overseas players in the mix might actually have worked in South Africa’s favour, and might do more so in the future. South Africa has the (human) resources. The real challenge will be finding and keeping about a management team with the professionalism and ethos that Rassie instilled in this team. That is something that I felt has really set the All Blacks apart from the rest.

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    3. Frans; Interesting piece. Also agree England mostly bossed at scrum. However, don’t understand how having the feed into the scrum is a disadvantage. As there were no tight heads, how do you reckon this? Surely better having possession than not? Also, seems logical that timing is important, but how is this what it’s all about? What of technique, strength & cohesion for instance? How were England naive at scrum? They’ve a history of having a sound scrum. Therefore how is it that, as they were bettered in this one game, indicative of naievity? It runs counter to their history. Also, were the Boks superior to the Welsh or NZ scrums? On another tack, how are the AB’s at such an advantage? Look at most Fr, British teams. How many contain NZers? Do you think that the annual Kiwi offshore exodus doesn’t weaken their internal comps & thus the national team?

      1. @Don P
        During a scrum the following applies:(World rugby)
        “The scrum begins when the ball leaves the hands of the scrum-half.
        Only when the scrum begins may the teams push. Sanction: Free-kick.
        Possession may be gained by pushing the opposition backwards and off the ball.
        Players may push provided they do so straight and parallel to the ground. Sanction: Penalty.
        Front-row players may gain possession by striking for the ball but only once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel. Sanction: Free-kick.
        A front-row player striking for the ball may do so with either foot but not both at the same time. Sanction: Penalty.
        The hooker from the team which threw in the ball must strike for the ball. Sanction: Free-kick.
        A front-row player must not intentionally kick the ball out of the tunnel from the direction it was thrown. Sanction: Free-kick.
        Any player within the scrum may play the ball but only with their feet or lower legs and they must not lift the ball. Sanction: Penalty.
        If a scrum collapses or if a player in the scrum is lifted or is forced upwards out of the scrum, the referee must blow the whistle immediately so that players stop pushing.
        When the scrum is stationary and the ball has been available at the back of the scrum for three-five seconds, the referee calls “use it”. The team must then play the ball out of the scrum immediately. Sanction: Scrum.”
        There is no obligation on the opposing hooker to strike for the ball.
        This means 16 feet against 15.The opposing team is at its most vulnerable at the put in.
        This the main reason for teams collapsing scrums once they have won the ball.Once you understand this fundamental aspect ,you’ll understand why teams like South Africa will keep on applying the pressure irrespective of who is putting the ball in.
        On their own feed they will drive over the ball,because it it hard to distinguish as the rules stand today between stepping (driving) over the ball and hooking the ball.You have to lift your feet.
        This makes the opposing scrum halve’s life miserable because it is hard to fetch a ball from scrum going backwards and makes the 8-9 play virtually impossible as the no 8 struggles to control and pick up the ball.

        It is slow poison and makes back line play a nightmare because backs in retreat make mistakes in and effort to distribute the ball.

        1. I think these rules just show how hard it is to ref the scrum. Also every ref is different in which laws they choose to apply for example
          1) Only when the scrum begins may the teams push. Sanction: Free-kick.
          Faf was delaying the put in and there was definite pushing before the ball went in
          2) When the scrum is stationary and the ball has been available at the back of the scrum for three-five seconds, the referee calls “use it”. The team must then play the ball out of the scrum immediately. Sanction: Scrum.
          There were a few times where it was at the back and stationary for 3 second without a call of use it
          I’m not saying the ref was wrong just that the rules are so complex and over engineered that it comes down to ref interpretation (much like the breakdown)

        2. Mmm Frans. This is mainly a description of scrum rules. As you stated though that the scrum was about timing, how come the dominant SA (only on their own scrum) pack didn’t take a tight head? As recollect, there were no tight heads & Eng looked ok on their own scrums. It was on SA’s scrums that they conceded pens. Understand yr 2nd to last para, but you didn’t address the pt about SA’s scrum not being dominant v Wales, NZ. The Eng game was a 1 off then, although obviously it mattered then?

  27. After all the talk about England being able to physically dominate or at lease match the Springboks physically, the poms crumbled. It was like boys against men.

  28. Not to mention the critisism the Springboks received before the final for not being enterprizing enough. They score two well orchastrated tries.

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  29. Mick Cleary is right in that it is 4 hard years work down the crapper and that ultimately comes down to the space between the ears.
    Many years ago I used to be at loggerheads with the Sports Master.Wheras the rugby coach drummed into us at 11 years of age that the ONLY reason for losing was you failing to play well enough,the sports master was of the jolly hockey sticks and the playing fields of England variety who took exception to me “accidentally” let rip a beamer on the cricket field or bringing rugby style physical confrontation to the soccer field.
    Englands failure was a lack of mental application.Itoje has the capability of emulating Englands greatest forward-all he needs is the extra 2% which is very hard to define,you could call it that extra hard edge for him to rank alongside Johnno.many others have another or 2 World Cups in them,lets hope they learn from this!
    Quite frankly I have read a lot of comments that makes me wonder how this country managed to colonise the Isle of Wight let alone the Empire.
    Until the present players discover that “hard edge” they will always be found wanting compared to the side of 2003.

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  30. I wasn’t surprised at the scrummaging mess that England got into. The “beast” put an end to Vickery many years ago. Adam Jones was belatedly drafted in and “schooled” him with no trouble whatsoever on the Lions tour. Luckily for England Sinkler is now getting personal tutelage from Adam at Quins. His scrummaging has shown great improvement since. Mako is not a good scrummager either. The Welsh scrummage was pretty solid in the previous week, even when our cornerstone was crocked, and it was only because we kicked too long, like England, that we didn’t pull off a Houdini act yet again. Despite having a weakened team with two centres that were taped up like Egyptian mummies. It’s facile to blame the referee for not sorting out the scrums. I was out there supporting Wales but was happy to give England the accolades they deserved for dismantling NZ. I’m afraid you are all too besotted by Farrell and seem to think he is a faultless player and leader. Perhaps he has begun to believe his own press.

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    1. Ironic Geraint yr using the term ‘dismantling’ regarding NZ, esp after Wales’s match v them & how would describes England’s loss v SA when they lost by 20? More so when NZ lost by 12 & at least scored a try.

  31. Agree with most of the above. Eddie’s selection was 10-20% off. He stuck with ‘wrong’ choices for too long (e.g Teimana Harrison) out of misplaced loyalty maybe! Cost him 6 mths of team development at least. Whereas Rassie did his development in what – 18 months? Clearer headed and focussed!
    EJ, if he stays (I think he should), needs:
    1. A scrum half with a decent pass e.g Spencer
    2. A dedicated full back e.g. Jason Woodward (sorry DonP but you know we like your Kiwi players and that has to be a compliment to the NZ system)
    3. A more settled centre-pairing (I’d give Slade the 6Ns to bed himself in)
    4. Golden hand-shake to Cole and a permanent hello to Williams.

    As Hask and Tindell said on House of Rugby “the future should be good for this young set of players” as long as there’s no negative knee-jerk over-reaction to the final loss.

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    1. Agree with all those points, only one I would add is I would like to see someone pushing BV for his place. I know I will no doubt get some stick for this but he can be a bit of a one trick pony and a pack like SA dealt with him pretty easily. Whether he was 100% fit might have played a part. Not saying he should be ousted but I would just like to see us with another option.

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      1. Think he needs a rest. But he’s not been allowed to have one as Eddie has steadfastly refused to select another 8. His effectiveness has decreased as the games mount up – and who can blame him, he must be knackered!
        If Sarries have any sense they’ll let him go sit on a beach for a few weeks

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      2. Agree with this on the whole too, though I am not convinced re Slade. It’s possible he’s just not going to be a star at international level. That said, I agree he deserves a decent shot at it, especially since we’re back to the beginning of the four year cycle! There is no excuse now for not developing 2-3 new scrum halves, ideally with a diverse set of skills – Spencer has solid game management and a good kicking game, but surely not to late to bring Robson back into the fold? Sounds like he did well on the weekend.

        In general it seems EJ has a propensity for sticking with players even if they need a rest/don’t seem to be 100% match fit. May, for example, has not looked at all at his quickest for the past few weeks.

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        1. I agree with you Claire. Slade has been around the setup for over 4 years now and, although he hasn’t had the starting spot that long, he has had enough time to prove he can be a consistent performer at international level. This WC, I just haven’t seen it. I know he has been injured but each time he came on he made basic mistakes, lots of handling errors and doesn’t seem as comfortable in defense. There are touches of brilliance, but these aren’t enough to justify the short-comings. May was certainly carrying an injury, though not sure a fresher winger could’ve made a huge amount of difference.

          I did read this morning that Eddie will build a brand new squad going forward, which is very promising. I’m sure many will retain their spots but it would be good to get some younger players in and give them a sustained run for the next few years.

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        2. I think Slade has all the tools to become a star for England – but he seems to be a confidence player and the more game time he gets, the better he gets. His injury came at a bad time and we’ve not seen him at his best. I would certainly give him a run at centre in the 6 nations. But then I’ve always liked the idea of a big ball carrier at 12 with a playmaker at 13 – a la Nonu/Smith
          For scrum half – yeah EJ needs to develop a couple more. Robson I think was starting to be considered but then had his thrombosis thing, so he should be considered again. But perhaps we should look beyond that even to the next generation. Mitchell looked good for England against the Barbarians. Anyone think of any others?

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            1. Hard to tell from behind a dominant pack though (at least based on the highlights of the match v Quins, where it looked like the Saints forwards totally bossed it).

        3. Also Daly? Centre?! Dilemma here. Farrell gumming the works, esp as captain? New 1 required? What happens to Ford? How to fit Farrell, Tui, Slade, even JJ into 2 midfield posi’s? Then who at 15? Watto? Then who at 11,14 if not May? Nowell, Cocka? Jones would have labelled a genius if England had won the big 1 glossing these issues. That they have been resurrected here may be an opportunity to stick rather than all change again as since 2016? This is all pre-supposing Jones himself sticks of course. Or not? New broom? Maybe. Probably not.

      3. Yes agreed DarthMaul. Top 8s are gold dust aren’t they. Losing Faletau – and then Navidi who was filling in so well – probably cost Wales the semi-final (as well as putting them under unwanted pressure in other games), and even Reid looked a busted flush for NZ.
        Itoje has all the ability to play 8; and I just wonder if ultimately he has the right body for 2nd row? Might he convert? It’s largely up to the player himself. If he’s willing to give it a serious go, of course; but Saracens would have something to say about that too.

  32. The days are long gone that players sorted out scrums on their own and adjusted to field conditions.
    I have seen it all.In 1960 the Springbok front row
    demolished the All Blacks at Ellis Park.I managed
    to get a standing ticket and left home early that morning.I told no one because I was afraid being told I was to young to travel on my own.

    In 1974 the British Lions made a mess of Springbok rugby.If you haven’t seen them play,you haven’t seen nothing yet.What these teams had in common ,they knew how to scrum and weren’t bloated gym products.They were hard as nails more like biltong,that you can bent
    and twist but not break.
    So what is happening today.Front rows waiting,to crouch,bind an set and often not adjusting to field conditions.England couldn’t get it right and their timing unlike against the All Blacks was way out and only on one occasion managed to put the Bok pack in reverse.

    The turning point.England failed to score after
    pounding the Springbok line with 25 failed efforts to cross the white wash and walked away with 3 points from a penalty.
    So does that make England a bad team.Not by long shot-the manner in which they demolished
    All Blacks will be long remember as one of their finest efforts.

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    1. At the risk of ramming the AB’s down throats on an English site.. again, NZ didn’t get demolished by SA. The pt being is that these 1 off results can & do happen. Happened to NZ, then England. SA just got to the final. If only that Welsh dropped goal..? But it didn’t & that was that.

  33. Photo in Times today of England leaving the field at HALF time.Body language best described as shell shocked ,already lost ,given up.To me that is the English psyche as opposed to the Bok KiWi Aussie psyche.I suspect This game was lost mentally before they took to the field

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  34. Interesting that poss, territory stats favoured England 56 v 44%! Won their own scrums too, although shunted on SA put ins. Won 88% of own lineouts. Ran less metres 173 v 380, breaks 2 v 7, tackles made 98 v 154, but conceded 14 v 9 turnovers. Pens only 10 v 8. Surprising in that the 1st 2 stats seemed less, but did Eng have enough ball, using it less effectively? That missed Farrell kick at the time? How significant? Also did turnovers kill them somewhat? Didn’t break the latter down, but were too many down to the K Kids? Hard to say for me, but..? Reality v perception thing? However, in retro, did England have enough to have pulled it off? Speculation of course, but maybe.

  35. “That missed Farrell kick at the time? How significant?”

    I don’t like to par Owen Farrell on the back but I don’t think it’s significant. When your scrum fails, you’re not just under pressure on the gainline, and conceding pens but you also have more pressure o your own kicker who would be feeling like they will always get more pens from the scrums. Pollard missed more kicks but he had a lot more opportunity to miss. The battle was lost in the forwards. We’ll never know if it would have turned out to be significant but he missed just the one so I don’t think kicking was the issue. I always feel that if the momentum is with a team strongly in the first half, it’s a slow death really, especially in a final. There are exceptions but not many. If England were winning their scrums and SA were conceding penalties, then that penalty wouldn’t have mattered so much and there wouldn’t be so much pressure on it, more likely to kick it. That’s usually how it goes. Put it this way, Pollard could have easily missed a sitter of a penalty and I think they would still have won because the pens kept on coming.

    1. Groan. The pen count was only 10, 8 in SA’s favour! It was about a pivotal moment & therefore psychological pressure in the match. You’re missing the pt. Read the stuff below.

  36. When a team’s scrum is being mullered then it’s common to see the whole team start to implode. Can remember this happening in Lancaster’s first year against Ireland when their scrum got destroyed. You could see the Irish heads going down and they started to make elementary mistakes dropping the ball and knocking on. Sound familiar? If our scrum had been ok it could have been a different match and a,different outcome however poorly we started. We were close on the scoreboard a long time into the match despite all the scrum penalties against us.
    The scrum was the main factor imo. Also when we lost Sink I immediately thought God we’re going to lose at the thought of Cole playing the whole match before he had even got on the pitch. I bet you the players were thinking the same thing and that’s before the scrum was a disaster.
    The other central factor is that I honestly cannot think of a single game when England have been good when Youngs has been playing badly regardless who is flyhalf. When he is bad it’s like a toxin seeping into the team’s nervous system. Eddie has eyes so he must know this and I do find it impossible not to blame him for sorting the scrum half situation out and taking Spencer instead of Macconnochie who played around 5 minutes in total! He should also have taken Williams.

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    1. Oh and that missed kick by Faz was incredibly costly imo. We had finally got some momentum and SA were looking slightly ragged at that moment . You could feel the heads going down when Faz missed. If he had kicked it and the team had gained in confidence the next passage of play could again have been different. However rubbish we had been we were still in the game and might have nicked it at the end, however undeservedly.

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  37. All sports teams have a shelf life and 15 of the 31 have now played in 2 World Cups, including Farrell, Ford,Slade, Tui,the Vunipolae etc all of whom we consider to be almost undroppable when fit.
    That view may now be legitimately questioned imo. Yes the ’15 campaign was almost doomed from the start thanks to certain selections and meddling from within but this time around the preparation was as near perfect as you could wish for and still they came up short.
    I’m not suggesting we need a completely new squad but a re evalution of certain players is not unreasonable.

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