South Africa's wing Makazole Mapimpi scores a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)
South Africa's wing Makazole Mapimpi scores a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Brutal Boks destroy Eddie's World Cup dream

At a World Cup that was full of so many unexpected twists, how fitting it was that the granddaddy of them off all was saved for last.

English's 32-12 annihilation by South Africa was Eddie Jones' worst nightmare come true and will cut him to the bone because he deserved better for the way he has transformed the team.

But for long suffering Australian sports fans sick to death of seeing the Poms win all the trophies that were once ours, this was as almost as sweet as it gets.

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Eddie Jones looks as England lose the World Cup final to South Africa. Picture: Getty
Eddie Jones looks as England lose the World Cup final to South Africa. Picture: Getty

It was bad enough that Trevor Bayliss helped England win the Cricket World Cup this year so the thought of another Aussie helping the old enemy match Australia's 1999 World Cup double would have been unbearable.

"We just struggled to get into the game, the effort of the players was outstanding but we just struggled to get on the front foot," a devastated Jones said.

"I can't fault the preparation of players who have worked hard the entire World Cup, I think they played with a lot of pride and passion.

"We just weren't good enough and congratulations South Africa on an outstanding performance."

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Makazole Mapimpi crosses for South Africa's first try. Picture: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP
Makazole Mapimpi crosses for South Africa's first try. Picture: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

All the talk about the southern hemisphere's days of domination being over now look as accurate as the wild passes English halfback Ben Youngs threw over the sideline as the Poms panicked from the opening kickoff and let South Africa dictate terms.

After nine Rugby World Cups, the numbers tell the story. The southern hemisphere teams have won eight finals, the northern hemisphere just once.

And this was as comprehensive a flogging as any team has ever suffered in a final.

Not only did the Springboks score two unanswered tries from their electrifying wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe but their forwards smashed England's scrum in a way that has never been seen before after prop Kyle Sinckler was knocked out cold in the first minute.

Jonny May is crushed in some tough South African defence. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Jonny May is crushed in some tough South African defence. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The cocky English thought they had it in the bag after beating the Wallabies and the All Blacks in successive weeks but were completely outplayed by a Springboks team on its own mission to create history.

Already the only southern hemisphere coach to lose a final after being in charge of the Wallabies team that was beaten by England in 2003, Jones earned himself another slice of unwanted history when he became the first coach to lose two finals while England joined France as the only countries to lose three finals.

The Springboks may not play the most attractive brand of rugby but it's a proven blueprint for success and they have now won the World Cup three times - matching New Zealand's record - and are 3-0 in finals.

"There are so many good things in South Africa but always in the past, we seem to look at all the bad things," South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said.

"We just decided, listen let's stand together and work really hard and play well on the field and then from that all the other things will come out later and I think that's what we did and against that we won the World Cup, so that's great."

The Springboks' first win in 1995, when Nelson Mandela famously wore Francois Pieenar's No. 6 jersey as a symbol of black and white reconciliation, remains one of rugby's poignant moments, but what South Africa achieved in Japan is perhaps even greater.

Not only did they become the first team to win the title after losing a pool match (they were beaten by New Zealand), but for the first time, the Webb Ellis trophy was presented to a black captain, something that was unimaginable in South Africa's past.

South African captain Siya Kolisi holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup. Picture: AP
South African captain Siya Kolisi holds aloft the Webb Ellis Cup. Picture: AP

Born into a world of poverty in a Port Elizabeth township, Siya Kolisi's rise to the Springboks' captaincy has made him an inspiration to millions in his homeland and his legacy will only grow after he received the sport's greatest prize from Japan's Crown Prince, capping an amazing tournament that promises to change the game forever.

"We have so many problems in our country, a team like this - we come from different backgrounds, different races - and we came together with one goal. I really hope we have done that for South Africa, to show that we can pull together if we want to achieve something," Kolisi said.

"Since I have been alive I have never seen South Africa like this. With all the challenges we have, the coach said to us that we are not playing for ourselves any more, we are playing for the people back home - that is what we wanted to do today."

News Corp Australia


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