England v South Africa I Rugby World Cup Final 2019 Live Stream Online Tv
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South Africa to face England in Rugby World Cup final after beating Wales
• Damian de Allende’s try helps swing tense semi-final
• Next Saturday’s match in Yokohama a repeat of the 2007 final
A match that contained more kicks out of hand than it did minutes was appropriately decided by the boot when Handré Pollard’s late penalty took South Africa to their third final and a repeat of 2007 when they defeated England in Paris in a match that had no more oxygen than the latest of Wales’s World Cup hard-luck stories.
Wales lost in the 2011 to France by a point after missing a late kick, were thwarted by a late South Africa try in the quarter-final four years ago and here looked to have taken the initiative after levelling the scores with a smart try from a scrum 16 minutes from time. However injuries ultimately caught up with them in an edgy encounter which had far more spills than thrills, and they tellingly lacked the Springboks’ resources on the bench.
The England head coach Eddie Jones was among the spectators and he will have had a feeling of deja vu as he watched South Africa adopt a rigid gameplan from the start based on taking no risks in their own half but kicking the ball to Wales and daring them to break down a defence that was as aggressive as it was unyielding.
It was how South Africa won the World Cup 12 years ago when Jones was on their management team as a consultant. He said before the start of that tournament
that the winners would have the best defence and he knows what to expect in Saturday’s final. There was a period here before Wales scored their try that, briefly, gave them hope when they took play through 20 phases five metres from the Springboks’ line.
They were no closer to it at the end than they had been at the beginning, knocked back time and again. Wales tried to widen the point of attack, but South Africa so enveloped the ball-carriers that possession was slowed down and they were forced to use targets from one out, unable to make ground.
It was the theme from the start when South Africa kicked the first eight times they received the ball and while Wales looked to play around the fringes, occasionally getting joy on the blindside, most of their attacks came from behind the gainline until they reached the point where they too had to kick. They did so more than South Africa, 41–40, but they had 61% of the possession. South Africa only passed the ball 67 times, with a hefty percentage of those coming in the move that led to their try on 56 minutes when Pollard indulged in one of his side’s two offloads before jinking past the prop Rhys Carré.
South Africa used a penalty advantage to drive at Wales before moving the ball left where Damien de Allende, who was used mainly to batter his way through from set-pieces in Wales’s half, fended off Dan Biggar before taking two defenders over the line with him. Otherwise South Africa were rigidly disciplined in keeping Wales at arm’s length by not giving them mistakes to feed off in dangerous positions. Their only forward who covered any ground was the No 8 Duane Vermeulen, and most of the metres he ran were from restarts.
South Africa made almost twice as many tackles as Wales and after taking the lead with the first of Pollard’s four penalties 14 minutes in, they never fell behind. Wales drew level three times and a team that has in the last couple of years been able to find ways of winning tight matches in the final quarter rocked the Springboks 16 minutes from time when they opted for a scrum after being awarded a penalty and, even though it was going backwards, fashioned a try for the wing Josh Adams, his sixth of the tournament.
The Springboks, for the first time, looked vulnerable. They brought their turnover specialist Francois Louw off the bench and his first contribution was to concede a penalty. Wales, who had lost the prop Tomas Francis and the wing George North to injuries in the first-half, sensed their opportunity one week after they had come from behind to topple France in the final minutes.
Tired legs found new energy and they swarmed into their opponents’ 22. Their captain and talisman Alun Wyn Jones led the charge but as he was tackled to the ground, Louw positioned himself over the ball and forced the second row to hold on. The appointment of the referee Jérôme Garcès was not welcomed in South Africa because nine of their 10 previous Tests he had controlled had ended in defeat, but in this instant his whistle was melodious.
South Africa kicked downfield for a line-out and another forward rumble. When Dillon Lewis was caught offside, Pollard had the opportunity to win the match from 40 metres to the left of the posts. A wind had blown up from the late afternoon, gusting across the pitch, but he had kicked flawlessly all night and as soon as he had struck the ball he knew he had maintained his 100% record.
Rassie Erasmus’s stint as South Africa’s head coach began in June last year when a late try cost them victory over Wales in Washington, but their only defeat this year was to New Zealand on the opening weekend of the World Cup. They have quickly recovered the mental hardness they used to be renowned for and while England will be favourites in the final, Jones knows that his side, the hunters against the All Blacks, will be the hunted, and the Springboks were one-dimensional here by design rather than comfort.
It meant there was no dream ending for the Wales head coach Warren Gatland after 12 years in charge. He spoke two days before the match of how he would like one more crack at the All Blacks and he will get his wish, even if Friday’s bronze playoff was not what he had in mind. Under him, Wales have developed into a hard-nosed team that gives everything but here it was not quite enough.
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