‘Boks up – fallen English Roses

21 10 2007

Congratulations to South AfricaCongratulations to South Africa on winning the Rugby World Cup!

Dragged myself out of bed at 3:45 am to see the Springboks lead from beginning to end in what was really a pretty average game of rugby. No tries, no chances taken… but South Africa win by 9 points.

South Africa 15 – England 6

Kicking dominated the game – both as far as scoring and tactics. Both teams relied on it heavily throughout the match, but it was the strength of the South African forwards that realised the victory for the ‘Boks. Neither side particularly threatened out wide, the English lacking the ability to run there (especially once Robinson went off injured), and the ‘Boks lacking the will.

There’ll be complaints about the TV match official ruling Mathew Tait as in touch on an attempted try, but his foot did touch the line, barely before he crossed to touch the ball down.

Scoring-wise, to have a final where no try was awarded is very disappointing. The showcase of rugby union, and other than one fairly dashing run by Francois Steyn, I cannot point to any passage of play where you’d state that it was ‘exciting’. I think that this is something the IRB need to seriously explore in the wake of the tournament. Runners-up England scored but one try in their passage through the quarters, semis & final. Kicking’s great, and an integral part of the game… but tries are what makes the game exciting.

Anyway, back to the final, and although Steyn had a good game – as did Percy Montgomery – my ‘Man of the Match’ award would go to Butch James, who was vital in defence. Would’ve liked to see South Africa run a game-plan that had more Bryan Habana in it, but they won, and I’m sure that they’re fine with that.

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7 responses

21 10 2007
anjamerret

Taking no chances. Stakes too high in the final.

21 10 2007
Dave's Football Blog

That’s why the powers that be in American football spent the first half of the 20th century de-emphasizing the kicking game. The fans preferred touchdowns.

22 10 2007
brumbygg9

it was a poor game and a poor advertisement for the game, bu there haven’t been too many open games played in RWC finals anyway. Have to say that I thought the TMO got it right on the Cueto “try”, despite what the Englishmen in the room with me thought! Best team won on the day (as they so often do) but in general a fairly uninispiring tournament where the highlights were probably England grinding out wins against the odds in the QF and SF which doesn’t say much for the rest of it!

22 10 2007
withmalice

Indeed Rob, on all your points.
If they’re the highlights, it’s a sad indictment of the tournament. I guess I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this, but the adjudication needs to improve to a level that actually encourages tries.
The rules are in place, they just need to be applied in the field of play, and not left up to some idiot’s intepretation.

23 10 2007
Brock Samson

England got its just desserts; South Africa not only beat them, but beat them at their own game. The fact that it made for pretty boring rugby and that the match was over by, say, the 60th minute, well… c’est la guerre.

23 10 2007
Bigredman

For mine, the best game was the South Africa vs Fiji QF

23 10 2007
Mark Logsdon

C’mon, guys. The highlight of the tournament, by a long ways, was the performance of Argentina. Their two wins over France were first-rate performances of dedicated rugby. A hearty round for Tonga and Fiji, too. Now let’s see if the IRB really cartes about growing union world-wide.

And maybe we can refocus a bit. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, but year-in/year-out test rugby is still the essence of the form, imo.

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