Rugby World Cup: South Africa beats England in final to win third title

South Africa dominated England in a 32-12 Rugby World Cup final victory to match New Zealand's tally of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis cup after South Africa beat England to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup at the Yokohama Stadium in Japan.   -  Getty Images

Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe kicked England when it was down and Handre Pollard scored 22 points as magnificent South Africa won the Rugby World Cup 2019 final with a 32-12 victory.

The Springboks overpowered the favourite at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan on Saturday to match the mark of three World Cup wins by New Zealand.

South Africa dominated the set-piece in a brutal and relentless performance, with England unable to get going after suffering an early blow when Kyle Sinckler departed with concussion.

 

Pollard produced a masterclass from the tee, while Mapimpi and Kolbe crossed in the second half as South Africa became the first team to be crowned Southern Hemisphere and world champions in the same year.

 

Four Owen Farrell penalties were all England could muster as South Africa defended magnificently, enabling Siya Kolisi to become the first black captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

A first World Cup triumph for 12 years again highlighted the job done by coach Rassie Erasmus, who took over in March tasked with turning the side's fortunes around after Allister Coetzee was sacked and will now resort back to his role of director of rugby.

The Springboks made a blistering start and, although Pollard was off-target from the tee in the first minute, he made no mistake with a second shot at goal after prop Sinckler made an early exit following a collision with team-mate Maro Itoje.

Pollard restored the three-point advantage after Farrell got England, which was living dangerously as it tried to throw the ball around in its own half, on the board.

Farrell levelled again from the tee after South Africa defended magnificently in a sustained spell of England pressure.

The Rugby Championship holder lost Mbongeni Mbonambi and Lood De Jager to head and shoulder injuries respectively, but it continued to boss the set-piece and another two Pollard penalties gave them a deserved 12-6 lead at the break.

George Kruis replaced Courtney Lawes at the interval, but South Africa won a fourth penalty at the scrum straight after the introduction of Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch, with Pollard's trusty boot extending South Africa's advantage.

A sweet strike from Farrell, moved to fly-half when Henry Slade replaced George Ford, reduced the deficit after England finally came out on top in a scrum but another kick from the England skipper drifted just wide moments later.

Pollard and Farrell traded further penalties in an attritional encounter, but the lively Mapimpi chipped ahead before taking an offload from Lukhanyo Am to score South Africa's first ever World Cup final try 14 minutes from time.

England looked a beaten side and Kolbe scorched away to add insult to injury after Pieter-Steph du Toit set him up, Pollard adding the extras as South Africa cruised to victory in a repeat of the 2007 final.

- BRUTAL BOKS LAY FOUNDATIONS AT SET-PIECE -

England dominated the All Blacks in a ruthless semifinal display, but it was suffocated by relentless South Africa.

The Springboks' success was built around the set-piece, winning all 11 scrums and six lineouts, while also bossing the breakdown as they emerged victorious in another arm wrestle and showed their flair with late scores when the battle was won.

 

South Africa's plan worked to perfection and was summed up when it won a scrum straight after Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch - two members of the 'Bomb Squad' - came on early in the second half and Pollard slotted over another three points.


- PINPOINT POLLARD PUNISHES ENGLAND -

England did not do itself any favours, conceding 10 penalties as it felt the heat of such a strong South Africa pack.

The ice-cool Pollard punished England by sending six penalties sailing through the posts as Eddie Jones' men paid the price for indiscipline.

England's passing was sloppy and they hit a green brick wall of a South Africa defence when it knocked on the door in a sustained spell of first-half pressure.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- South Africa is the only side to have a 100 per cent win rate in Rugby World Cup finals, winning on each of its three appearances at this stage.
- South Africa’s 20-point victory is the joint second-biggest in a Rugby World Cup final, after Australia’s 23-point win against France in 1999 (NZ also won by 20 points in 1987).
- South Africa scored two tries against England, the first time it had ever crossed the try line in a Rugby World Cup final, it is yet to concede a five-pointer in the showpiece event.
- England has lost the Rugby World Cup final on three occasions, no side has lost at this stage more often (level with France).
- New Zealand has been knocked out before the Rugby World Cup final on five occasions, however only once before has the side who beat the All Blacks before the final gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup (Australia in 1991).
- Owen Farrell scored 12 points in this match, taking him past 100 points in the Rugby World Cup, the second player to reach that milestone for England in the tournament after Jonny Wilkinson (277).
- Billy Vunipola made 19 carries against South Africa, the most in the match and the most by any player in a Rugby World Cup final, surpassing Israel Folau’s tally of 16 in the 2015 edition.
- Maro Itoje made 16 tackles against South Africa, the joint second-most in a Rugby World Cup final behind Richie McCaw (18 in 2011) and level with Jonny Wilkinson (16 in 2003).
- Makazole Mapimpi scored his 14th try in 14 Tests for South Africa, including six tries in six games at this year’s Rugby World Cup.


WHAT'S NEXT

South Africa will celebrate long into the night before Erasmus goes back upstairs to concentrate on the role he was initially appointed to undertake, while England must regroup before going in search of a first Six Nations triumph for three years.