In the aftermath of South Africa’s historic 32-12 beating of England in the RWC final, here are a few brief notes to chew on …
Rassie is a coaching genius. The plans that he made for Japan, Wales and then England were perfect. The way that he has moulded this team into winners from being complete outcasts 18 months ago is truly amazing. He has surrounded himself with an excellent coaching team – Matthew Proudfoot (scrum coach), Mzwandile Stick (skills specialist), Jacques Nienaber (defence coach) and Felix Jones (attack coach). He will retire as one of the greatest Springbok coaches of all time. While his record of 17-1-8 is still behind Kitch Christie, Nick Mallet, Jake White and even Heyneke Meyer’s win percentage, it was the way he transformed a losing team with a losing mentality into world beaters that makes him stand out.
Egg, bacon, beans and mushrooms and anything else you can find on the face for Matt Dawson who cheekily suggested on the morning of the game that not one Springbok would make a combined Final team in his pregame BBC column. LOL – Dawson should retire from punditry for getting the basics so badly wrong. He has embarrassed himself and his country time and again in the media. He has become the laughing stock of rugby.
South Africa are yet to concede a try in three Rugby World Cup finals. That takes an extreme level of concentration and intensity to pull that off. The Boks also scored their first ever tries in a final – hats off to Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe.
The turning point in the game was potentially late in the first half when England put 25 phases together in the Bok 22 but failed to get over the chalk. A try there would have lifted England spirits immeasurably and cast some doubt in the Bok minds at half time. Yet another reminder that defences win Rugby World Cups.
The stats tell a tale on their own too … here are some of the more interesting ones: Meters carried – Boks 369m vs England 201m; Clean breaks – Boks 11, Eng 2; Scrums – Boks 11, England 3; England were ahead on all the other basic stats except the final score.
Prince Harry made an appearance in the Bok change room after the game – was challenged to a down-down by Frans Steyn but reluctantly declined with the cameras on him. He gave an honourable speech about how much South Africa as a country needed this win. He is right about that.
Siya Kolisi now has a massive role to play in the rebuilding of unity in South Africa. He will enjoy iconic status forever as the first black captain to lift a Rugby World Cup. He will now also be considered a statesman and hopefully will utilise his role wisely. We think he will.
The Boks are now tied with the All Blacks for the most RWC wins with 3. They are also officially the No.1 team in the world ahead of NZ in second and England in third! BOOOOOM!