Boks break Welsh hearts in thrilling Cup semi
WORLD Rugby should just give the Webb Ellis Cup to Eddie Jones and his England team right now.
The Poms have been streets ahead of every other side in Japan and it would be a travesty if the former Wallabies coach doesn't get his hands on the trophy he came so close to winning for Australia in 2003.
South Africa spared the southern hemisphere the humiliation of not having a team in the final for the first time after they overcame Wales 19-16 in the second semifinal but they just aren't in the same class as England.
On the evidence of Sunday night, the Springboks' best hope of winning is if they bore England to death, though that should not be discounted.
South Africa afterall is the only country to win the World Cup without scoring a try in the final - and they've done that twice - in 1995 and 2007.
They did manage to score one try against Wales last night through outside centre Damien de Allende but it was the unerring boot of Handre Pollard that proved decisive, with the Springbok number 10 kicking the winning penalty four minutes from the end after Wales tied the game with a try from Josh Adams.
"In tight matches, that's what it's about," Pollard said. Anything can happen in a final if we produce that effort again."
Jones is unlikely to lose too much sleep trying to figure out South Africa's plans for the final, which will feature more high kicks than a night at the Moulin Rouge.
It was in Paris, 12 years ago, that South Africa beat England to win the World Cup for the second time, when Jones was working as an assistant coach for the Boks, so there's no secrets about what's coming.
"As you can see, the coach (Rassie Erasmus) doesn't hide it. He goes straight for the six-two split because we want our forwards to take out everything," the Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi said.
"We are going for the maul, we are going for the scrum and the guys we bring on, we have got nothing to worry about - they are going to bring it even more."
South Africa's win was another slap in the face for the Wallabies though and their unrealistic tactics and botched execution.
While the Springboks may not play attractive rugby, it is highly effective and they also made the tough call to appoint Erasmus as head coach last year when it was clear the previous coach Allister Coetzee wasn't get the results.
The Wallabies will be kicking themselves at what might have been because they could have been in the final next week.
The Springboks were beatable and Wales were brave to the end, but it was Australia's failure to beat the Welsh in the pool phase that derailed the Wallabies' entire campaign because it put them on the harder side of the draw against England.
"I'm really proud of our guys, we never gave up and we got ourselves back into the game. It was a real arm wrestle, a really tough encounter," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.
"We punch massively above our weight in terms of the playing numbers they have in Wales so I'm really proud of these guys, they've given us 100 per cent."
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