Final Score: ENGLAND 12-32 SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s first black rugby captain lifted the trophy in the 2019 Rugby Final with the Springboks producing “their best display of the competition”.

The Mirror reports: “England suffered World Cup Final heartbreak against South Africa again, being comprehensively defeated by Rassie Erasmus’ side in Japan.

“After busting the All Blacks myth with a dominant display in the semi-finals, Eddie Jones’ men faced the two-time winners in Yokohama, arriving as favourites and looking to avenge their final defeat of 12 years ago.

“But the Springboks, an unflashy yet ruthlessly efficient, powerful team, were eager to end English hopes in the same way they had finished Wales bid six days previously.

“And a side that have been often criticised in Japan for the coldness of their displays, saved their best for last, doing to England what the Red Rose had done to New Zealand in the semi-finals, running out 32-12 winners and proving a class apart.

“For 80 minutes, the International Stadium looked more like Twickenham, such was the sea of white shirts as travelling England fans packed out the stands,” the report added.

“Unfortunately, on the field, England fell to the joint second-heaviest defeat in Rugby World Cup final history, second best in almost every department as South Africa landed the Webb Ellis Trophy for the third time.

“England suffered an early blow, with Kyle Sinckler – an injury doubt heading into the clash – having to depart after less than three minutes.

“The 26 year-old prop was knocked out as he attempted to make a tackle on South Africa winger Makazole Mapimpi – only to collide with the shoulder of Maro Itoje instead.

“Referee Jerome Garces immediately called a halt to play and Sinckler eventually walked from the field after medical treatment, being replaced by Dan Cole.

“Handre Pollard, whose flawless kicking propelled South Africa through their semi-final at Wales’ expense, kicked a ninth minute penalty to open the scoring, having already missed a long-range effort prior to Sinckler’s injury.

“Sinckler was duly followed off the field by South Africa duo Bongi Mbonambi and Lood de Jager, both needing head injury assessments; a war of attrition was promised pre-game, and the start was duly as brutal as predicted.

“The Red Rose dug their way back into the game and levelled after 22 minutes, captain Owen Farrell firing between the posts from close range.

“But England were jittery and duly made a mess of the restart, offering up a scrum in their own half and handing South Africa a penalty.”
The report continued: “They were struggling to compete with the sheer physicality of the South Africa scrum and produced unforced errors, allowing the unflappable Pollard to fire two more penalties over.
Six points behind at the half, when it was all over: “Siya Kolisi stepped up and became South Africa’s first black captain to lift the trophy; it was little more than he and they deserved, a Far East masterclass continuing their 100 percent record in finals.”
  • Feature Photos Courtesy of The Mirror & Getty Images