Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

England missed out on a place in the Rugby World Cup final after a narrow defeat to holders South Africa.

Steve Borthwick’s side led for most of the game courtesy of four penalties and a drop goal from captain Owen Farrell and looked set for a meeting with New Zealand in next Saturday’s showpiece.

But a late try from RG Snyman followed by a Handre Pollard penalty gave the Springboks a 16-15 win.

South Africa continue on in their defence of the crown they earned in Japan four years ago.

England were the underdogs for the match against the defending world champions, but put in a strong display, only allowing the Springboks to lead for the final two and a half minutes of the game.

With just two points in it, England conceded a penalty at a scrum just inside their own halfway line, which was duly put through the posts by Pollard.

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A Handre Pollard penalty gave South Africa the lead two and a half minutes from full-time

England’s players sank to their knees at the final whistle, their hearts broken having given their all in a rematch of the 2019 final despite being distant outsiders, and it was an especially cruel moment for Farrell given his outstanding night.

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Farrell was at the heart of many of his side’s best moments although they were not enough to see England through to a second successive World Cup final.

Three times in a row England turned over South African line-out drives, winning a penalty on the third of them to relieve the pressure that was building on their line.

Every aspect of the contest was being won by England, but they were also their own worst enemies as they gave away three needless penalties, one of them for a moment of petulance from Farrell that allowed Manie Libbok to land three points.

Libbok became the fall guy for South Africa’s woes when he was replaced in the 32nd minute by Pollard in the hope the 2019 World Cup winner would bring greater control.

Pollard’s first involvement was to boot a penalty and growing tension was evident as errors crept into both sides, but when Farrell found the target for the fourth time, England entered the break with a deserved 12-6 lead.

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England players clash with South Africa players during the World Cup semi-final

Rookie Leicester lock George Martin had been at the forefront of red-rose resistance through his savage tackling and as the rain continued to fall there was no prospect of the game opening up.

Scrum-half Cobus Reinach and full-back Damian Willemse were the next to be pulled by South Africa, who now had Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux on the field, and then Eben Etzebeth followed them into the dugout.

The changes were a reflection of England’s control and just as the Springboks appeared to be clawing their way into contention, Farrell rifled over a sensational drop-goal.

England’s captain was striking gold with every touch as a crossfield grubber caused Kurt-Lee Arendse to fumble, but South Africa were beginning to harvest penalties at the scrum.

Suddenly the Springboks went up a gear, their pack pouring forwards from a line-out for Snyman to score.

It was now all South Africa, who had discovered a new lease of life, and when the moment for glory came, Pollard stepped up to deliver his monster penalty.

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The post Late South Africa comeback denies England Rugby World Cup final place appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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