03 November 2019 12:37
South Africa outplay England in Yokohama to claim their third Rugby World Cup crown. Makazole Mapimpi is being hailed as South Africa's drought breaker after scoring the Springboks' first try in a Rugby World Cup final at the third attempt. Remarkably, South Africa had gone 245 minutes without scoring a World Cup final try until Mapimpi touched down in the 66th minute against England in Yokohama on Saturday night. The Springboks beat England 32-12 to retain their proud record of having never lost a Rugby World Cup final following earlier triumphs in 1995 and 2007. Dan Mullan Makazole Mapimpi of South Africa breaks through to score his team's first try in the Rugby World Cup final victory over England.
SHAUN BOTTERILL/GETTY IMAGES Springboks mob Makazole Mapimpi after his Rugby World Cup final sealing try. South Africa beat the All Blacks 15-12 after extra-time in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in a 100-minute epic at Johannesburg's Ellis Park. Four penalties to Percy Montgomery and a long-range goal by Francois Steyn gave the Springboks a 15-6 win over England in the 2007 Rugby World Cup final in Paris. Now 32, Steyn joins loosehead prop Os du Randt as the only Springbok with two Rugby World Cup winners medals. GETTY IMAGES South Africa's Rugby World Cup final tryscorers Makazole Mapimpi (L) and Cheslin Kolbe embrace.
In a 32-12 result that continues the Southern Hemisphere's grip on the sport into a fourth consecutive World Cup cycle, the Springboks showed the very best of both sides to their game, physically dominating England early on with power before killing them off through precision late on. After so much talk of one-dimensional rugby, it was apt that their tries came from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, the two talented wings, who finally had the shackles removed as Rassie Erasmus deployed a game plan that completely caught England off-guard. With 22 points from the boot of fly-half Handre Pollard largely thanks to South Africa's dominance in the scrum, England for the first time in Japan failed to lead the match at all, with four Owen Farrell penalties all they had to show for their efforts. Their run to the final has captured the imagination of the nation back home in what remains an incredible year of English sporting achievement, but there will not be any repeat of the cricketing heroics of the summer, and given what the sight of Siya Kolisi, South Africa's first black captain, lifting the Webb Ellis Cup on his 50th appearance represents for his nation, it's hard to argue that this wasn't the real fairy tale story. Heartbreak comes in many forms, particularly in the emotional pit that is a World Cup final, but Kyle Sinckler knocked unconscious and showing clear signs of concussion was sickening to see. In pictures: Rugby World Cup final Show all 100 left Created with Sketch. Pollard had already missed his range-finder in the second minute after Courtney Lawes failed to roll away when he was given a second chance to get the scoreboard moving nine minutes in, with Owen Farrell stitched up after a poor Billy Vunipola pass missed George Ford leaving the England skipper holding on to Duane Vermeulen. The loss of Sinckler appeared to have a large impact on their ability to find their feet, and though South Africa went about trying to punish them, they did not take the points their early dominance deserved. Willie le Roux, who has looked desperately short of the player who has lit up the Premiership for the last two years, dropped a high ball and Pollard missed touch from a penalty to allow England back into the contest, and from their first real attack Kolbe failed to roll away after tackling Billy Vunipola and Farrell levelled the scores – 23 minutes in, it was not what England deserved at all – and with Mbongeni Mbonambi and Lood de Jager both forced off, the 2003 champions finally had a foothold. Billy Vunipola was forced to hold on under pressure from Vermuelen to give Pollard another three points from more than 40 metres out, and yet another scrum infringement from Cole gave the stand-off one more chance on the stroke of half-time to double the advantage. England at least seemed to address their scrummaging issue by introducing Joe Marler for Mako Vunipola and the Harlequins loosehead helped demolish a Springboks scrum that brought three points for Farrell 12 minutes into the second half, but the captain – moved to fly-half as Eddie Jones hauled off George Ford for Henry Slade – missed his next effort where Pollard didn't as he punished an offside Manu Tuilagi for his over-eagerness in defence to extend the lead to nine. Tuilagi made up for his indiscretion almost immediately by smashing into Vermeulen off the restart, forcing Marx to come in at the side and concede the penalty that Farrell duly kicked, and at 12-18, the next score was going to prove crucial. The wing kicked down-field with Elliot Daly well out of position, and Am regathered to send Mapimpi over for the Springboks' first ever try in a World Cup final. South Africa: Willie le Roux (Frans Steyn, 68); Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk (Herschel Jantjies, 77); Tendai Mtawarira (Steven Kitschoff, 44), Bongi Mbonambi (Malcolm Marx, 22), Frans Malherbe (Vincent Koch, 44); Eben Etzebeth (RG Snyman, 60), Lood de Jager (Franco Mostert, 22); Siya Kolisi (Francois Louw, 64), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermuelen.