Saturday, October 20, 2007

One Final Too Far

Unlike most of the other World Cup games which I saw at home, I was out at the George in Fleet Street to watch the final. It was crammed to the rafters but I managed to squeeze into a corner to watch the big screen and scream with the rest of them!

After having to play knockout rugby for the preceding 4 games, England did their very best, but the Springboks just seemed to have the edge. Everyone in the pub was convinced Mark Cueto's try should have been allowed, but in the cold light of day, and having seen the replay properly, I'm prepared to admit it was the right call.

The South Africans never really got into top gear, with their supposedly secret weapons Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen not getting much ball and therefore never really cutting loose. But I think the Boks had played the better rugby for most of the tournament, so in the end they were worthy winners and the William Webb Ellis trophy [above] will be going home with them.

Jake White will be in charge for one last game, against the Barbarians at Twickenham on 1st December, but then he'll be looking for a new challenge. Who knows where he'll end up. The game is rather amusingly being billed as "Socks vs Boks", from the tradition that Barbarians' players may wear the black and white hooped jersey, but they always bring their own current team socks with them. It will also be Jason Robinson's last ever game, so I'm sure he'll get a good sendoff from the crowd, whatever the final score.

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