In a nail-biting encounter at the Stade de France, South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks, managed to secure a narrow victory over England with a scoreline of 16-15. Siya Kolisi, the South African captain, expressed immense pride in his team’s resilience, stating, “The match wasn’t pretty, but moments like these define champions.”
Jacques Nienaber, the Springbok coach, acknowledged the commendable performance by the English side, which almost saw them advancing to their fifth World Cup final.
England were exceptional tonight, pushing us to our limits. The outcome could have easily tilted in their favour, he remarked.
With just 11 minutes left on the clock, the defending champions were staring at a potential defeat, lagging behind at 15-6. However, a pivotal moment arrived when RG Snyman scored a close-range try, followed by Handre Pollard’s successful conversion. Pollard then sealed the deal for the Springboks with a crucial penalty in the 77th minute. This victory mirrored their previous match where they edged out France 29-28 in the quarter-finals.
Kolisi reflected on the team’s tenacity, saying,
“Despite the challenges, we managed to rally and turn the tide. I’m immensely proud of the team’s spirit.”
In preparation for the upcoming final against the formidable All Blacks, Nienaber emphasised the need to analyse England’s strategy.
England’s tactical approach kept us on our toes. If New Zealand adopts a similar strategy, we’ll need to be better prepared. The team’s ability to adapt and persevere, even when not at their best, is commendable. Their determination is unwavering, and I couldn’t be prouder, he shared.
England’s Owen Farrell showcased his prowess with four penalties in the first half and a remarkable drop goal in the second, granting England a nine-point advantage.
Kolisi was confident in Pollard’s ability to clinch the game-winning penalty, noting, “He’s come through for us in the past, and I had every faith he’d do it again.”
Pollard, who entered the game as a substitute for Manie Libbok after the first 30 minutes, admitted the team’s performance wasn’t their best.
We faced immense pressure from England, especially during the first half. Yet, our unwavering spirit and determination are emblematic of our team and our nation, he said.
The Leicester fly-half, who wasn’t initially selected for the World Cup squad, expressed his elation at the game’s defining moment.
Such moments are what players dream of. As a fly-half, opportunities like these are what we thrive on. It was exhilarating, he concluded.