Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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    Late Kick Hands South Africa an ‘Ugly’ Victory Over England in Rugby World Cup

    Johannesburg, South Africa – In a stunning turn of events, South Africa’s rugby team secured a narrow 16-15 victory over a dominant England in a thrilling semifinal clash. Handre Pollard, the replacement fly-half, emerged as the hero, landing a last-gasp penalty from almost halfway to seal the win. This dramatic victory propels the defending champions into the Rugby World Cup final, where they will face fellow triple champions, New Zealand.

    Throughout most of the match, it seemed that England, led by a relentless kicking game, was destined to return to the final. Owen Farrell’s precision earned them a 6-0 lead early on, thanks to two well-executed penalty kicks. Manie Libbok managed to secure a penalty for the Springboks but was later replaced by Handre Pollard, who quickly made his presence felt with a successful penalty.

    At halftime, England maintained their disciplined approach, holding a deserved 12-6 lead, which they extended to 15-6 with a brilliant 47-meter drop goal by Farrell. The upset seemed imminent, with South Africa struggling to find their footing.

    However, the tide turned in the Springboks’ favor when Pollard, called up mid-tournament to replace the injured Malcolm Marx, made a superb touch-finder that set up RG Snyman for the only try of the match. Pollard’s successful conversion brought South Africa within two points with only ten minutes left on the clock.

    The game’s pivotal moment came when Pollard, with nerves of steel, slotted a scrum penalty with just three minutes remaining, giving South Africa their first lead of the match. In a thrilling final assault, South Africa’s defense held firm, and a crucial knock-on by England sealed their fate.

    After the victory, Pollard expressed his elation, highlighting the significance of his winning kick: “It was a big moment, but it’s what you want as a player on this stage. Having moments like that as a fly-half is what you live for.”

    South Africa’s captain, Siya Kolisi, acknowledged the challenge posed by England, saying, “It was really ugly, but that’s what champions are made of.”

    Despite the defeat, England’s coach, Steve Borthwick, praised his team’s efforts and their rapid learning curve: “We came here believing we would win, and the players deserve enormous credit for that. We have a very smart group of players that are learning very quickly because we have had to do it very quickly.”

    This thrilling victory sets the stage for an epic Rugby World Cup final, where South Africa will face New Zealand, a highly anticipated clash between two rugby powerhouses.

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