Rugby World Cup France 2007

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

South Africa win the Rugby World Cup in an exciting Final Match

In a very exciting game, South Africa got their second World Cup title, by reaching a 15-6 win over defending champions England in a dour final where all points came from penalty kicks at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

Indeed, Percy Montgomery, Springboks full-back, kicked four penalties with 20-year-old centre Francois Steyn booting one, allowing South Africa to put their hands on the Webb Ellis Trophy for the first time since winning it on home soil in 1995.

"It's really incredible," admitted Bryan Habana, South Africa winger.

"Our president (Thabo Mbeki) is here. And it's been an incredible seven weeks and we really appreciate the support we have received here."

Despite holding their own for most of the match in both defence and kicking duels, England could not avenge the humiliating 36-0 loss to the Boks in the pool stage five weeks ago.

And they once again displayed grit in the forwards with the determined scrummaging and defence that saw them through the quarters and semi-final, but could only get into good enough position for two penalties from fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.

As the clash wore on, and with South Africa out to a nine point lead, the British team tried in vain to spin the ball wide but looked well out of their depth when diverting from their tight, forward-based game plan.

"We can't fault effort and the heart," said Martin Corry, England forward. "It's a shame that all that spirit counts for nothing. We gave it everything but it didn't go according to plan.

It's was obvious that England's frustration was summed up when Wilkinson attempted a long-range drop-goal with minutes remaining when what his side really needed was a converted try.

After the game, in Johannesburg the celebrations were unstoppable.

And even those who knew little about the game of rugby were out in force, spurring their team on to World Cup glory.

We must consider that Rugby is predominantly played by white people in South Africa, but it is hoped that with the success of a multi-cultural team, including try-scoring superstar Habana, the sport will go through a transformation and become popular with all colours.

"Habana is our hero, and this win shows transformation within the team," the fans added. "It's not just a white man's sport, it's a rainbow nation sport. And the players were not only representing the nation, but the whole of Africa."

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