Final - England v South Africa
Ref: Alain Rolland (IRE) TJ 1: Joel Jutge (FRA) TJ 2: Paul Honiss (NZL) 4: Alan Lewis (IRE) 5: Steve Walsh (NZL) (reserve referee) TMO: Stuart Dickinson (AUS)
Well posting re the weekend rugby was delayed: my hands were shaking too much to be able to use a keyboard; not sure if that was nerves or alcohol poisoning!...better late than never I suppose: I've only just recovered from Saturday night when England beat hosts France to progress to the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final. France captain Raphael Ibanez said,
"It came down to very little,"..."It's hard to swallow but that's sport. Well done, England."
The Aussie press refrained from any sarcastic comments, I wonder if they're secretly hoping we win to excuse their own loss...two examples: blonde chick newsreader on video here on ABC and written report on Livenews. However that doesn't mean I won't post a couple of images that I was sent last week: thanks for the heads-up go to Kenji for the Aussie Whine and the NZ Choker, sorry lads. Back to the winners:
"What a brilliant day, a fantastic week," England captain Phil Vickery told ITV television. "To beat France in France in a World Cup semi-final is a huge effort from everyone."
Well, one of the key improvements is the likes of Vickery not giving away stupid penalties all the time (perhaps the games on the bench allowed this to sink in) Simon Shaw was another serial offeneder (penalties/yellow cards) but he too has seen the light: in good time too because South Africa have more than enough kicking power to score from anywhere in the half...or beyond! However, another great all-round performance and superb defensive display from the whole team put England through, albeit still as underdogs if one looks at England's recent record against the Springboks who yesterday won their semi-final that, for the first half an hour, looked anybody's game but which soon changed after a series of mistakes from a tired Argentina, allowed South Africa to win convincingly: a classic final beckons.
Mick Donohoe writing from Paris for the Rugby News Service thinks the opposing fullbacks will have a key role. "Wearing the number 15 jersey for their respective teams, England's Jason Robinson and South Africa's Percy Montgomery are match winners but in their own unique ways". To be honest their game plan, when they humiliated and overtly outplayed England only last month, was high kicks galore...so Mick may have a point!