Close but yet so far for the Boks

The Rep - - ON THE SPORT SCENE - By Maxwell Levine

IT was a mat­ter of so near, yet so far for the Spring­boks in their nail-bit­ing 20-18 loss to the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-fi­nal.

It was al­ways ex­pected to be a mam­moth task to beat the de­fend­ing champs and book a place in the fi­nal. To their credit the Boks put up a valiant fight and went into the break lead­ing 12-7. But like a true cham­pion side the New Zealan­ders hit back in the sec­ond half to claw their way back into the match. South Africa could not adapt to the wet con­di­tions in the sec­ond stanza and, cou­pled with the All Blacks’ mag­nif­i­cent de­fen­sive dis­play, shut out the op­po­si­tion from scor­ing a try. The All Blacks im­ple­mented the game plan to per­fec­tion, play­ing most of the game in the op­po­si­tion half. The Boks have to set­tle for a show­down in the 3rd/4th place play-off against the Ar­gen­tini­ans who lost 29-15 to Aus­tralia.

In the other semi-fi­nal, Aus­tralia showed their class and dom­i­nance in reach­ing their first-ever fi­nal against New Zealand. Ar­gentina put up a good fight but in the end the Aussies were far su­pe­rior. It will be a fi­nal be­tween the south­ern hemi­sphere’s great ri­vals. Both teams have beaten each other once this year, with Aus­tralia wrestling the Rugby Cham­pi­onship ti­tle from the All Blacks ear­lier. It will be a World Cup fi­nal of firsts for both teams. If the All Blacks win they will be the first coun­try to suc­cess­fully de­fend their world crown. If Aus­tralia claims a vic­tory, they will be the first team to win a World Cup and the Rugby Cham­pi­onship in a cal­en­dar year.

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