Close but yet so far for the Boks
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.