We’re now one match left to wrap up the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament with the All Blacks v Springboks final around the corner tomorrow AM AEDT time where we look back at the Bronze match final between Los Pumas v England. England got off to a great start while Pumas made up some lost time with their first TRY not long from the break 10-16. Although the Pumas found the breakthrough for the lead at one point, but then England responded really well by regaining the lead before they went on to shut them out on the run home for the best of 3rd – 23-26.
Commiserations to the Pumas who didn’t play bad where they’ve caught up to the English really well including a short 2nd half lead not long after the break. But just couldn’t hold it off or get the job done under pressure where England’s great start & the way they regroup themselves with patience has saw them fell short towards the end there. Hope things will get better & strong for the Argentinians going forward to next year under the helm (Head Coach) of Aussie’s own Michael Cheika.
And England played really well as we’ve seen by taking a few safe plays with the number of three-point penalty goals for a start. Glad they’ve made some improvements here & there when it comes to collecting these big points as the game goes on, which is something they should’ve done (like five-metre line-out when it comes to a close winning penalty from the TRY area for example) against a scrambled Springboks defense during the 2nd semi last weekend. But all in all, great seeing England collect the bronze/3rd place, who has been good in the last two World Cup campaigns. They’re still the only Northern Hemisphere team so far to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once back in 2003 against the Wallabies at Stadium Australia in Sydney when No.10 Jonny Wilkinson broke their hearts at extra time courtesy of that winning drop goal through the posts, 17-20.
2023 Rugby World Cup Final Preview: All Blacks-Springboks at Stade De France
Now the tables have turned to one of the world’s long-time rivalries in World Rugby that takes place every year – All Blacks v Springboks. The Boks have won against them a few times in recent years after struggling for the majority between after the 2007 World Cup win to around 2017 beforehand including the warm-up game in London back in August, even though they’re no longer in Super Rugby & instead ply themselves in Europe. All Blacks on the other hand have been one of the world’s greatest sporting teams that everyone looks up to as their source of inspiration & they too have always been winning lots of matches here & there, but they had some downtimes too including the opening WC game v France as well as the three-match series v Ireland at home last year & they also lost to England during the 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final in Japan.
Given the Boks have won three of the last six games v the ABs since 2021, their scrambled defense & the way they gradually get themselves into the game by being right on the money will be the key to their success that will leave the ABs bereft of options before being haunted at the opposition’s own danger zone. If not, look out for the ABs possession-based tactics where they will look to get the best out of their attacking football through the gate before being able to defend at ease & that is going to be the secret weapon by making the Boks difficult to chase them up during 80 minutes of play tomorrow AM.
It all comes down to just two top-quality teams in the 47th & final game of this tournament where one of them will be the first four-time Webb Ellis Cup winner in Rugby World Cup history at Paris’s Stade De France since its inception in 1987. And if I was going to pick a winner between those two, it’s going to be the All Blacks – even though it will be a close one by seven points.