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Rassie Erasmus has been appropriately named coach of the year for 2019 after his side beat England in the final of a thrilling World Cup tournament in Japan.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, since Rassie took charge everyone could see how they were improving and coming good for the tournament.
At the same time I’m not sure too many people backed them to go the whole way. I had picked England as the team to stop the All Blacks from winning a third successive World Cup and go on to win the tournament from the time they turned Ireland over in Dublin.
You could feel their stock rising and it would be typical of them to peak in a World Cup year but they came up short at the last hurdle.
Their performance in the semi-final had most people thinking that they were too strong because they had it all, handling, offloads, the game plan and tactics – but also the brute force to back it up.
I feel like I knew the man for a couple of years but in reality it was one short summer from start to finish
Unfortunately for them they were off the pace from the start last Saturday. You don’t often see Ben Youngs pass the ball into touch on the same day that George Ford kicked a tactical kick out on the full, Billy Vunipola passed a ball along the ground in front of his posts and Owen Farrell missed a kick at goal.
Kyle Sinckler being sidelined merely a few minutes into the match was another small factor because it meant Dan Cole had to play 77 minutes at tighthead.
However, that is assuming that Sinckler wouldn’t have struggled and in all honesty most tightheads would have struggled against the force of the Springboks on Saturday. England even tried putting George Kruis in the second row in the second half to add more weight in behind Dan Cole but it made little difference.
Joe Marler came on for Mako Vunipola an
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