Owen Farrell I be wild about extensions, because they are unbelievable.
It may not have been England’s year at the Rugby World Cup as Eddie Jones’s side came up one hurdle short, but 2019 still proved a fairy tale for the Springboks as captain Siya Kolisi captured the imagination not just of a nation, but of the eyes of the world.
For six absorbing weeks, Japan Rugby stole the headlines as 20 nations battled it out for the right to be crowned world champions – and for the first time in a dozen years not only did New Zealand fail to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, but the final featured two sides not even named the All Blacks.
Instead, it was England and South Africa who met in a repeat of the 2007 World Cup final, and unfortunately for Owen Farrell’s side, the result followed suit.
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Despite the magnitude of Kolisi hoisting the Webb Ellis Cup into the air, 24 years after Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar created a similarly unforgettable moment, the final from an English point of view fell significantly flat.
From the euphoric high the week before in defeating the All Blacks in an astonishingly convincing fashion, England went into the final as heavy favourites, yet failed to fire off a shot as they were comprehensively out-scrummaged, out-fought and out-scored in a 32-12 defeat.
Having copped so much criticism for the way they ground out victory over Wales in the semi-final, South Africa silenced the doubters in style with a combination of brute strength and clinical execution, scoring the only two tries of the final through the devastating wings Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi.
The way England folded in Yokohama proved much more of a disappointment given how the tournament had panned out to that point. Having been given the task of reaching the semi-finals, they did so in flying colours by coasting through the pool stage and convincingly seeing off the Wallabies and All Blacks. With such a large disappointment now once again on their shoulders, the jury remains out on how Jones will regenerate the side to go again in the Six Nations in February.
One positive for England is that they will hope to face a W
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