England ready for bore war as they prepare for South Africa in final – The Sun


HIDING beneath a Houston Texans baseball cap, Eddie Jones did his best to keep the smirk from his chops.

Twenty-four hours after England’s magnificent victory over New Zealand, the coach watched as his two potential World Cup final opponents slugged out a bore-fest.

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England boss Eddie Jones is ready to take on ‘boring’ South Africa in the final

It was South Africa’s box-kicking beastie boys who prevailed in a match so attritional you expected infantrymen to start writing mournful poetry about it.

The temptation was to shout: “Give the Cup to England now and let’s go home.”

Yet Jones and his men will not be complacent. They know the Springboks are capable of boring the pants off the best of them.

If England are to lift the Webb Ellis Cup, they will have done so by defeating all four of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship nations — Argentina, Australia, the All Blacks and South Africa.

Those four were the semi-finalists in England in 2015, so Jones will have turned the rugby world upside down.

Not that his old sparring partner Warren Gatland thinks the final will be a foregone conclusion.

The Wales head coach said: “South Africa have the physicality to match England but they might have to be more expansive against them. Sometimes teams play their final in the semi-final and don’t turn up for the final.

“It will be interesting to see how England go.”

A decisive 76th-minute penalty from Handre Pollard, after Wales were pinged for collapsing a maul, booked South Africa’s place in Saturday’s showdown.

It was not the end Gatland would have wanted after a 12-year reign — during which time four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, were collected.

INJURY-HIT WALES

The Welsh were ravaged by injury — six likely starters missing and two more pulling up lame before half-time.

Skipper Alun Wyn Jones congratulated his depleted troops for “staying in an arm wrestle* for so long.

But ultimately, the Welsh came up just short in a World Cup semi-final for a third time. They have never made it all the way.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has taken the Boks back to basics and united a divided camp since taking over two years ago.

But they rely on brawn rather than brilliance. England were defeated 2-1 on their tour to South Africa last year and squeezed home by a single point at Twickenham when the teams met last autumn.

Yet they are in magnificent form, while the Springboks have rumbled into the final, gaining few neutral admirers.

It will be a repeat of the 2007 World Cup final, won by South Africa.

But England were a ragtag bunch back then, nothing like the crack unit now assembled by Jones.

Many converts captivated by rugby after England’s victory over the All Blacks would have tuned into watch this on ITV and wished they had not bothered.

This was not so much a good advert for rugby as a good advert for the adverts.

One man kicked a ball up in the air, then another man failed to catch it as if it were an egg-shaped bar of soap.

Repeat to fade. There were 81 kicks from hand in all. The first half, especially, was ugly, difficult viewing.

Wales had been desperately lucky to beat a 14-man France in their quarter-final and the red-carded Sebastien Vahaamahina must have been kicking himself watching this.

The crowd of 67,750 barely piped up, save for the half-time karaoke.

Yet in fairness, not much has gone right for the Welsh out here.

Gatland’s assistant Rob Howley was forced to go home before the tournament, under investigation for alleged betting infringements.

Then the injuries piled up with the excellent full-back Liam Williams injuring his ankle in training.

The first half was summed up most appropriately by the incident when Gareth Davies and Leigh Halfpenny collided when going for the same high ball.

And the Springboks shaded it by three Pollard penalties to two from Dan Biggar.

Tomas Francis and George North both limped off in the first half. Those Japanese fans wearing Wales shirts and waving leeks were starting to look crestfallen.

SHOWING SOME BALL

After the break, 6ft 6in Jake Ball shoved his vast beard into the face of 5ft 6in Faf de Klerk — a foot shorter — after the scrum-half had picked a fight with Gareth Davies.

Biggar levelled it but then came the one truly incisive attack South Africa could muster.

Pollard opened up Wales with a darting run and, after being stopped close to the line, Damian de Allende crashed over in the next phase, Pollard adding the extras.

Yet Wales refused to lie down and Rhys Patchell, fresh off the bench, kicked for touch.

And after a long stake-out of the Springbok line, the Welsh opted for a scrum five yards out, Williams whipped out a pass and Jonathan Davies fed Josh Adams who went over in the corner.

Halfpenny levelled up the scores from the touchline.

That was before Patchell attempted an ambitious drop-goal, which fell short and wide.

Pollard’s penalty ultimately won it and, when the Welsh were penalised in the scrum, it was all over.

“Not much of a spectacle,” said Erasmus. And he was not wrong.

ENGLAND FEELING FINE

England face a fine for encroaching on New Zealand's Haka

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England face a fine for encroaching on New Zealand’s Haka

ENGLAND are sweating on a fine after staring down the Haka.

World Rugby chiefs will decide today whether to press charges against Eddie Jones’ winners for crossing the halfway line during New Zealand’s Maori war dance.

Referee Nigel Owens appeared to order back several players, including Joe Marler and Billy Vunipola, after they stood in New Zealand’s half.

All Black Aaron Smith admitted: “I didn’t really notice what was going on. I was looking at the guy opposite me and that was Owen Farrell. He was giving me a few winks.”

Tournament rules state teams must stay behind the halfway line.

France were hit with a £2,500 fine after they got too close to the Kiwis before the 2011 World Cup final.

Owen Farrell smirks as the All Blacks performed the Haka

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Source link : https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/10224364/rugby-world-cup-england-south-africa-jones-ready/

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Publish date : 2019-10-27 22:30:00

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