Mark Orlovac

South Africa v Argentina player ratings (150)

Paris - It worked so well on Saturday we're continuing the Orlo/Dirsy blog partnership for the SA v Argentina ratings, but this time with added Fordyce!

Here are our player ratings for the Boks' semi-final win over the Pumas. I have rated South Africa and Ben and Tom are now so inseparable they have jointly rated Argentina.

Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts!

South Africa:

Percy Montgomery - Did not get into the line as much as he would have liked but continued his fine place-kicking form. Claimed 17 points and kept the scoreboard ticking over. 7

JP Pietersen - Quiet game for the Natal Sharks wing. Made the forward pass which prevented Habana claiming a hat-trick of tries. 6

Jaque Fourie - Made a crucial tackle on Mario Ledesma as Argentina threatened the line at the start of the second half. Was involved in the move for Danie Rossouw’s try. 7

Francois Steyn - Put in his fair share of tackles and his long pass helped set up Bryan Habana’s opening try. Gave away a penalty in the first half after finding himself isolated and prone to errors. 6

Bryan Habana - Pure box office. Brightened up a desperate game with a superb chip-and-chase for his first-half try. Showed great anticipation for his intercept score late on. Did his work in defence as well. 9

Butch James - Made some nice touches but often his tactical kicking lacked direction. Not his best game for the Boks. 6

Fourie Du Preez - The scrum-half got involved in the aimless kicking fest and his high kick at the start of the second half put his side in trouble. Can be forgiven as his first-half interception try got his side going. 7

Os Du Randt - The veteran prop never stopped tackling but did not have a chance to really punch any holes. Departed for running repairs before being replaced early in the second half. 6

John Smit - Played a massive role in the well-oiled line-out machine - he only missed his jumpers once. A bit of indiscipline in the first half cost his side three points. 7

CJ Van Der Linde - Put under a lot of pressure at scrum-time by the wily Argentine loose-head Rodrigo Roncero. Andrew Sheridan will have taken note. 5

Bakkies Botha - Line-out work was again solid and gave his opposite number plenty to think about. Was his usual aggressive self. 7

Victor Matfield - Made his presence felt in the contact area and jumping at the line-out was as impressive and immaculate as ever. 8

Schalk Burger - The Western Province flanker was again at the heart of South Africa’s forward efforts. Turned the ball over for Habana's first try and his pass put Rossouw over for his. 7

Juan Smith - Was a complete pain at the Argentine line-out, disrupting two throws to win possession for his side. Blotted his copybook with a sin-binning for a late high tackle - needless. 6

Danie Rossouw - Put in his fair share of tackles but was never explosive with ball in hand. Gave away a silly penalty for a push while chasing a high ball but took his try well. 7


Bismarck Du Plessis - Penalised at the scrum after coming on for Du Randt, but held up OK therafter. 5

Jannie Du Plessis, Johannes Muller, Bobby Skinstad, Ruan Pienaar, Andre Pretorius, Wynand Olivier all took to the field late on with the game already won.


Ignacio Corleto - Made an excellent break from deep inside his own half early on and put through a nice grubber later, but kicked poorly to touch and gave away too much possession too easily. 5

Luca Borges - A nice tidy-up and break to release Corleto, and a good kick ahead won a penalty in the second half. But like all his team-mates in the backs, he was too happy to kick the ball away aimlessly. 6

Manuel Contepomi - Rock solid in defence in all night and scored the Pumas’ only try, although extremely lucky to get the decision after appearing to spill the ball before touching it down. 6

Felipe Contepomi - It was his loose pass that was intercepted for the Springboks’ first try. Landed two out of four penalty attempts plus the conversion but yellow-carded late on for silly elbow. 5

Horacio Agulla - Always looked lively with the ball in hand and made several impish breaks but took the wrong option on a number of occasions. 6

Juan Martin Hernandez - Not his best match of the tournament despite showing glimpses of his class. Missed with an early drop-goal attempt, and his dropped pass gave away possession for the third South African try. Kicking from hand was not as effective as previously. 5

Agustin Pichot - Not the game the old fighter would have wanted. Two poor passes from the scrum put his side in trouble, with the second leading to a Springboks try. Attempts to get involved from the scrum and ruck stymied by the over-officious Steve Walsh. 5

Rodrigo Roncero - Solid in the scrum, giving Van der Linde plenty of problems, some typical rumbles in the loose and plenty of mongrel at the breakdown. Never takes a backward step. 7

Mario Ledesma - Showed some good bursts in the loose and battled well at the breakdown, but struggled with his delivery in the line-out. 5

Martin Scelzo - Only on the field for 34 minutes and managed to hold his own at the set-piece. Couple of charges in open play too. 6

Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe - Struggled at the line-out and often found himself on the back foot at the breakdown. 5

Patricio Albacete - Too often off the pace and, like Lobbe, struggled to get a handle on the line-out. 5

Lucas Ostiglia - Some good carries early on but was not a match for his opposite number Juan Smith at the breakdown. 5

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe - One good charge and offload from his own up-and-under among some nice touches in open play. Second best, however, at the breakdown. 6

Gonzalo Longo - Not a great game for Longo - a couple of fumbles, a missed tackle and was made to look cumbersome by opposite number Rossouw. 5


Omar Hasan - Replaced Scelzo after 34 minutes and, while holding his own at scrum-time, did little to impress otherwise. 5

Rimas Alvarez Kairelis - Seemed to add some solidity to the line-out after replacing Lobbe on 53 minutes. 6

Juan Manuel Leguizamon - A couple of good carries after replacing Ostiglia on 65 minutes but had little time to impress as the Springboks ran away with it. 6

Gonzalo Tiesi - Came on for Manuel Contepomi and guilty of the loose pass that put Habana away for his second try. 5

Mark Orlovac is a BBC Sport journalist based in London. He will be based in Paris for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:12 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Phillip wrote:

What England should really worry about is that SA stopped the Argentines cold at the ruck--thats going to be the key next weekend, who wins the breakdown. And, to be fair, England are good at the breakdown--they certainly gave the Aussies a lesson in how to do it. But theyre only good. theyre not great.

The scrum is where England have their chance--Argentina shoved SA around. target that, unsettle Du Preez, and theyll have a chance.

I was sorry to see Hernandez play so badly. hes still for me one of the best fly-halves in the world, and i think between himself and dan carter they might set a trend for fly halves who can play at more than one position--carters a very good outside centre as well.

Lets get Argentina in the 6N now--if we let the Tri-nations snaffle them (and tbh they surely belong in the 3N) then next world cup theyll be winning!

  • 2.
  • At 11:16 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Imagine this:

The IRB decide that the tournament format is wrong as S Africa have already hammered England 36-0. Fiji are awarded 2nd place as the only team to give S Africa a game.
3/4th Place play-off – England v Argentina

Then the IRB decide that the Tri-nations should be 2-Tier:
1st Division:
S Africa

2nd Division:
New Zealand

We are fortunate to have the best player in the most important position. Let’s see the difference when England play South Africa with Jonny – I reckon that his direction is worth 37 points to England every game – we can win it with Jonny. Without him we are useless – just look at the performances and scorelines without him. Please look after Jonny this week.

  • 3.
  • At 11:18 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Kate wrote:

I'm very disappointed for Argentina. It's been a tournament for the underdogs and I would have liked to see them come through to the final. Unfortunately their error count was too high.

However, we now have a chance to exact poetic justice next Saturday. Let's hope we can pull it off.

  • 4.
  • At 11:26 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • simonhill wrote:

Gifted the game by argentina's mistakes. Did anyone see anything to fear next week?. Apart from Habana, I didn't. The SA scrum was going backwards all the time, and they look quite easy to wind up. They had nothing off first phase ball which means England have to cut out any mistakes and turnovers. SA will be favourites but then weren't Australia and France?

Come on England!

  • 5.
  • At 11:36 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • kc wrote:

As a neutral i was looking forward to an entertaining game ,two brutal packs ,some impressive kickers ,some flyers on the wings and a couple of handy full backs .Poor Argentina too many errors a game too far perhaps the boks ruthless back row outstanding at the break down Matfield imperious at the line out .However it took soccer pundit john champion 18 seconds of the game to mention ENGLAND he then went on to refer to ENGLAND 9 times in the first 10 minutes .I have the utmost respect for the ENGLAND team and applaud their performance at the rwc which has been fantastic but please spare me ITV ,Will Greenwood has also been sucked in ,on the programme for his pitch side analysis his only input this evening was ENGLAND .OK I grant you all a mention but this incessant tirade does nothing for the national image ,the seige mentality Agincourt ,Dunkirk Bulldog spirit such rubbish please ITV the two teams tonight are in a world cup semi final at least respect their achievement .
PS I hope England do win after the medias treatment of the team and coaching staff .

  • 6.
  • At 11:48 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • rabbit wrote:

I watched the match on TV tonight. Argentina were playing South Africa.

All that Will Greenwood seemed to be able to talk about on commentary was England,England,England,England,
England,England,England,..................England,England,.........England,............England,...........and on and on and on and on............

His approach is typical of the kind of tunnel-visioned triumphalism and childish gloating at the expense of defeated teams that really gets up the noses of sports fans in the rest of the British Isles.

  • 7.
  • At 12:34 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • JT wrote:

The world cup has absolutely gone to pieces with the two semi-finals. We were treated to 3 glorius quarters and then we had to endure those semis.

I'm hoping South Africa beat England in
the final as it would be absolutely tragic if the most negative team in the competition won it.

  • 8.
  • At 01:00 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Larry wrote:

Not from England, but backed them to beat France, mostly because France were still black and blue from their heroic victory over NZ, and would find it impossible to maintain the same intensity a week later.
I expected Argentina to edge past South Africa, but they seemed to suffer the same fate as France, in that their performance level was way below what they had produced to date and maybe they were suffering from a very demanding progression from a very difficult group, and they don't seem to have strength in depth.
To stand a chance against SA, England will have to come up with a 'Plan C' and play out of their skins as well! But I somehow doubt if they can create enough whilst still stifling the power and speed of SA. But you never know!

  • 9.
  • At 01:04 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • England Fan wrote:

Just like to say i predicted a SA/Eng finals.Congratz for the Pumas for going so far but unfortunately,it was not enough.SA,congratz to you too for reaching the finals and england,keep up intensity cause history-making is at stake here.Do your best,and God will do the rest.:D

  • 10.
  • At 01:05 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Karl wrote:

Argentina handed the game to SA because the occasion was too much for them. The Boks will not be the team that destroyed England 36-0 4 weeks ago because England won't let that happen. England has to be sharp in the breakdown and the line out. Matfield totally decimated the Puma lineout. All other opposition has failed to do this against Argentina. Again, it seems like if Wilko is on song - and he isn't with the boot yet - then England could win. Note Percy's 100% record in goal kicking in the semi against Wilko's 20% record? This might be the difference. The other difference is the Boks take their opportunities to score tries. Granted the Pumas handed them on a plate but England should beware. The 2 intercepts aside, England would not have made the other 2 tries count on their current form. Saying that, England's pack is now peaking at 100%. The backs now need to raise their game another 15% and we - I'm English! - will win!

  • 11.
  • At 01:44 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • KC wrote:

As a 'bok' supporter let's hope that decisions like that of Tony Spreadbury, or the likes of him, are nowhere near the final. As television match official at this level of competition, such decisions are surely unacceptable. A little bit of pommie bias perhaps? Go bokke, it's all yours.

  • 12.
  • At 02:35 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Wayne wrote:

England are boring and predictable and stifle rugby. Its the only way they can play. SA will hammer them again and deservedly so. If I have to watch another tedious boring English game I will have to start watching bowls or paint drying. Go SA, no one has given you a single bit of credit in this entire world cup. Make them all eat their words.

  • 13.
  • At 02:55 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • GrafvonPlanken wrote:

It is a fact, we were plainly defeated by the Springboks but our Pumas did their best, as a friend told me, he played for the Pumas many years ago, the experience and know-how of the South Africans was a key factor in their today’s victory, no doubt they are wonderful and I love their rugby and especially the genius of Habana and Montgomery. I am convinced that our dear team must start playing in other championships so they can obtain more familiarity with international competitions. At least we did not loose like England in the first march with the South Africans in such inexcusable way. Since the beginning of the match, when they starting to sing our National Anthem, I noticed that most of the Pumas were extremely nervous and tense, this was something that operated against them, diminishing their chances. But Corleto, Contempomi, Hernandez, Pichot and others they confronted the Boks with all their strength, who had played much better were those who are playing in Europe in these days, In spite of my poor knowledge of rugby, I am convinced that they must play other international tournaments in the future, depending mainly in the rest of the nations to accept them in those cups. Our Pumas had lost the match, but we are still extremely proud of them, they are our heroes and this defeat with such powerful rival will not diminish what they had done during the World Cup. God bless them, and I believe confidently that this cup will help us to have much more rugby players in our country, and new Pumas will give us a victory in the near future, perhaps some of the same team that had played this evening. If England defeats South Africa in the final will be a real miracle, Springboks look invincible, since the first match were for me the best in this tournament, but I had always hope that they may prevail against all predictions. We are now feeling very sad but we are not downhearted, the future is from us and we will show to the rugby world what we are capable to do, which will be much better of our performance until now in France. Our glorious Pumas will be welcome back as they deserve, with all our love and admiration, regardless this defeat.

  • 14.
  • At 03:25 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • peter wrote:

Once again SA played the game to win. Was not pretty but all the same, the coaching and management did their home work. The whole world cup has been kick for territory, lets hope it changes

  • 15.
  • At 03:30 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Jeremy wrote:

Okay - after a weekend in Paris for you guys, where do those of us without tickets meet next weekend? For the last england vs. saffa game we drank near the pompidou but we now bow to your experience.

Any recommendations grately recieved and if you'd like anything bringing over - let us know...

  • 16.
  • At 04:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • bobthebuilder wrote:

i agree with whoever said about Will greenwood going on a bout England this England that. It seemed to be a challenge to him to see if he could fit mentions in at the most irrelevant times. "Yeah thats exactly how England took the ball under an up and under yesterday, I was so proud"
Enough already!!!!

  • 18.
  • At 05:24 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

The ratings reflect nothing but bias and sour grapes. Before the game everyone -except Springbok supporters warned that the Afries would give the Boks a run for their money. The fact is SA gave a reasonable side a 37-13 whipping yet get rated as average.
England squeeze a result against a very mediocre Franch side and they are banded as brilliant.
As for little Jonny being worth 37 points (laughable) against SA, does that mean he didnt perform against France and Australia?

  • 19.
  • At 06:17 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

If England had performed like SA yesterday they would have gotten all 10's. Percy gets a 7 for one of the most outstanding kicking displays of the tournament? Butch, having wrapped up the supposedly world beating Hernandez gets a 6? Juan Smith gets a 6 just for a sinbin in the final few seconds even though he was massive throughout?

Have to say there are far more ratings there that I disagree with than agree with.

  • 20.
  • At 06:24 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • guy wrote:

some bizzare ratings. Percy Montgomery kicks 100% and gets 7/10. He has yet to miss in Paris. What does he need to do to get recognition? Also involved in a tackle that spilled the ball where the try was given after a questionable TMO decision.

  • 21.
  • At 06:45 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • rich wrote:

I got the defending champions at 33/1, I could have got 40/1 after the SA match.
On what I see, England have the game in the bag.
Dominant forwards, a superior fly half (Butch is yet to kick a drop goal n international rugby), the only real danger comes from a lightweight who can intercept lame back passes.
Sin bins and goal kicks will make England the back to back WC champs.
Just laying again at 3/1 on the defending champs, bookies and bokkies be aware.

  • 22.
  • At 07:11 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Rodney wrote:

Montgomery does kick beautifully, but the Pumas tried to mke him catch a ball in contact. On the first occasion they nearly managed this, he did not look comfortable and hit the deck whist isolated and without a Puma hand on him.
A porperly directed kicking game at Percy is essential ,give him room and the ball will come back with interest. Get him caught with the ball and anything can happen.

  • 23.
  • At 07:33 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Steve E-M wrote:

According to your rating, if compared to those given to the England players, England should walk the final............I don't think so!!

  • 24.
  • At 07:34 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Irene wrote:

Argentina plays a dirty game, and I'm only to glad that they're dirty tactics didn't win them a place in the final.

  • 25.
  • At 07:38 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Eric Savage wrote:

Justice would be better served if SA win the cup because the sound of "England, World Champions" has a rather hollow sound to it. That was a fair call in 2003, but this time round the English are far from deserving of the tag "best in the world".

  • 26.
  • At 07:39 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Nathan wrote:

Before the World Cup began, i said SA would win it... the reason is that i had a pic taken with the RWC trophy while it was doing its world tour and exerted some of my energies over it. Nick Mallet, who took the pic with me probably thought i was crazy... but who's laughing now?? one game to go and SA to defeat Eng 37-0, one point better than the last

  • 27.
  • At 07:42 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

There is nothing wrong with confidency building banter but I think a little humility in the English camp and supporters would go along way. No one is taking away that coming back from a hiding in Paris 4 weeks ago is one of the greatest sporting comebacks but to show complete disrespect for your competition along the way is unforgivable. The fact is that Aus/NZ are better sides than England. England got the results when it mattered less through talent than determination. Fair dues. Determination is not something South African's lack. It should be a good final if only we had none of the Will Greenwood childish behaviour.

  • 28.
  • At 07:56 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Connor wrote:

Well played by England on Saturday night. However, I did not believe that they can win the final with just 9 players, the tight five was thorough and johnny was his usual best. But if SA is crush Johnny, they'll murder England as they do not have anyone else to create plays and win the game for them. Mike Catt is too old and broken, the clear weakness in the team, as well as his pairing with Matt Tait is far from desirable. the wings don't get enough ball and there have been no set plays by the English for running rugby. South Africa is a great team and I see them taking the game to England, keeping the English pinned in their half most of the game. let's see Johnny drop kick from there.

  • 29.
  • At 08:24 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • jim wrote:

Yes Greenwood is not a proper broadcaster is he?

I think SA will win comfortably and that St Johnny will merely kick a few penalties while SA score tries.

I thought england were exhausted fpr much of the french match, of ideas and teamwork. Maybe they will find the fire they has against Australia, maybe it's a game too far?.

  • 30.
  • At 08:40 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • craig wrote:

What a shame for Argentina! They saved the worst performance for their most difficult match. Throughout the whole competition until that match, their handling was superb! They deserved better! I feel sorry for them.

You can take 3 tries off the score easily as the intercept tries were just real gifts and not necessary. However, Montgomery seems to have mastered the ball better than the rest so we have to be careful not to give silly pens away!

It's going to be a close affair but I think we have an excellent pack and our tackling is first rate. A lot will depend on Wilko as usual but he's upto it!

C'mon England!

  • 31.
  • At 08:49 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Les Marshall wrote:

England are set to be hoisted on their own petard, they have had a wonderful surge of wins on their way to the final, lucky in many ways that the teams they beat on the day they have not beaten for many days and probably wont for many more – The saddest part of the English win on the weekend is the blatant stupidity of the hype makers. The English commentators including especially one-eyed Will Greenwood ares setting themselves up to suffer the trauma of losing in the final – and loose they will..
Wilkinson is magic, when given space – the bokke will shut him down like a Zimbabwean shop, he also has a “glass jaw” – he gets up heavily afer hard tackles and is visibly shaken for minutes after that – bring on Butch James and Jonny in for night from Hades.
My late dad once told me that the best lesson he could teach me was never to believe my own lies, unfortunately England are already scribbling their name a trophy they have not won yet – prepare for a national week of mourning – prepare for a million excuses and a jillion praises for mediocrity – prepare to listen to Monday morning jibes about the ref, the touch judges, the sun – the moon – the stars – but mostly prepare for the next four years – without the trophy..

  • 32.
  • At 08:53 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • tomthepom wrote:

Argentina most definitely failed Sir Clive's 'T-CUP' (thinking clearly under pressure) test. I don't feel that sorry for them however, they have arrived on the world stage now. Also they are quite a complaining, dirty bunch - at least two SA tries featured cheap shots after the ball was grounded - refs should punish this with a penalty at the restart (probably 3 points the way Steyn kicks!)

  • 33.
  • At 09:18 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • colin yates wrote:

Congratulations to John Smit on his magnificant diplomacy last night in the face of some outrageously insensitive pitchside questioning by ITVs Gabriel 'whetever-his name-is' and for having the self-restraint not to punch him on the nose. On the back of his superb team reaching the final of the RWC, why should he be asked to answer questions on the turn-around in Englands fortunes? He is the Captain of S.Africa and they have just won a world-cup semi-final...! He is NOT the captain of England! I don't recall dear old Gabriel questioning Phil Vickery at pitchside about the fortunes of Argentina or S.Africa moments after Englands semi-final victory in Paris...??
As an Englishman, I will obviously be praying and cheering for our boys on Saturday evening but I fear that they will need something a little bit extra if they are to tame the Boks - who I backed to win the tournament before the start. And anyone who considers Percy Montgomerys masterful kicking display (from hand and ground!) last night to be worthy of only a 7 in your playes ratings is clearly either watching the wrong game or not qualified to judge...!
Come on England - there are times in life when blood, guts and courage alone are worthy of praise, respect and glory!

  • 34.
  • At 09:24 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Toddie wrote:

South Africa are undoubtedly the best side at the RWC. However, all this stuff about them playing entertaining rugby is nonsense. They play an excellent containing game and capitalise ruthlessly on any mistake by their opponents. England will try to pulverise them and then the Boks will pounce.
I have read too much rubbish about who 'deserves' to win the RWC. Whoever lifts the trophy next week deserves it and has it by right. Let's keep rugby's values alive and remain magmanimous in victory and defeat and celebrate a competitive and intriguing tournament.

  • 35.
  • At 09:29 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Andrea fuccilio wrote:

i thought some penaltys against argentina were harsh, the boks are very good in the line out ,in the close quarter were argentina were matched by the boks it was good soild forward play, can the england forwards match the boks , no ,the scrum in the front i can see mark regan and co winning alot of ball , the talk is all ways habana , but if england give away as easter did against france ,cheap penalties ,montgomery will kick them , it will be a tight game to start but i think on strength and total team and the bench players , south africa by 3-6 .

  • 36.
  • At 09:38 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Surely if England win it will be the worst team ever to win the world cup. It would be better for the continued growth of the sport if S.A win as at least they have flair and players who inspire (Habana)

  • 37.
  • At 09:42 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • DJ wrote:

The thing about Greenwood is that he's been there in the England team and been exposed to all the anti-English stuff for donkeys. It's not surprising he gives it back when he has the chance, he's bound to be a bit embittered from that long suffering the brunt of it. Although I'm English, I personally found the repeated references to England a bit waring after the first 10 times as well - I'm as proud as any Englishman at our unlikely repeated feats of guts and nerve but this was another game entirely between 2 equally as proud nations. You've only to scratch around the media outlets and particularly the fan blogs (or Setanta) to see what a bashing we're getting for what is essentially the crime of being English and in the Final dressed up as 'not being pretty rugby', so perhaps he thought he was redressing the balance a bit. No one jingoistic jibe justifies another however but it seems to for some people and around and around it goes sucking in ever more people until it gets ugly. Seems particularly acute when England are in town.

Can't we just learn to get along? Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now. Although not the welsh obviously haha.

  • 45.
  • At 10:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Riccy82 wrote:

Connor you are forgetting what England's major strength was on Saturday night - defence. Defence is half of the game (and in England's case on Saturday 70% of the game), and people (especially the southern hemisphere chokers) always seem to forget this.
The English line never ever once looked like letting the french through, and the french were attacking magnificently. England showed on Saturday that it is not necessary to have lots of "people to create plays for them" in order to win
And besides I think your opinion is wrong. Who created Josh's try? Andy GGomorsall that's who. Who made a number of cracking breaks? Jason Robinson, Mathew Tait. Who nearly scored a scrummage pushover try? The England pack. France are a tough team. I believe against the mistake ridden Argie side of last night England would have converted these opportunities.

England have played very well tactically in the last few games. It is all about coming up with the right game plan against the opposition. Should England have chucked it around against France? No because that isn't winning rugby against a side with the likes of Yannick looking for the opportunity. It's like poker. To win rugby you must play the team across from you, not the cards you are given. Playing Fiji and Tonga? They chuck the ball around and have holes galore in defence so there's plenty of opportunity to have a crack with ball in hand.

SA are yet to face a tough northern hemisphere side who play in this way (the England of 5 weeks ago were a different team). Their half of the draw was a MUCH easier route to the final.

If any of you Saffers think that Habanna is going to run in tries galore think again. He will be shut down. You will be pressure kicked. You will be given the ball then made to suffer physically when you are rucked by our outstanding tight five.

Johnny has little to do with England's renaissance (outstanding defence and talismanic quality aside). People are deluded if they think he has. He missed 3(?) straightforward kicks on Saturday. It was England's tight five, lineout, scrum, OUTSTANDING defence, and tactical kicking that won them the game.

And if anyone thought it was a tedious clearly lack the knowledge and passion for what the game of rugby UNION is all about. Go and watch some rugby league and stay there.

Your arrogance will defeat you SA. Wait and see.

  • 46.
  • At 10:18 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Peter singleton wrote:

Post 31: A point of information, its all about game of rugby not an excuse to vent your dislike of other nations.....SA do have a great side, hard, well organised and fast. However in England they will find a bunch of players more than willing to stand up to them in every dept. As for Wilkinson his defensive tackling has been outstanding in every game he played. Far from having a glass jaw he punches above his weight in the contact area (to continue the pugilistic metaphor). You can say what you like, we will see come Saturday....

  • 47.
  • At 10:22 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • STON wrote:

interesting to see such negative sentiment against england.
i am not english but have impressed with the english team spirit and belief (look at Ireland in contrast..) English rugby has taken a slating in the media over the past 4 years. The 2007 team has been treated very differently in the media to the 2003 team. If England lose on Sat. the team will still be feted whatever happens. Post 31 could not be more wrong about a "million excuses" if England lose - utter rubbish...

  • 48.
  • At 10:22 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ed Hobbs wrote:

On the Argentinian try last night. I don’t believe he grounded it correctly but it should have been a penalty try anyway for the high tackle that led to him losing control of the ball so overall a correct decision.

  • 49.
  • At 10:31 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Jules wrote:

Argentina made the mistake of trying to play too much rugby in such a high-stakes game. SA just sat back and waited for the mistakes to come - which is all they've done in the whole tournament apart from the last 1/4 against Fiji.

They are very negative but it's effective. England however also tried to play rugby against them in the group stages and paid the price - we won't make the same mistake twice. Saturday's final will be a nail-biting war of attrition with SA kicking to the corners and trying to avoid too many scrums and England trying to keep possession without being too adventurous to avoid too many mistakes, turnovers & line-outs.

Jonny had better bring his good boots because it will be decided by the kickers and Perce is the man on form.

Feel very sorry for the Argies, they tried to play rugby last night but their game plan was very naive. SA were laughing at them at the end. England don't often have much neutral support, but SA completely alienated themselves from the neatrals by their arrogance last night - Stade de France will resemble Twickenham next week and SA won't have everything their own way...

  • 50.
  • At 10:41 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • past it fullback wrote:

The writer of post 27 again seems to think that it is OK for everyone else to insult the England team and the English nation, but if we English stand up for ourselves and dish a bit back, then we are being arrogant. We never under-estimate an opponent and we congratulate them in defeat or victory. Those who fail to recognize that Will Greenwood was just having a laugh (and I agree that he should concentrate more on the game actually being played at the time)should go and acquire a sense of humour, assuming they are available in the SH!

  • 51.
  • At 10:42 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • rojo wrote:

Just wanna throw something out there...
Okay, Argentina are a decent side. But the hype surrounding them is way OTT. What have they done in what has been a highly disappointing world cup? They bet an off-form irish side, a poor and cowardly scottish team and a nervy french team (on the opening night). What the...? What's good about that? The minute they come up against a southern hemisphere team, they're thrashed, and btw, that S.A team were pretty nervy out there and played nowhere near their best.
I'm sorry but i'm not impressed at all. They're a one dimensional team and it took S.A to highlight their ineptness. Australia, NZ, SA, France (on a better night), England (on form) and ireland (without the munster/leinster bitchiness) would all wallop Argentina. They're just one of these really annoying teams that got a lucky run of matches. They just kick garyowens all day and it's boring, samey and crap. I can't believe how people have been brainwashed into thinking this team are good. maybe 4 good players who do the same thing all the time.
Argentina??? Bah!

Also, last night, was Greenwood commentating on Arg v SA or Eng v France? What a donkey...

SA to win the WC.

  • 52.
  • At 10:45 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • sidder wrote:

Riccy82: "Your arrogance will defeat you SA."
Interesting... I think arrogance is OUR problem, not the saffas problem. Lets wait and see, I think SA will take the win. But lets hope Riccy82 knows what he is talking about because then it will be an easy victory!

  • 53.
  • At 10:45 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

What a world cup. Everything we thought was going to happen never happened. The Boks to me have had an easy ride to the final. NZ and AUS out big surprise... France beats NZ then losses to England what the.... White has the Boks firing on all pistons. But the strength and drive of the Poms is amazing the forwards have been committed all the way if the boks don't get through and score tries its going to be England all the way. Habanna give him an inch and its all over rover. Its going to be an awsome game.

  • 54.
  • At 10:48 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BlueTozzy wrote:

Watched the Boks against Argentina and anyone who gives England a chance against them has got to take a reality check.I felt sorry in the end for Argentina coz they were simply bashed in and in the end the errors were all a result of the Boks' tenacity on and off the ball. So lets get that point right- the errors were the result of something not the cause of their demise. Look, that wasn't the best or most menacing I've seen SA thus far but they still won convincingly. Contrast with England who are said to have inproved greatly and yet their best produced 14 points in their semi. Or look at this- the highest number of tries England's scored (4 agaisnt Samoa) happens to be the lowest the Boks have scored (against Tonga and playing the weaker line up).
So, unless the Boks do something unimaginable and lose their heads totally... this final's just going to be another massacre...
Go Bokkie go make Africa proud!

  • 55.
  • At 10:49 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Riccy 82

You have some interesting comments, and you are right in that the England of 5 weeks ago are different from Saturday nights! The difference is Johnny was on the field. On the team play well, not on the pitch the Rugby School 1st XV could do better.

As I assume that you are English, how you can say to South Africa that their arrogance will defeat them, is interesting. I would say it is a case of pot calling kettle.

  • 56.
  • At 10:51 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Gavin wrote:

I thought that I was the only one who was appalled by Will Greenwood's childish behaviour over the weekend. ITV should take note of people's views.

I agree with a previous writer that no-one "deserves" to win the WC. It is the team on the day that plays the best, nerveless rugby, exploits their opponents weaknesses and score points when they are on offer.

I would also like to say that I think Alain Rolland is a very deserving choice of referee for the final. He is fair and calm, and has done incredibly well over the past few years...

  • 57.
  • At 10:56 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Jamie wrote:

England must be feeling pretty sick right now. Loads of careers rest on this one game. If they lose, it'll be 'Same Old England; couldn't catch anything, rubbish tackles blah blah' if England win it'll be national mania. I may be English but I'm not supporting anyone in the final!

  • 58.
  • At 10:57 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Tjirajiza B Kaumbungu wrote:

DE Springbokken is best team at the recent RWC in france keep it de boks.
The England team must be careful.

  • 59.
  • At 11:15 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • albert gitonga wrote:

Yes it is disappointing isn't it England in the final with as much of a chance as SA of winning. Surely there can be no team as boring as the world champs, they have not done anything apart from lose all meaningful matches. That they now JW back in the team and are into the final just means they are a very limited team.I hope SA give them a right pounding and send half of them into retirement.

  • 60.
  • At 11:19 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Freedom Aluteni wrote:

This final is just too hard to predict, it all depends on what happens on the night to state the obvious. The English seem quite confident they will dominate the breakdown but they didn't face Schalk Burger in the pool stages match. Yet the momentum definitely appears to be on their side. Hopefully we'll see a few tries.

  • 61.
  • At 11:23 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Tankard wrote:

Whatever Riccy82 is on – can I please have some… It seems to make the lame walk, the blind see and even raise the dead!!

As an outsider if I must make a call on the arrogance factor – after listening to the commentary last night as well as the last few games then SA are rank amateurs.. England and their half blind commentators lead the pack.

Let’s also remember that what England did against France is what they did against France, SA are a horse of a different colour. Habana will run in the tries that are there to run in, SA does not base its game plan on Habana as much what England bases theirs on Wilkinson, despite what you say.

SA have been very, very quiet during this world cup, unlike England that have yammered and yapped their way through every game and I would be very, very wary if I was England or vaguely English. Look at the respect that SA demonstrated in the Argentina game, no hype, no nonsense yapping commentators, no hordes of fans, no extrinsic and overwhelming support, just simple intrinsic self belief and methodical delivery, un-phased single mindedness and a rugby brain between each and every set of cauliflowered ears – the arrogance tag does not belong to SA but to England.

England rides the crest of an emotional tide, partially deserved and partially created by the media and the arrogance of being the recipients of the luckiest breaks in rugby world cup history. SA quietly goes about their business of knocking over the opposition one game at a time. I am not a gambling man but for the final I would place substantial amounts on the South Africans, they are seemingly not rattled by the English bullsh*t.

As for facing tough Northern hemisphere sides – well they beat the English pretenders 36-0, took out the Argentineans, who beat the French, so once more Riccy82 – please fax me a copy of your prescription!!

Please go back to the original SA-England game and review, as much as your one eyed, biased and blinded contention will allow you to see, remember the look of a bloodied and broken Jason Robinson especially, but the entire English team in general and the most demeaning and complete defeat in all of RWC history – then remember who did this to you!!!!!!!!!!

Rethink the entire thing Riccy82, and maybe go a little easy on the recreational pharmaceuticals, a large dose of reality may help to stem the huge disappointment waiting for you. Expect every Frenchman with a ticket to the final to pitch up wearing a green jersey and knowing the words to the SA anthem – despite its three language lyrics. Then know why the whole world outside of England, especially including Ireland, Scotland and Wales will also wear green!!!!!

  • 62.
  • At 11:24 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Trevor Roberts wrote:

Riccy82 your comment about SA arrogance is just the sad type of banter that gives England a bad name. Listen to Francois Pienaar who never has a bad word to say about anyone. Compare him to your Will Greenwood! As a South African now living in France I think, if anything, Francois is often too generous in his praise of opposing sides. But rather that than constantly telling everyone how great his country is compared to others. The world cup is all about rugby and enjoying the sport. What a pity when some use it as an opportunity to put everyone else down. The most respected people throughout this competition have been those who have performed on the field. The passion of the South Africans, the Fijians, the Tongans, the Argentinians, the Samoans, the USA, the Italians, the Romanians, the Portuguese, the Georgians - has enriched the game without all of the verbal abuse that some people thinks is the way to make a point. Shame on you. Rugby is game where friends are made and memories made between supporters and players of different teams. There is no need for comments like yours which only serve to antagonise. Why not just enjoy the sport and give credit where it's due? As supporters we all experience dissappointments when we expect more from our team (poor, poor Kiwis!) - but there is no call to put others down off the field.
Look forward to the final and enjoy it - but don't point to the arrogance of other nations when it just pours through the commentaries like it did last night. Be proud of your side, proud of your country, (and rightly so) but don't feel you have to express that pride by remarks so distasteful.

  • 63.
  • At 11:29 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

Boks boks boks yes good team but they did not get to play NZ or Oz's. Boks be careful the Poms play different game up there in the Northern hemisphere. We have had to go back home and lick our wounds down under. Keeps us proud Boks and lets keep the strenth of rugby in the south were it belongs.

  • 64.
  • At 11:32 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Trevor Roberts wrote:

What's all this about South Africa having an easy road to the final? England were in the same group and had the same opportunities! South Africa had to earn their "easy road" by remaining undefeated. If that's so easy, England would have done it too. Come on, guys - give credit where it's due! Oh yes, one last thing - do you still think it's easy for South Africa come Saturday? We meet England, the most improved side in terms of morale and self-belief. Stop saying it's easy! Nothing is easy in RWC 2007.

  • 65.
  • At 11:36 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • jon anderson wrote:

when you get through to the semis of a world cup fial and beyond the game doesn't matter, its winning. If you want entertainment, take a holiday in New Zealand

  • 66.
  • At 11:45 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Brett wrote:

"Gingerly clambers onto ricketty soap-box"

South Africa had the easier route to the final - yes that is true, but if England had turned up to the game on 14th September, and beat South Africa then they would have had the easier route.

In the end the result would have probably been the same, except South Africa, would have possibly scored tries against Australia and more than one against France, and won with larger margins than two or five points.

England have done a brilliant job in turning themselves around and working/playing really hard rugby, albeit ugly. They won games when it mattered and good on them.

ITVs commentating last night was utter drivel. Anyone tuning in last night could be forgiven for thinking they were tuning into the 3rd/4th place play-off with England actually having won the final the night before. Veiwing the second half with the television muted made for a far better game. I really wish that the BBC had the coverage.

South Africa are the only team in the world cup to have scored 30 or more points in every game and the most they have conceeded is 25, with that said I think they have been the most consistent and also the most under rated team in this World Cup. To face three South Pacific teams, physical England and Argentina sides and still come through with minimal injuries and scores to match is testament to both their physical and mental toughness.

It will not be an easy victory, but rather a deserved one, South Africa to win.

"humbly step off his soap-box"

  • 67.
  • At 11:47 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

I think England have done great to get to the final. SA have done equally well, although it was more "expected".

I am looking forward to a hell of a game - sloppy and scrappy may it be - but you won't beat the entertainment value. At least not if you're from England or SA!

  • 68.
  • At 11:50 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Leweegi wrote:

Read a lot of the comments and have to say that England have done well to get to the final after the horrible first game. We seem to have gone back a few years and resorted to 10 man rugby, which appears to be our strength at the moment. JW has obviously made a difference but then so has Andy Gomersall. The worrying thing for the final is that we need to be able to create something from the backs and at the momment we have a job to cut through butter never mind the saffers defence. Apart from some individual brilliance from Robbo or even JW can't really see us creating anything that will threaten them, UNLESS Farrell plays and shows self-belief and remembers that he has or had quality in his earlier life.Watching last nights match the saffers have an arrogance about them that all successful sides need and because of that I think they will win, but here's hoping for a good, entertaing, even match and that we don't get another drubbing and selfishly another JW(or anyone else) drop goal for victory in the last minute

  • 69.
  • At 11:57 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

#6 "Rabbit" Oh dear, oh dear you Celts really are a small minded lot! Did it occur to you for one second that for once us English, after a truly woeful 4 years, now have something to gloat about!! Bring on the Boks, having got as far as the final it almost doesn't matter whether we win or lose anyway!!!

  • 70.
  • At 11:59 AM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

The British have done an awesome job to get to the final. Their first game against the Boks was a shocker. I thought that was the end of them. But no they have come back and they are in the final. It’s done a full circle. Good luck to both teams.

  • 71.
  • At 12:11 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

SA are yet to face a tough northern hemisphere side who play in this way (the England of 5 weeks ago were a different team)

It is the same team and that will be seen on Saturday. the only difference now is the media is manipulating its poplace - again.

Little like herding sheep.

  • 72.
  • At 12:14 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

I could have sworn that there was another player ratings thread which involved England, were they secretly playing in this match aswell?

  • 73.
  • At 12:23 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Alan Smart wrote:

As ascot can I say, much as I tried, Will Greenwood made it difficult to support England on saturday and near impossible on sunday. But it was not just Will - the entire ITV production assumed the onlt thing imprtant about sundays game was who got to play England.

Argentina, I take my hat off to them. They gambled, had a real go against a technically superior side but made too many simple mistakes to pull it off. But in most repects they matched SA, who when the chips were down had more class, a cutting edge.

The final? South Africa no probs, though for the next six days we will have to live with a UK media that sets aside two facts: Played 4 won 0. Last match 36-0.

Go Habana!

  • 74.
  • At 12:26 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BW wrote:

Poster 37-you have the audacity to complain about people who criticise the english,then with your very next scentence, have a pop at the welsh?
Kind of answers your question about why there is so much critisism of, and bad feeling toward,the English I think.
To be fair the English team have done very well to get as far as they have, but I feel that the springbocks have a much more rounded game,and England's lack of a good center pairing will cost them dear.

Wilkinson is human like us all,and if the springbocks can turn the english pack, he will become anonymous,pretty much like the rest of the England backs

  • 75.
  • At 12:26 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BlueinEngland wrote:

Poster 69: celebrate, enjoy yourselves, but why gloat? Passion and pride are fantastic, gloating is ugly. And I see you've ignored the many Celts, myself included, who have congratulated England and hope they do well next week. A little balance, please!

Good to see the boks players gets such low ratings that means when they play England in the final and play to potential they will wash away England!

  • 77.
  • At 12:31 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Adamski wrote:

Post 51.

Utter nonsense! so how exactly did they reach their world ranking position prior to the world cup? they must have been on a "lucky run" for a hell of a long time. wind it in muppet!

Argentina are an excellent team and have been a credit to this world cup. It's just a shame that last night seemed to be one game too far and that unforced errors early on left them chasing the game from the 10 minute mark - it could have been oh so different.

Well done the Boks, but you'll need to assert yourselves more forcefully on Saturday ... it should be a comfortable win though.

  • 78.
  • At 12:32 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Bradders wrote:

"The fact is that Aus/NZ are better sides than England"

Do you actually understand the meaning of the word fact? Best side is a subjective term. Meaning that it cannot ever be regarded as fact. The best sides (it would be argued by most) win when it matters. Something neither Aus or NZ has done in this world cup.

  • 79.
  • At 12:34 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BlueinEngland wrote:

Poster 69: celebrate, enjoy yourselves, but why gloat? Passion and pride are fantastic, gloating is ugly. And I see you've ignored the many Celts, myself included, who have congratulated England and hope they do well next week. A little balance, please!

  • 80.
  • At 12:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • John wrote:

The Boks sounded a warning bell when they took apart a very physical Scotland pack at Murrayfield during the warm ups, and they showed against Argentina that as far as packs go they're the best, and all international games are won up front.
I still think England can beat them though - Sheridan is like Os du Randt was 12 years ago, and Moody has added a bit of madness in the back row. If they don't make mistakes and are in it with 10 to go Wilko will drop a goal or get a penalty and they'll sit on them.

  • 81.
  • At 12:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • James Bird wrote:

I don't understand this, why are people saying England are being cocky and think we've got our name on the trophy already? What utter rubbish! Nearly everyone I've spoken to thinks SA are a much more skilled team and will probably win! We've been the underdogs the whole tournament, and now that we fought our way to scrape through against 2 of the best Rugby nations, everyone thinks we're being cocky again. I know England aren't a very popular country but for gods sake grow up! Stop trying to make us all look like clueless idiots, we have as much respect for other teams as anyone.

I agree the commentating was very silly, but does that mean every Englishman is now an idiot too? It's pathetic and I hate how this unjustified hatred for England pops up in every sport. It's like because we invented it nobody likes us or something!! Haha

Unlucky Argentina, you showed what world competitions are about lads. Well done to SA by the way, I'm very much looking forward to playing you again. Our team is now a bit more complete and tactics will be different, so don't think you've got it in the bag just yet, our boys will fight till the end (unlike the Aussies :D)

As a Saffa, congrats to englabnd for turning it around. But I do hope with all my heart we win it, as it will mean so much to out country. Things are not going well.

Do it for Africa boys!

  • 83.
  • At 12:42 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • David Lourenco wrote:

South Africa will win this one.

Im south African living in englad & rugby is not a watched and loved sport like it is in south africa.
With Habana and JP there doing what they do best and our pack there to support the cup is ours again.


  • 84.
  • At 12:54 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Donna wrote:

Thank God I wasn't the only English viewer embarrassed by the one-eyed jingoism of the ITV crew last night; Martin Johnson deserves credit for not going as OTT as the rest, and Francois Pienaar deserves even more for putting up with it. Though I would love to see my country win next weekend, I dread the thought of another 4 years of that sort of broadcasting!

  • 85.
  • At 12:57 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Fraslina wrote:

Compared with the biased English commentators on Sunday night, the views of gentleman Francois Pienaar in the studio were balanced and sensible. please please please bring back people who can talk meaningfully about the game - the great Bill McLaren comes to mind - without getting caught up in their own personal prejudices. Greenwood and company were an embarrassment to ITV and the rest of the UK.

For an English game, there should be a Scots/ Irish /Welsh commentator and vice versa.

Come on the boks !

  • 86.
  • At 12:59 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • James Bird wrote:

"Your arrogance will defeat you SA."

"Interesting... I think arrogance is OUR problem, not the saffas problem."

Since when? Other countries hate us because our media makes us look like an arrogant bunch of idiots, and they can't see that the English public aren't all like the writers of the Sun. And now even our own fans think we're arrogant!

I tell you what, go to Australia and have a chat with a few Aussies about Rugby. And THEN come back and say we're arrogant! They always go on about how much better they are than us at everything, whilst we will happily admit it(probably because Rugby and Cricket is a hundreth of the sport football is here so we don't care as much).

And even though we dumped them out of the WC twice (once in the final on their turf) they will STILL say how much better they are and we will still admit it!

Now tell me people, what is the bloody definition of arrogance?! haha

  • 87.
  • At 01:06 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

"As an outsider if I must make a call on the arrogance factor – after listening to the commentary last night as well as the last few games then SA are rank amateurs.. England and their half blind commentators lead the pack."

Oh yeah I forgot that commentator represents the personality of EVERY Englishman! How silly of me!

Ok well if you guys are going to tar us all with a brush you conveniently selected then I will as well. I think all the Aussies are like O Neil, and irrationally hate all the English in any sport irrespectively.

Errrm, I think all people from Tonga are like that rugby player who attacked an English fan.

For goodness sake people, some of you are so narrow minded. Come to England and have a chat with some ACTUAL rugby fans and you will see they are far from arrogant. I HATE all of this England slating when I bet half of you have never even been here have you? GROW UP and open your mind!!!!!

  • 88.
  • At 01:11 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Justtim wrote:

I'm English and would like to apologise for some of my fellow countrymen who have adopted this arrogant attitude, I am fully up for England to win but everyone seems to be getting ahead of themselves. The facts are on paper SA have the better teams as Aus and Fra did England just played clever cup knockout stage rugby when it mattered, we should go into the final as we did into the others not gloating just hoping for another performance with 100% commitment.
So lets leave the arrogance to others think how much people were annoyed before the Australia game by the comments made by the Australian players and managment lets not fall into that category, the English players are not falling into it they all seem down to earth and honest as fans lets behave the same.

  • 89.
  • At 01:25 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Tom Emmet wrote:

Seems like nobody read the question nor can be bothered to deal with the topic at hand. The BBC should remove ALL these posts for being irrelevant and rambling thoughts

  • 90.
  • At 01:25 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Thisen Naidoo wrote:

Everything is set up for a great final in Paris.The players, the supporters, a spectacular stadium and....the commentators?Yeah right, the commentating is going to be a nightmare to listen to, if the South Africa v Argentina semi was any barometerto judge by.I hope Mr Greenwood can control himself and not make a complete Micky of himself.
Other than that should be a cracker!

  • 91.
  • At 01:25 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • James Bird wrote:

I think it's a bit harsh to say England won their games because France and Australia aren't at their best. Is it not possible that Englands tactics actually effect the way the opposition play? We fight for it, we're strong at the front and tackle well at the back. These attributes have limited teams like Oz and France who have excellent back lines. France recently beat NZ for crying out loud! Yeah they have been battered from that game but no more than England were after Australia!

SA is a completely different prospect. They are an extremely formidable team in all areas as opposed to England who are extremely strong in only 2 or 3 areas. Although I would've almost certainly favoured SA to win this if I knew it was coming a few weeks ago, I've witnessed our lads prove something different in Rugby.

I can't wait, and hope it is a great game of mixed tactics and intensity. Good luck to both teams, but England all the way! Come on boys!!

  • 92.
  • At 01:33 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • rhys wrote:

I am a welshman who likes running decent rugby - the way it should be played - but I will be supporting England on saturday and hope they grind down SA in the most boring of games. - Only then can we rethink how rugby should develop - taking off no. 8s is a start - we need to advantage the athletic fast rugby player rather than the beef mountains - Wales may then stand a chance!!

  • 93.
  • At 01:33 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

"The British have done an awesome job to get to the final. Their first game against the Boks was a shocker. I thought that was the end of them. But no they have come back and they are in the final. It’s done a full circle. Good luck to both teams."

The British are in the final?.....oh my, id better dust off my Lions shirt and get over to Paris!

  • 94.
  • At 01:42 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • justtim wrote:

Just before I get a barrage of abuse for my last post, I must make a point that as others have stated on the whole we English are not arrogant fans, I play for a club which has four teams and every man thinks as I do, no one is being arrogant obviously revelling in being at the final but showing respect for a good SA team. It just seems like a few of the comments on here are written by people listening to the commentators and the media to much, but as a said above and as poster 87 said come speak to the real fans and you'll see the true feelings of the English.

  • 95.
  • At 01:47 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Moray Stewart wrote:

Finally!! People are starting to understand why Scotland never back England in sporting tournements!! Will Greenwood was a disgrace last night while trying to watch the South African team give a teaching on how rugby should be played! Hope the South Africans can win it and nil England again. The BBC are biased but have some respect for the Celtic Nations and try to tone it down. Why can't the BBC buy the contract to show the World Cup? At least there wouldn't be so many adverts! Also what happened to the Bill McLaren school of commentary when he remained impartial no matter what Scotland's result would be??

  • 96.
  • At 01:51 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Paul B wrote:

Regardless of the SA-Argentina result last night, did anyone else think that Ref Steve Walsh had a shocker? I don't know how any Kiwi's can continue to winge about Wayne Barnes, when they have Mr Walsh on their refereeing panel.
At one point when SA were attacking he called for a penalty against Argentina, allowed play to continue, clearly shouted advantage over, then when the attack broke down called the penalty again and took the two teams back to the scene of the original penalty for SA to have another go!
On Habana's first try, Argentina were robbed of possession by Burger who was clearly on the wrong side at a maul. The ball was passed along the line and Habana scored. The offside went totally un-noticed by Mr Walsh.
I am not saying Argentina would have won, but a better referee would have evened up the game a bit.

  • 97.
  • At 01:59 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BartonAlan wrote:

There's a lot of complacency going on above bearing in mind the result at the group stages. Australia and France did not play particularly well against England, partly down to the great lumbering mass which comprises the England forwards stifling the game. When are we going to see some rugby?

  • 98.
  • At 02:02 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • go boks wrote:

If being arrogant(agressively assertive or presumptuous) in an international sporting side is expecting to win every game, then bring it on! How can England teams and supporters in any code of sport take the attitude that anything less than winning is acceptable. Go boks,go!!!!!

  • 99.
  • At 02:12 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Adamski wrote:


Steve Walsh is well known to be somewhat erratic shall we say - and given his track record for controversy I really don't think he should have been allowed to ref a world cup semi.

Last night there were some dodgy calls but on the whole I don't think you could argue at all that he showed any kind of bias. To be fair he picked up on some difficult things and actually made some good calls. There were some howlers too though.

How TS gave that score is just beyond me! shouldn't have had an englishman involved either ....

But re: your comment on Habana's first score - I'm afraid that is complete rubbish - Burger's play was totally legal it was a tackle situation - no ruck or maul was formed, all players were standing on their feet, bacondouble just ripped the ball of him - perfect display of openside play. The result of that move shows why SA can be extremely dangerous as no-one can live with them on the counter.

  • 100.
  • At 02:17 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BigJW wrote:

I have to say perhaps the arrogance that people talk about comes directly from the bias that is ITVs world cup coverage. From game 1 it was all about England, visits to the camp etc, every programme started with a report on England, even when the other home nations were still in the tournament, they were barely mentioned. England played Saturday, and deservedly won, however that game was over, it had been on the news, highlights had been why did the programme that was showing the other semi final (which only had 15 mins prior to kick off) have to mention the previous nights game in the depth it did? Do ITV think they only broadcast to England? Martin Johnson had more time to speak about England's game the Francios Pienaar had to talk about the game that was about to be played. As for the match commentary, others on this blog have spoken about it, I have rarely been angrier watching a rugby game..It was outragous, there have been people on here trying to defend Greenwood..he is indefensible and ought to lose his job. I don't care if he has had years of anti England abuse, of was 'only having a laugh'...he was employed (and paid) to comment on a game unfolding before him, yet all he spoke about was England...even making a joke about teams no longer in the cup. Mr Greenwood your bias is not needed as a supposedly professional commentator. I understand your delight that your team are playing so well, I undestand your love of your country...but you are not being paid to be a fan, you are being paid to comment on a game, it was as if you were not even watching the game that was taking place on the field. However what outraged me most was the sheer stupidity of asking the winning captain about England, what on earth for? I am surprised they didn't ask him to state that England were a better team than South Africa, and to compare Smit's team's performance to Englands as Greenwood constantly did. An on these blogs 'they were only interception tries'....I have no doubt had Robinson intercepted it it would have because of his great vision.

So forgive us for assuming the English are arrogant and self obsessed, their TV coverage certainly potrays that. I only hope that ITV do not get the contract for the 2011 cup, their coverage has been poor, last nights was nothing short of disgraceful. If I were Bill McLaren I would want the adverts containg my words and accent to be taken off air, I would be ashamed to be associated with such bias.

Please note I havn't mentioned the English team or English supporters in general castigating me on my opinion on ITV's coverage.

  • 101.
  • At 02:23 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

But this is what I don't understand, it's like only people from England are arrogant even though we never expected to get this far, were underdogs the whole tournament and still expect SA to beat us. How is that arrogant?!

Sorry for my ramblings people, I just get really irritated when people from different nations tar us all with this brush because a comentator from this country was being a bit of an idiot. We are a patriotic country, just like Oz and SA, but we aren't arrogant when it comes to Rugby. Maybe football :), but that's because we SHOULD be amongst the best with all of the history, academies, money, the premiership. But we simply aren't, and our attitude towards kinda reflects onto other things.

  • 102.
  • At 02:25 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Dan k wrote:

Up until the qtr finals this had been an excellent world cup, with some teams playing attractive rugby, however the games now seam to be decided by the team that has the best kicking game or by the team who makes the fewest mistakes. In 2003 the england team were number 1, but I feel this time around England seam to be realying on the other teams to make mistakes and to throw the game away. Their Semi against France was one of the poorest of the WC and although Wilkinson kicked well towards the end I think his overall game has not been good. England have got this far through the displays of the front 5, but once again the media are turning it into the Wilkinson show. His passing has been poor and his kicking has been average, what he does give the team though is beleif but unfortunatly that is not going to be enough against the springboks. I hope that there is going to be a massive anti climax for Will Greenwood and the whole of ITV because even though I could never bring myself to support England their coverage has alienated the rest of the UK and there will be more people in Wales, Ireland and Scotland cheering on SA than there will be cheering on England.

  • 103.
  • At 02:26 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • James Bird wrote:

"There's a lot of complacency going on above bearing in mind the result at the group stages. Australia and France did not play particularly well against England, partly down to the great lumbering mass which comprises the England forwards stifling the game. When are we going to see some rugby?"

But that is rugby, the roughness and tackling is just as good as the running and passing.

And how do you mean complacent? Because we think we may have a chance?

Surely SA are the ones being complacent by saying they're blatantly going to win, no?

  • 104.
  • At 02:32 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • audrey wrote:

Paul B - doesn't Steve Walsh always have a shocker of a game? I don't think I've ever watched a game he's referred that hasn't had dodgy decisions. The man is awful - I breathed a sigh of relief when I realised Scotland wasn't going to get him for the Italy crunch game. Compared to the ref. on Sat who was excellent (Kaplan was it?) Walsh is a joke. I am always astonished he gets games such as the semi's.

  • 105.
  • At 02:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Bandit wrote:

Kate (comment 3), yes, this has been a tournament for the underdog - and the underdog this year certainly wasn't Argentina! If you wanted an underdog in the final then you have it in England. I'm afraid though that with the depth of talent, skill and imagination that SA have, the English should start hoping for the best but expect the worst.

  • 106.
  • At 02:51 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Swiss Scarlet wrote:

Let's not confuse the one-sided and misguided/naive commentary and ITV coverage with the English team and English rugby supporters. As a Welshman I have met plenty of fantastic English fans on various trips and a lions trip. I hate the fact that Wilkinson is seen as a saint - the man himself is pretty humble and it is the media that bigs him up. Will Greenwood should be utilised for what he is - an English rugby fan (and world cup medal holder!) who is best on the touchline/ interviewing the supporters when England play as he is evidently biased. It truly was a shame that last night's match was so England-focused, and since day one ITV has been 'feeding the ducks' about England rather than the other British teams. It is natural for a national broadcaster to be biased towards a home country team but ITV have taken it too far. I will be supporting England on sat - I don't care about 'attractive rugby' - some of the best games I've seen have been with low scorelines - and if they win back-to-back world cups no-one will care how they got there!

  • 107.
  • At 02:52 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • silverain wrote:

South Africa stands out to be the Champions of the tournament. They have already hammered England 36 -0. The only Team that comes close to Second place is Fiji, which gave the Springboks a Scare from the beginning of the match. So far the friendly Pacific Islanders came a long way and deserve a good applause after 'almost shattering' the fearful Springboks.

  • 108.
  • At 03:00 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

i think the SA argentina game was pretty dissapointing, the puma's pack wasn't at the top of their game, however they still managed to boss the boks around the park. the forwards will definitely be englands strong point next week. SA didn't show much strength in the forwards but were always on their toes and looking to play a fast and fluent game through their backs, england will realy need to work on those crucial first up tackles, and put pressure on SA, as they did make several errors last night when the argentines charged forward.

im really up for this final and i think England can go all the way, it will just take some good tactical play and pressure in specific areas and maybe even a bit of luck but we can win. with sheridan at the top of his game, hipkiss making great impact and matt stevens making himself recognised with strong rucking and a hard drive when he comes onto the park, the boks have a real challenge on their hands. england backs will really need to play and tackle hard. but anyway c'mon england !!

  • 109.
  • At 03:02 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Stevie D wrote:

Some dour games in the knockout stages, and SA vs Arg was no different.

What has amazed me so far has been the lack of adventurism from teams who have the ability to be adventurous. At least England's success has been unexpected.

I was disappointed with SA for stooping really to the scourge of the competition so far - rubbish kicking from hand. It has already put paid (along with other problems) to New Zealand, Australia and Scotland, and now the Argies (as they were slightly more rubbish than the Boks). Add to that the unbelievable amount of rubbish drop goal attempts (does anyone have a record of how many attempted drop goals there have been? I dont want to know), and we have teams who are afraid of losing rather than trying to win. Only Fiji showed what can be done if you have a go. Shame they couldnt match up in other areas.

Where was the phase play in the Boks/Pumas game? What happened to working the ball down the pitch? This game, again, was lost on mistakes. Interceptions. Knock ons (some terrible handling in the first half by the Pumas). Poor refereeing (again. Good to see Alain Rolland taking the final, as another Poster said).

Sure SA played a tight, hard game. But can anyone remember a significant midfield break? Some great linking between forwards and backs? Some scorching pick-and-drives?A backrow move? (maybe Pumas had one...).

If I were England I would be looking forward to taking on SA, as the underdogs. Except for one problem - I predict that England (as they often are) will be the ones to choke and make a couple of howlers in the final and allow the Boks some easy scores. With Johnny looking a bit iffy, Im not sure they can stay in contention.
But... if they can create a forward platform and get Robinson and Sackey the ball going forward, they just might score some tries worthy of the WC Final. Lets all pray it doesnt come down to a drop goal again... think Id rather we lose having played the better rugby (we've beaten the Aussies, which is the most important thing).

  • 110.
  • At 03:05 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Chucksa wrote:

The majority of these posts are just like the English commentary over the weekend. Blah blah blah all about England.

Read the topic heading folks!

What has happened to the good old days of being able sit next to your opp. support and have a great time, let's not turn into a bunch of football suporters here.

  • 111.
  • At 03:07 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • IainB wrote:

A few people on all sides seem to be getting a bit carried away and the old blinkered mud slinging has started.

I'm sorry everyone, but I'm English. So I guess that makes me arrogant, apparently hated by a fair amount of the world's population and personally responsible for some of the more tragic and regrettable history in the last few hundred years. Not quite sure what I have done to afford such vitriol... but there you go.

I was there in Paris for the England v South Africa game, I expected the defeat (I backed SA to win from the start of the tournament) but the manner of the defeat was particularly tough to swallow. I also really enjoyed getting the result rammed down my throat after the game by the Bok supporters, but smiled in the spirit of the game and congratulated them on what was a great performance.

A mark of how well SA performed and particularly defended, was that they did not give away a penalty in a kickable position until England were chasing the game. Awesome!

Since then, England have gradually improved game by game, we have started to get the basics right, and the results have come.

I was in Marseilles for the Australia match and went into the game hoping that we wouldn't get hit for a cricket score. Australia were (and are) the better team on paper, but when it came down to the tactics on the day, England got it right. You play to your own strengths and against your opponents weaknesses. And let's not forget, the game could have gone either way - that last Australia penalty, I was directly in line with... the ball started of straight between the posts, but moved in the air. But for a bit of luck the game could have gone the other way.

In Paris last weekend - France were the better team on paper again. Another match too close to call, and but for a tap tackle...?

We English should be justifiably proud that out our team has made it to the final, they have had to do it the hard way - getting past two superior teams to do so. They have done it by keeping up the pressure for 80 minutes and never saying die.

As for the 'boring' label that so many are happy to tag, get off the bandwagon for a second. The team will try and take points when they are available, but every team does that (unless the game is in the bag). We don't have the back line of South Africa or New Zealand - that's a fact - so we are not going to play that kind of game and give ourselves every chance to lose. Every team plays to its strengths.

I'm sure if Australia or New Zealand had played two games, without scoring a try but had ground out results that got them to the final - their supporters wouldn't have cared.

Win or lose on Saturday I will turn and shake the hand of every Bok supporter around me in the stadium and hope I may be as gracious in defeat as I may be in victory. My hip flask will do the rounds, regardless of shirt colour and I expect an incredible occasion.

Good luck to both sides, England - make me proud and I hope my liver carries my battered body past this final hurdle.

  • 112.
  • At 03:09 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Mitch wrote:

Response to 87 .... and others.

I have lived in the UK for the past 7 years and in a way what you say is correct. The media really does not help the option of other nations when as soon as England have a good game they are world champs, unbeatable and a mighty force to be reconned with ect... I watched the SA v ARG game yesterday, only to be spoiled by 50% of the commentary on the game the day before. Slagging the South African rugby team at every given chance. Everyone likes a bit of banter but to say that South Africa never created any opportunities and that the game was handed to South Africa on a plater....... utter rubbish. They played well in every game and just like England must be doing something right to be in the final. England have stepped up a gear to be where they are now. England had to work very hard for it and good for them that they made it....... but thats where is ends boys..... second prize will have to do.
I just hope that the game (final) is played, commentated and refereed is good spirit, no matter what the result is ........


  • 113.
  • At 03:24 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Mitch wrote:


Very well put........

  • 114.
  • At 03:32 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Billy bob wrote:

"However what outraged me most was the sheer stupidity of asking the winning captain about England, what on earth for?"

I think it's just to hype up the final. You know what the media are like, they want him to say something like 'now we're coming for the English' or 'we're going to rip them apart again'. It just makes for better entertainment, and the more hype put into the final, the more people will watch it. The more people who watch it, the more money will be earned. It's business, and to be fair as an Englishman I would've liked to hear something like that.

The rest of your post is spot on mate, couldn't have put it better myself.

  • 115.
  • At 03:56 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Catherine wrote:

Wow, so many passionate comments.. as an English born, South African raised rugby mad lady, back living in England... I couldn't have asked for a better result for the final.

I completely agree with so many of you, no one has given the South African's credit they deserve, from the first game they were labeled as arrogant and to be quite honest, half of them don't have English as their first language and often their comments misunderstood. They're not arrogant, they just believe in themselves!

I agree with the frustration with the commentary, I wanted to cry when John Smit was asked about England's performance when he deserved to be congratulating his team and Argentina for their World Cup performance.

I think England derserve to be proud of their team as they played well to get to the final (whether they were given good games or not by their opponents).

What really bugs me is not the rugby fans in England, it's the hype from the press, who kick the team when they're down and sing their praises when they're up, they should respect their international players through thick and thin.. and the average Joe who knows nothing about rugby who stops you in the street to tell you how fantastic their team is and how you must be so sad that your team has been beaten and had to fly back to Australia (when you're wearing a South African rugby jersey - complete with SA flag on sleeve).

I hope above all for a fair game, and may the best team on the day win... regarless of Johnny Wilkinson, Brian Habanna, 36 - 0, or current World Champions.


  • 116.
  • At 04:12 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Billy bob wrote:

Iain B, top post my man.

  • 117.
  • At 04:13 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Steven wrote:

To Argentina and their wonderful Pumas, well done! It was fabulous to see a team with such pride and heart do so well.

Now for the big game. SA have played intelligent rugby over the past weeks and have both the players and coaching class to go all the way.

England have battled bravely and surprised all, including Brian Ashton as quoted in saying how "surprised" he is that England have come so far!

Sadly the road is closing and the Boks will be too smart and fit to see the former world champs succeed. Jake White has spent the past 4 years making his plan to beat the English as proved in the pool game.

Lewsy is sadly out and England have been made to sweat too hard.

Also Wilkinson is one man and Fourie, Butch, Frans, Jaques, Brian, JP, Percy, Dannie, Schalk, Juan, Victor, Bakkies, CJ, Os and Captain John are 15!

Bye bye.

  • 118.
  • At 04:42 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Lol England are boring England are this well sorry, but I don’t see Wales, New Zealand, the Aussies, Scotland, Wales, Ireland in the final or a matter of fact the semis. Haa you play to your strengths why should England try to play like New Zealand and lose. This is the world cup, the ultimate honour a rugby player can get. The players and coaches will try anything to win it. so anyone who doesn’t appreciate the way England play then don’t bother watching the final as you are just bitter souls who cant appreciate the way England have thrown every single critic they have received back at the world. The thirty men who believed in themselves I wish you the best of luck I can give you for the FINAL!!! Yes people the FINAL!!! HA DOES IT HURT TO SEE THEM ENGLISH IN THE FINAL FOR THE SECOND SUCCESSIVE FINAL, LETS MAKE HISTORY!!!

  • 119.
  • At 04:43 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • honest tim wrote:

how can your silly markings have any relevance when you adopt the principle of not awarding less than 5/10 no matter what?

i'm a big felipe contepomi fan but even his mum would laugh at your "award" of 5/10. as you quite rightly state: his suicidal pass meant arge were playing a catch up game that they could never hope to win. in effect it cost them the match there and then (and they knew it). he missed 50% of his penalty kick attempts and then, as you rightly state, got yellow carded for an unnecessary, petulant elbow.

why does any of that merit any increase on the 1/10 that the performance deserved? eh? dan maskell, jolly good show, awfully exciting blah blah blah.... give old johnny foreigner a 5 what?

  • 120.
  • At 04:44 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Shane wrote:

Trevor Roberts, thank you sir the most eloquent and pertinent post on this page. I doff my hat to you...

  • 121.
  • At 04:46 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Laura Riquelme wrote:

I'm from Argentina. I think SA is so much superior than us, no doubt about that. But they are not gentlemen, you dont laugh when you know you are gonna win. They are such a arrogant people....I want to England win the final and show them class

  • 122.
  • At 04:47 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Carl wrote:

Poor old Bismarck, I see he also got a 5 rating - for his brother Jannie who's the prop. I must have been watching a different game.
What happened to tactical kicking, SA was dominating the line-outs but once again selected to go for zillions of up and unders. I think it will be a closer game on Saturday but England has already played their final.

Go Bokke!

  • 123.
  • At 05:13 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • audrey wrote:

like others have said, 100 - bigjw , well put. i think thats exactly what i've been thinking, you're just more articulate than me! ITV's coverage has been so biased - more acceptable now, but in the pool stages and the quarter finals, it was difficult to watch. and a shame, because i feel they could have tapped into so many people, or used martin johnson etc in a better way to really cover all the home nations.

  • 124.
  • At 05:16 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • marcus wrote:

Sure England aren't scoring full length tries where every player touches the ball but then neither are SA or anyone else against stiff opposition. to call this a 10 man team is disrespectful to the backs as well as the french defence.

To call the first semi final boring is ridiculous. The entire game was tense because both teams competed with everything they had in almost every aspect of the match. The same can't be said of second game which barring Habana's first try was error strewn with poor kicking, poor ball retention, poor passing, indiscipline. But great SA defence and opportunism.

I hope the rugby buffs calling England boring are willing to say the same about SA if they squeeze out a 1pt win with a last minute monty pen.

And lastly how can it be an injustice if England were to win the world cup? It would be an injustice to say they are the best team in the world over 4 years but to say they don't deserve to be crowned world champions or runners up is exactly the reason why NZ, Aus, Ireland and Wales flopped in this tournament.

  • 125.
  • At 05:32 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Ben E wrote:

to be fair, most of the comments here about South Africa walking England and us playing boring rugby are right. But this over-confidence could be what England need to take this one. Playing as the underdogs works totally in our favour and a little over-confidence from the bok team *might* just be their undoing. I will be wearing my England jersey with pride on Saturday, because whatever the result we have something to be proud of - we got to the final when people didn't even expect us in the 1/4s. One big cheers for the boys in white, and a lot of praying this week!

  • 126.
  • At 05:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Bert Scumbag wrote:

let's see how sa get on now they're finally playing a proper side?

Obviously England have exceded expectations, and I along with many others keep expecting them to fall at their next hurdle but ecstacy unlimited- what elation.
Watching the football on the same day I thought what a bore. I think that many English supporters go a little bit overboard is twofold.
Firstly we are used to little sporting success these days, and secondly everyone (many who we considerad our friends) seem to take a delight in seeing us loose.Bravo England!

  • 128.
  • At 06:10 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • GoBokke wrote:

Nothing wrong with boring rugby , winning rugby is what counts. SA can make the English lineout look bad because we are better at the lineout. SA can make the English rolling maul look bad because we have controlled aggression. We can make ball in hand rugby look bad because of our attacking defense , and dont kick to us because of the counterattack. Our scrums will look bad because we suck at it , most teams have outscrummed us this world cup , if we win a scrum we do it going backwards and struggle to gain ground. Its going to be a fascinating match.If any team beats us its going to look scrappy because we make good teams look scrappy.

  • 129.
  • At 06:13 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Annette Jones wrote:

Top comment Catherine! I totally agree. As a South African married to an Englishman, living in England, I think I have the perfect final. If my favourite team do not win, then my second favourite team wins. I win both ways. "I hope above all for a fair game, and may the best team on the day win... regarless of Johnny Wilkinson, Brian Habanna, 36 - 0, or current World Champions." Excellent quote.

  • 130.
  • At 06:17 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Desmond Persaud wrote:

If England do win the World Cup, they should reserve a place on the open-top bus for Wayne Barnes. He will have done more than any other Englishman to win it.

  • 131.
  • At 06:18 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • GoBokke wrote:

Nothing wrong with boring rugby , winning rugby is what counts. SA can make the English lineout look bad because we are better at the lineout. SA can make the English rolling maul look bad because we have controlled aggression. We can make ball in hand rugby look bad because of our attacking defense , and dont kick to us because of the counterattack. Our scrums will look bad because we suck at it , most teams have outscrummed us this world cup , if we win a scrum we do it going backwards and struggle to gain ground. Its going to be a fascinating match.If any team beats us its going to look scrappy because we make good teams look scrappy.

  • 132.
  • At 07:04 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

I am a South African living in the UK, inured by the numerous losses we have suffered, particularly in Europe, over the past 12 years and I am extremely puzzled by the accusations of arrogance levelled at my compatriots. Before and during the pool game against England there was support and hope in the ranks, not arrogance. Afterwards, there was more relief than boasting at the result. Francois Pienaar is not alone. Will the same English supporters who were clamouring for Brian Ashton's head after that game be demanding a knighthood for him, should England win?

  • 133.
  • At 07:07 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Phil A wrote:

For this Englishman, 2 results would be fine - England win (whether by luck, bad refereeing, Wilkinson boot,Act of God,it don't matter); or SA win by outplaying us, and Ashton, players, press, other media all acknowledge they were beaten by the better team, thus proving Les Marshall (Post 31) wrong. Allez les blancs!

  • 134.
  • At 07:30 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Will Critchlow wrote:

A bit disappointed with the game to be honest, not for the style of rugby which was more attackinjg than I expected but simply because it was never quite a contest on the scoresheet, although I thought play-for-play the sides were pretty even. As has been said Argentina handed SA the match on a plate, and its worth pointing out that their try (which I thought was a fair try),also came from the Saffers being turned over and for that reason its difficult to judge either side on this game alone.

My gut instinct is that both sides playing last night would beat England at their best (whereas France and Aus I don't think would) so we start as underdogs, but England have looked the least likely of all teams to have a poor ten minutes in the knockout stages and I could easily see SA not finding a way past. The key for SA is to turn it into a high scoring game by flinging the ball around, but apart from on turnover/loose ball they have rarely looked keen to do so, despite suspicions that Tonga, Fiji and Argentina all struggle to defend the wings.

  • 135.
  • At 07:52 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Will wrote:

P109: "I'd rather we lose having played the better rugby"

Are you mad?!!!

NZ are, and have been for 4 years, the best rugby team in the world. By miles. However they lost because they couldn't beat France in a one-of match under pressure conditions, and have now gone home. I'm not gloating, and I feel sorry for everyone in NZ but the point is that this is the World Cup! The only thing that matters is winning. How will you feel if you have to watch John Smit lift the cup on Saturday night?

The other thing you have completely misunderstood is that good rugby is not about playing like the barbarians and losing 39-35. That is BAD rugby. Do you think that stopping the Boks (or the French) scoring any tries qualifies as "good rugby"?

Whoever wins the final will have played the better rugby! Thats the point of the game, to score more points than the opposition. When they change the rules so that you get marks for artistic impression then we'll all change how we define who plays the best rugby, but until then its scoring points and winning games.

And another thing: My view is that anyone who complains about England playing boring rugby doesn't know as much about rugby as they should.

  • 136.
  • At 08:19 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • danny t wrote:

I have really enjoyed watching the commitment, passion and power of Argentina they have some outstanding players. They would be a great addition to the 6 nations considering most of them play in Europe.

Their contribution to the RWC has been ten out of ten

  • 137.
  • At 08:34 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • JASON wrote:


  • 138.
  • At 08:45 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

I totally agree with post no. 109 - I think England and South Africa are just as negative/"boring" as one another but in a positive way in the sense that both play tactically astute games.

In terms of tactics, South Africa played the Argentina game near perfectly (pressurising them at the lineouts, cleverly backing off their mauls etc) but barring the superb 1st try from Bryan Habana, they didn't play entertaining free flowing attacking rugby that some of these posts seem to suggest (the intercept tries cannot count as such because they lasted all of 30 secs out of the total match but again I do say they occured due to good tactics and the way Argentina were pressurised).

Quite simply for 70 mins the South Africans controlled the game well, defended excellently but didn't really excite and I therefore don't think the ratings were hugely unfair.

I do think England are getting talked up a little too much, but not withstanding that I think it will be a tight game. Both S.A. and Eng will both again come out with great game plans and will try exploit one another's weaknesses (yes both teams have them, its quite clear from the semi-finals alone) ultimately it may come down to one or two errors that decides the match.

I say good luck to both teams and whoever wins on the day deserves it (England for the amazing turnaround and South Africa for being consistently good throughout the tournament) and to say one or other does not deserve it is ridiculous - quite simply if you play the tournament in this format, end up in the final and win the world cup (without cheating), you deserve it regardless of what has gone before...

  • 139.
  • At 09:25 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • simonhill wrote:

Can we just stop going on about arrogance? English or South African. From what I've seen every player on every winning side has congratulated every player on the losing side. None of the players have said "We're the best, we're gonna stuff em" (it's fans and mostly non-english on this blog) and no one in England expected the team to get this far. Celebrating an unexpected victory is not arrogance!

The media concentrate on England because they have got to the final. Shock horror. If there were any other home nations left in the tournament then maybe they would get some coverage. The irish infighting and search for a new welsh coach just aren't interesting at the business end of the tournament. Besides England are on the verge of making history. No team has ever won back-to-back RWC's. And there have been some amazing teams over the years. Now please don't accuse me of arrogance for suggesting the possibility (because that's what it is) of history being made. That's what the british/english media are interested in.

On the subject of one-eyed commentary have any of you watched an international match in Australia or NZ? The commentators are fans not impartial observers. It's painful to watch so we are no different to any other nation in that respect.

As far as boring rugby goes take a look at every final since 1991. Australia twice, SA and England both once have won tight, pressurised, important games with kicks. If someone wins by scoring a hatful of tries then all power to them but statistics and history tell us another outcome is just as likely.

  • 140.
  • At 09:32 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • spooner wrote:

137 - computers, eh?
- your caps lock is on
- your spellchecker is broken
- maybe neither, alcohol found its way into the system?
while I'm at it:
130 - if someone knows Des, please inform his carer that he's escaped.
But then:
136, "commitment, passion and power", I agree. But why is it, when the English lads show the same, is it labelled boring?
132, agree with the sentiments.
Francois Pienaar, Michael Lynagh, most (sorry Campo/Barnes) ex-players are top, decent blokes with no hidden agendas.
Most can take it as well as dish it out - leave Will alone, tongue firmly in cheek, he's always been a great entertainer.
These blogs are too often hijacked by people, nauseating people (of all nationalities), far too quick to generalise, to tar every single supporter of any one nation with the same brush. I'm getting bored with it all now, would much rather have a face to face discussion and then a good laugh with them.
That's the rugby I know and played, that's the way rugby is usually played - leave the aggression on the pitch.
Did you see Contepomi and his opponents after the game and his yellow card?
All forgotten, "sorry mate, lost it a bit, I'll buy you a pint?".
Enjoy Saturday, everyone and please respect all those people out there, before and after the game.
They ALL deserve it.

  • 141.
  • At 09:35 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Cristina wrote:

For the "gentleman" on commentary 51, please refrain from commenting on what it is not obviously your forte. It seems to me that you got carried away with your nationalism, and that is by no means, an alternative for knowledge. Argentina doesn't have to "convince" any of you novices, Argentina has earned the respect to play among the top.

  • 142.
  • At 09:44 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • BokFan wrote:


After watching South Africa beat the English at St Denis, I enjoyed a few beers with the nicest bunch of English fans on the planet. I dont know many South Africans that would be in such a jovial mood after a defeat like that. Secretly, I wished England had done better. And now they have!! Lets forget about all this silly moaning about arrogance and styles of rugby. To win the RWC you have to be the best team on the day and South Africa and England have successfully accomplished this. Put the beers in the fridge and lets enjoy the titanic battle ths weekend!!

  • 143.
  • At 09:46 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • Cristina wrote:

I second that sentiment! Danny of 136.

South Africa are the best prepared team of the tournament and have deserved to get to the final. Do not underestimate them.

I'm English and believe we should congratulate all the teams for a great festival of rugby. Rugby Union can be played many ways- which is why it is the best game in the world. Lets hope we have a close game in the final and I hope we win.

Good luck to both teams.

  • 145.
  • At 11:29 PM on 15 Oct 2007,
  • martin wrote:

To the guys who are saying argentinian players are dirty:I assume Habana would have got penalised had he played for Argentina. It seems nobody saw his elbow on Roncero´s face.

BTW: did anyone notice how ARG maul got penalised? so if you just quit a maul it becomes a non intentonal off side? NO WAY. If you get out, it´s your decision but it´s still a maul.

Anyway: congrats to SA for a great game but I did not like the incidents at the end (both teams involved)

  • 146.
  • At 03:35 AM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Mark in Washington DC wrote:

As a RUGBY FAN and not a band wagon rider can I ask if all you have to do is slag of English rugby and come up with some pathetic reasons why we should not be in the final, please go find another sport. I have enjoyed the word cup, more so with new teams coming through the group stages. Thats the point of a tournament, you get shocks, you get great games and you get games whilst not pretty are a battle on the day thats needs..for those of you who know rugby you know thats the way the game goes. But for those of you who chose to say the English game is boring take a look a the both the world cup and the line up for the final, Englands name is on both. A perfect quote for this situation "whoever said its the taking part thats important was obviously a loser". England aint going to lose just because people don't like our way of playing.

  • 147.
  • At 06:17 AM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Ted wrote:

"let's see how sa get on now they're finally playing a proper side?"

Like England last month 36-0

Sure Little Jonny wasnt playing but nor was Schalk

  • 148.
  • At 07:03 AM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • gurkha wrote:

The boks will win it - after all, their secret weapon will be on the field - Mike Catt ( the only player who has ever passed the ball to the ref. !)

  • 149.
  • At 10:51 AM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Melissa wrote:

The thing that annoys me about English rugby is that players and fans tend to go into a game with rose tinted glasses, i mean Johnny's kicking accuracy on Saturday was not that of a world class kicker yet the commentors and newspapers made him out to be something of a glorified war hero!!

I am a South African living in England with an English partner and let me tell you, England are poor loses but even worse winners so i just hope the likes of Habana and Du Preez can out wit the English team as i may have to consider immigrating again to get away from the arrogance that will follow for years to come!!!

Come on the Bokke!!!

  • 150.
  • At 01:12 PM on 16 Oct 2007,
  • Marius Badenhorst wrote:

As a devout Saffa(Afrikaner) I’ve read through this thread with interest. I think the Bok ratings are reasonable as we were slack at times and unconvincing in the scrums. But I want to comment in general on the posts I’ve read. I find mostly the English to be fair and chivalrous in their comments. For example the many complaints made against Greenwood. For those who rubbish the close fought matches and quality of performances in the knockout stages, wake up! This game is about fierce contact and sustained pressure at various fronts. I think we would all (rugby fans that is), rather see close fought spirited battles than mismatched runaway victories. As far as I can remember, from my school days rugby, there was nothing better than a close fought final.

I must congratulate England on their fighting spirit and grit determination to get to the final. I think there are very few team sports that demonstrate better, the severity of the above traits of the men that play this game. I think it was Jake White that said that the public have no idea what kind of pressure these players must endure throughout the world cup tournament.

I was at the Eng vs SA pool game in Paris, and found the rivalry between us and the
masses of English fans to be good spirited. We were approx 20 Bok supporters amongst a sea of white jerseys. We received good luck handshakes before the anthems and handshakes of congratulations after the final whistle. Given the outcome of the game, the latter could not have been easy. In the pubs afterwards the majority of gallant English supporters humbled us.

This is the respect that this game teaches us. Just look at the players behaviour after a game. Although the battle is fierce and heated on the field and gets slightly out of hand at times due to the nature of the contact and constant physical pressure, general respect for your opponents is maintained throughout.

From what I have witnessed, win or loose, the English fans carry their team’s gallant fighting spirit on the day like no other rugby nation. The Stade is going to feel like Twickenham on Saturday. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a massive game, the way we like it.

May the best team win! Viva Ama Bokkobokke!

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