Rugby World Cup: England vs. South Africa in the Finals
Jonny Wilkinson almost went from hero to goat. After coming back from injury, missing the first two matches of pool play, the England flyhalf led his team through to the semi’s including an upset of Australia. But, through minute 75 of England’s semifinal match with France, Wilkinson had missed 4 of 5 kicks, and his team trailed France 9-8 with just five minutes remaining.
But a penalty kick in minute 75 and a trademark dropkick in minute 78 has Wilkinson on the verge of leading his team to a 2nd consecutive RWC title, by beating France 14-9 (nice BBC article on Wilkinson’s kicking here).
England will meet South Africa, winners against Argentina 37-13. Bryan Habana scored two tries for the Springboks and Percy Montgomery kicked for 17 points. The Pumas closed to within 24-13 just after the half, but South Africa was simply to strong, shutting them out the rest of the match.
I had aimed to be in Paris for these two matches, but it was not meant to be….Four more years!
UPDATED 10/15: The new IRB rankings are out, and New Zealand is still number one! They were so far ahead of the pack in the ratings that even their quarterfinal loss to France and France’s subsequent loss to England is not enough to pull them from the top spot.
- New Zealand (89.63)
- South Africa (89.32, was 3rd last week)
- England (87.18, was 6th)
- France (84.83, was 2nd)
- Australia (84.21)
- Argentina (83.16, was 4th)