England take on South Africa for the World Cup and World Number One Spot
So, this is it! The 2019 World Cup Final. An epic battle between two strong nations vying for the Webb Ellis Trophy.
After 47 titanic struggles between 20 nations on the rugby pitch, with a Japanese backdrop and the disruption of typhoon hagibis to boot, the winner of the Rugby World Cup 2019 will be decided in the final game contested by England and South Africa.
This is not the first time these teams have met in a World Cup Final. To highlight the ‘storied rivalry’1 between England and South Africa, Rugby World Magazine has listed the 5 best games between these two nations, with the 2007 final included in the list.
England’s World Cup performance has seen them make consistently steady progress during the pool stages and their Quarter Final. The hugely impressive semi-final victory over the reigning World Champions and current number one ranked side, New Zealand, served to bring them as close to the leaders as they have been in this tournament.
England are now in a position where they could lift the World Cup for the second time in their history. They just have South Africa to defeat.
But, just as importantly, what will it take to knock New Zealand off the top?
England need to put on a spectacular performance and win by a comfortable score line against the very strong South African outfit. The score lines that will result in England claiming the top of the table are displayed below as the white part of the plot.
These numbers include:
- 13 – 0
- 20 – 3
- 40 – 13
South Africa won’t be pushovers
South Africa have consistently demonstrated their strength in this tournament. Following a loss in their opening game to the reigning World Champions New Zealand, South Africa have improved their ranking score with each following result.
As we have discussed in previous posts South Africa have been embroiled in their own ranking battle against Wales, over the fourth place in the table.
Following the final round of pool games and knock-out matches, they claimed the fourth spot outright in a run that culminated with them defeating Wales for a place in the Final.
South Africa are so established in fourth place that whatever the score outcome of this game they will remain in that position following the final. However, there are two important things to remember.
- It is not always the highest ranked team that wins the World Cup.
This has been demonstrated numerous times in the competition, including both of South Africa’s previously successful campaigns in 1995 and 2007.
- An impressive result in this game will build South Africa’s ranking score and increase their chances of overtaking Ireland, England and New Zealand in the rankings in the future.
Whatever happens in this game we know that we are in for a treat as new World Champions emerge and potentially a new top ranked side will be crowned.