One of the great battles in rugby history concludes with the South African forward pushing with everything over the Irish try line and time served. After half an hour of siege, the XV of the Shamrock, the adorable loser, defeated in its seven quarterfinals of the World Cup, resists. This Saturday he has assumed in Paris his role as favorite, that of a selection that leads the world ranking after winning his last 16 games, knocking down the current champion, who fell with all the honors at the Stade de France, who attended a worthy rehearsal of a grand final.
The two most physical teams in the world – with the permission of France – showed that low scoring is not at odds with beauty. The duel of the impacts and the burly forwards was sung. He was not shunned by the 10th Irishman, Johnny Sexton, who renounced the amplitude and sent his hosts to the clash in the central axis, like the invaders who hit the entrance of a fortress. Without arguments to discuss this initiative, South Africa appealed to its defensive waist, that elasticity to retreat without breaking.
🔝 What a great game!
Ireland signs the first trial. Work by Mack Hansen. #ÚneteALaMelé pic.twitter.com/p1xS8jNIIy
— Rugby on Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarRugby) September 23, 2023
Thus he took over the tocuh, turning the seemingly routine exercise of putting the oval into play from the sidelines into a visit to the dentist for the Irish, who gained territory but were unable to retain possession. And a visit to the South African noble zone ended in a counterattack from the Springboks, who opened the scoring with a comfortable kick from Manie Libbok. Questioned about his lack of aim – his team came into the game with a 10 of 18 in shots to sticks – he exhausted the regulation minute and secured the shot.
The World Cup of Fallible Candidates
The pressure of South Africa began to undermine the confidence of the XV of the Shamrock, confined to its plot by its errors in the band. The Springboks had the coup de grace in a charge of their forwards, who reached the height of the posts but could not secure possession ahead of the imminent trial. Ireland saved the ballot with an aggressive defense and maintained its plan of onslaught. When he returned to the South African 22 zone, he was loyal to him. No kicking with sticks; Ball to the touch and for the trial. Sexton was inches from the marking line, but it was Mack Hansen who ended the rival contortionism by taking advantage of the superiority on the right flank and moved the green dominance to the scoreboard (3-7).
South Africa approached the match as a background exercise, with an unprecedented bench of seven forwards and a single replacement for the back. Two armies to placate and push melés. Ireland came out with the lesson learned from the dressing room, kicked the side wisely and stole a committed touch in the South African zone, but lacked a sting and returned the favor in the next throw. And a missed opportunity against the champion usually carries a surcharge. With their reinforcements in action, South Africa found a fault in the Irish mele, which it overflowed on two consecutive occasions en route to Cheslin Kobe's try for the wing.
The XV of the Clover takes the early final.
Epic match between two candidates for the title.
South Africa 8 - 10 Ireland.#ÚneteALaMelé pic.twitter.com/Y6RdynEIjG
— Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarPlus) September 23, 2023
The Springboks regained the lead, but Libbok missed a simple conversion that left the Irish within one. A match between superpowers in a constant exercise of adjustment, so the Irish melee changed chips and regained balance for a few minutes. Not only did he cover his fault, but he opened one on the rival platform: punishing blow and Sexton, infallible shooter, returned his team to the front when the hour of play was fulfilled (8-10). It was the penultimate relief for an Ireland already overwhelmed by narrative.
Now it was South Africa who needed to redeem their dominance, but Libbok missed another simple kick and Faf De Klerk responded with a deflected projectile from midfield minutes after he had crashed another against the crossbar. Ireland defended like a cat belly up fighting the touch or moving the ball away with the foot while the trot of Sexton when he left the game denoted the endless blows he had on him. It was his replacement, Jack Crowley, who paved the way with a routine kick after a punishing blow forced by his battered melee and who celebrated on the field the failure of the last South African incursion.
In this way, the hard part of the painting is sketched. If Ireland meet in their last game against Scotland, they will win the group and face New Zealand in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, South Africa, expected to be second, will face France, a host depleted by injuries, including that of its great leader, Antoine Dupont.
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