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annihilation

 

i’ve been joking all week that we were going to beat england handsomely, but i didn’t think we’d spank them this bad. 36 – 0. HOOHA!!! 😀

it was a complete and utter annihilation. its so rare in rugby that the other team doesn’t even get on the score sheet – there are just so many scoring opportunities in rugby, that any team can get on the scoresheet, if only to score 3 points. and yes, this isn’t the best of england teams, but 36 – 0, that is unheard of…

to be fair, we were a bit lucky at times.  england had a lot of possession and territory at the end of the game and should’ve scored, and they were very unlucky not to. we also had some luck with our attacking play, which helped us a bit, but luck can only account for a small part of it. south africa dominated england in a way that i have never seen a big team get dominated. scoring was so easy that it actually worked against us, as we became a little too relaxed. and in defence we were outstanding. except for a ten minute period at the end england never, not for a moment, looked like getting on the scoreboard.

this photo just says it all. a bleeding englishman getting treatment while the springboks stand around waiting, looking fresh and fit.

our performance was by no means perfect, we lost concentration as the game wore on and its hard to say if our errors were down to the fact that we were so comfortable after just 10 minutes. either way, we still made a few too many errors for my liking. hopefully we won’t be complacent and look to further improve on this performance.

even though we played so well it was an odd game in the sense that we never actually pushed our way forward in order to get points. rugby is such a physical game that most of the time it takes driving and pushing and grinding forward and running and darting and stretching yourself to get those points on the board. and when you do theres this euphoric release.

that didn’t happen tonight. it was so comfortable. and it was weird. because you find yourself thinking, were all our points lucky? did they all come off england’s mistakes? you know, ’cause it didn’t seem we had to work for them. but we did. 

j.p. pieterson goes over for a try.

a lot of it had to do with how calm we were. our play was so easy and assured. even when we made mistakes there wasn’t that frustration that might follow, just focus. not looking back. confidence. belief. it was brilliant to see.

our tactics were superb. our forwards were so sharp at the breakdown and gave fourie du preez all the space he needed to run the game. his instinct for space was superb, most often kicking deep and driving england backward, so that the forwards can harass england again and repeat the cycle. it was like a training ground drill.

jason robinson just fails to tackle du preez. thats the story of the night – du preez running into space and eluding english tacklers. 

sometimes he took the ball in hand and found the gaps with regularity. he drifted towards the gaps like water does towards a gutter. and each time he did he released south africa’s marauding backline upon england. tonight he was the difference between the two teams and he showed that, given the space, he could single-handedly take teams apart.

this is my favourtie image from the game – it perfectly captures the way fourie du preez (running with the ball) terrorized the english. 

south africa are looking good. yes, we made some mistakes, but we also did a lot of things right. more than anything there are two things about this performance that please me most. firstly, that we again showed some variation in our play and played a very intelligent kicking game. secondly, that we were so calm. we were very cool and confident, we just went about our business and we knew exactly what we were doing. south africa are focused and i tell you, they’re going to take some beating in this world cup.

south africa: 36

tries: pieterson 2, smit 1

cons: montgomery 3

pens: montgomery 4, steyn 1

england: 0

all photos by fabdany except the first one at the top, of pieterson, which is from the bbc match report.

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Categories: rugby
  1. September 16, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    I was down the pub with my English flatmate watching this. She was not happy, but the rest of the pub was. I did feel sorry for England by the end though. Something about Corry makes me sympathetic towards him for some reason. And poor old Jason Robinson, he doesn’t deserve to go out of the game that way, so hopefully the English camp aren’t lying when they say that it isn’t a tear.

    Meanwhile I’m trying my best to remain optimistic about our chances. We’ve seriously underperformed and I’m very worried that we won’t be able to raise our game against France. But I’m determined to stay positive. Some might call it delusional though 🙂

  2. jean pierre
    September 18, 2007 at 7:21 am

    i really would like to feel sorry for england, really, but i can’t. england and australia – those two i can never feel sorry for. for obvious and predictable reasons, of course.

    i’m also remaining positive about ireland – post friday night, naturally. i’d like to see them beat argentina (not just for us) because it would be sad if ireland didn’t arrive at this world cup after being in such good form for the last 5 years.

  3. September 19, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Sad? Sad JP, it’d be a disaster.

  4. September 19, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Regardless of the sport, that is a beat down! Congrats to them!

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