South Africa breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Springboks secured a nail-biting win in the Rugby World Cup semi-final against England at Stade de France. Following their narrow victory against France the previous weekend, the team managed a heart-pounding 16-15 win, setting the stage for a title showdown against their archrival, New Zealand.
For the majority of the first 70 minutes, the defending champions were outplayed by England, trailing 15-6 at halftime. However, the game took a dramatic turn in the 69th minute when replacement lock RG Snyman scored a crucial try, marking only the second time the Springboks entered England’s 22 during the second half. Flyhalf Handre Pollard’s successful conversion brought the score to 15-13.
In the closing moments of the game, props Ox Nche and Vincent Koch executed a tremendous, last-ditch effort to win a crucial penalty for South Africa. This set the stage for Pollard, who delivered an extraordinary game-winning kick from halfway across the field with less than two minutes left.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a lot of relief in this moment,” Pollard expressed after the match. “Frustrated we weren’t at our best tonight, especially in that first half. We knew we had so much more to give, but fair play to England, they put us under pressure in exactly the right areas.”
The Springboks now have an opportunity to secure back-to-back World Cup titles as they prepare to face the All Blacks in the final next weekend. One of these titans will claim a historic fourth World Cup, and with England’s exit, the coveted trophy seems destined to remain in the southern hemisphere once more.