Semi-finals of the World Cup: Masterclass, mystery and "biting"

International rugby has come close to chaos. Seventy-fourteenth minute of semi-final between Welsh and South Africans, 16-16 and winners of the last Tournament have the wind in their sails when a forward, unfortunately, hangs on the side of an opponent maul: penalty , Springbok opener Handle Pollard – who was suspicious before the meeting of "The stuffy country of Wales" while the press of his country promised him a walk of health – tape between the poles. And here are the winners of the last Rugby Championship in front of New Zealand and Australia who save (19-16) the honor of the Southern Hemisphere, always present in the final of the World Cup since the creation of the event in 1987 but shaken from floor to ceiling since Saturday and the thaw (7-19) of the All Blacks in front of England.

Instantly, the Landerneau (former players, media) took the Welsh pity: "Heartbreak" "Heart-breaking". Enough to feed their legend of beautiful losers; always closer, ever more exhausted, ever more deserving. Australian 2003 World Cup ex-finalists George Gregan and Lote Tuqiri tweeted about Sunday's halftime: «A match for the purists», the second adding: "We have been spoiled." A parade passed well off the All Blacks, so destroyed in Yokohama by Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and others.

An expression flourished after the match to qualify the approach of the meeting of the Australian coach of England, Eddie Jones, who devours the media pitch for seven weeks that the World Cup began: "Masterclass". Rebound loop, it feeds an idea, even a theory: it is the meticulous work done upstream that decided the fate of the game and sent the double world champions in title overboard.

Aggressiveness

Masterclass? "We suffered," found the New Zealand center Anton Lienert-Brown. "We were overwhelmed in the battle of the rucks," this furious fight for the ground ball after a player has been tackled, added scrum half Aaron Smith. Which simply refers to the first command of rugby, something that an honest coach of Federal 3 (last level of hexagonal amateur rugby) must know how to activate without being out of the Saint-Cyr rugby: aggression, an attitude mental superiority. "The idea was to shake them physically, lit up the 3e center line of the XV Rose Billy Vunipola. We talked about it all week. " The All Black coach, Steve Hansen, has taken very bad the evocation of a lack of pugnacity: "It's a disrespect to say that the All Blacks were not hungry enough for victory. Given the level of play and the history of the players who played in this semifinal, I find the question rather insulting. I asked them to be more biting at half-time and they were. " They say that they were not sufficiently concerned in the first half, which is confirmed by the essay conceded to the English center Manu Tuilagi after one hundred seconds: the thesis of gentrification is standing up.

For the rest, the All Blacks were discreet after the game. They are rendered to a form of mystery. In 2011, they had survived an unbreathable final dominated by Blues beaten (7-8) on the wire and the referee South African Craig Joubert is still talking. In 2015, the story of a triumphal march to the title is a myth that had the merit of reinforcing the idealized image of their sport: the former future coach of the France team Fabien Galthie explained once to have seen the non-whistled penalty that would have allowed the Springboks to return the semi-final uprooted (20-18) by the Blacks.

Accurate, organized to the centimeter, the English have lifted the veil on the New Zealand vintage of 2019: not a test opportunity that was not offered by the English themselves, no more intensity or speed for push the opposing defense to the foul (no penalty conceded by the British in their camp before the match is played), forwards devoured on foot. Nothing that would have justified a third world title of rank.

So beautiful

On Friday, what's left of the All Black aura will be in Tokyo a final for third place against Welsh at the end of the wheel and the meeting will be worth a look: the ones that everyone saw too good will face those that everyone saw too ugly. While offering the kind of retrospective thoughts that presume the end of the adventure, the English coach Eddie Jones hinted that he would not fall in the trap of a final won against the Kiwis before the letter: "I remember the very first meeting I had with this group, when I was appointed four years ago. We thought we wanted to be the best team in the world. It's not yet the case. It remains a match. "

Against South Africa and his second line consisting of Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, two fiercely fierce paragons of fame – they had fought a memorable fight against each other during a match in 2016 – only rugby marketing. No worse for the idea that we can make a final world.

Grégory Schneider

. (tagsToTranslate) New Zealand (t) England (t) South Africa (t) Rugby Union (t) Penalty (t) World Cup (t) New Zealand (t) Wales (t) Eddie Jones (t) Australia (t) Team

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