No one wants to play in third place play-offs! France and Argentina, losing semi-finalists in the rugby world cup, went head to head tonight in the game that no one wants to play in. No one that is, apart from the Argentinians! They played with spirit, with aggression and with shear guts. At the end of the game, the Argentinian forwards could hardly stand but they kept playing; driving into rucks and mauls; desperate to win the game.
This game summed up this World Cup: the spoils have gone to the teams that wanted to win the most. The All Blacks are, man for man, the best team in the world. But they thought they were beaten by a French side who quite simply cared more than they did. Likewise the Aussies – no one would say that England are a better team than they are – but England wanted it more than them. Australia and New Zealand can keep their pretty rugby – the guts and passion of the Argentinian side are far more interesting to watch than the Antipodean show ponies!
Twenty four hours before the final, I suspect that South Africa will beat England. However, the way in which the England team have turned round their play and attitude since they last played South Africa leaves me very proud. We may not have the best team in the world, but our lads know that you only get to World Cup finals by guts and determination. Whatever happens tomorrow, we deserve to be there and the All Blacks and Wallabies don’t.