Some tough, veteran and versatile champions, and other keys to the World Cup

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“I guess as a team we like drama.” The South African said it at the end of the final Pieter-Steph du Toit. Los Springboks They have become world champions, winning their three life-or-death matches by one point. But, more than the resilience to the drama, the team has weighed. South Africa, world champions, only appears on the podium for defensive statistics. It is the second team that has conceded the fewest tries (eight in seven games) and the first in tackles. In the final he made 208 to New Zealand’s 92. Du Toit himself, 28.

South Africans have internalized the American football coach’s phrase Bear Bryant: “The offense sells tickets, the defense wins championships.” They have formed a very veteran squad, especially up front; Only 7 of the 23 called up for the decisive match were under 30 years old. And at the same time very versatile, with a handful of versatile players. The symbol is Deon Fourie. He debuted in the national team at 36 years old and at 37 he played 77 minutes of the final. When the heeler was injured Malcolm MarxFourie resumed a position that he had not occupied in the last five years.

Fourie’s reconversion made it possible for Marx’s loss to be covered with an absolutely different player. The Sniper Handré Pollard. She has landed all the punishment blows that he has thrown at her. South Africa and also England, third in this World Cup, have remembered that matches are also won with the foot, adding three at a time. Another style, perhaps more grateful to the spectator, has been exhibited by the spectacular New Zealand, a try-scoring machine, 49 in the entire championship. However, in the final he only scored one in eight innings in the opposing 22nd.

If rugby has not been a sport for 15 players, but for 23, for a long time, the physical demand of the 2023 World Cup in France has expanded the focus to the 33 of each call. With their gala fifteen, Ireland beat South Africa in the first phase and showed off in the rest of the matches. In the quarterfinals, against a New Zealand that had rotated its squad in the previous phase, it could not convert its last and endless attack into points. He fell – among other reasons – prey to his own fatigue.

Among the contrast of styles, an almost countercultural trend has reappeared in France. Faced with the evolution of the regulations to favor quick matches and with less influence of the melé, especially South Africa used that formation to start the penalty shots that allowed them to come back in the quarterfinals and the semifinal. “Salads don’t win scrums,” his pilier recalled before the tournament Ox Nché, more in favor of cake. And in a scrum, the last of the championship, New Zealand was on the verge of winning the ball and a hope of turning around the final. Eight against eight a few feet from the ground, the symbol has returned.

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