England vs South Africa felt like the least likely combination of finalists ahead of It was hard to see New Zealand losing but should England reach the final it felt destined that they would be pitched against the fierce old rivals of Wales. The All Blacks versus the Springboks also had a certain air of pre-destination, if only because the organizers may have hoped that the big game of the opening weekend would be given a re-run on the last night of the tournament.
But, here we are with England vs South Africa. England somewhat surprisingly comprehensively outplaying New Zealand. Once again it seemed that the All Blacks, so fabulous when dictating proceedings, did not quite know what to do when facing a match they weren’t prepared for against opponents who showed no fear and little respect. It almost felt as if England had outmaneuvered the All Blacks from the moment they showed their V-shaped response to the Haka – as if encircling and ensnaring New Zealand’s spirit.