God bless this mess.
Lawrence Dallaglio was wearing some red rose-tinted spectacles while watching England’s World Cup semifinal match versus South Africa.
The former No. 8 for England and the Lions was covering the World Cup semifinals for ITV as Steve Borthwick’s team attempted to advance to yet another championship game. For 65 minutes, they had the physical and tactical upper hand over South Africa, and with just under 25 minutes remaining in the game, they were up 15-6.
Ultimately, though, the South Africa bench earned the moniker “Bomb Squad,” when they entered the game to reverse the tide and shatter English aspirations. Their pack earned the penalties that gave them territory and opportunities, which in turn resulted in RG Snyman scoring a try and Handré Pollard kicking the game-winning penalty.
Following the game, Dallaglio was upset with the Australian referee Ben O’Keeffe for what he felt were some questionable decisions that helped the Springboks win. The former captain of England said:
O’Keeffe will be the topic of conversation because he gave them the victory rather than South Africa, according to Lawrence Dallaglio. “I just believe that in the end, we were unable to create scoreboard pressure. In the 22, we missed a few opportunities, including one scrum and one lineout.
“The Bomb Squad entered, and in the final 10 minutes, four penalties were given away. I have to admit, not as a bitter loser but on my own, that’s a dubious penalty that ends the game.
“I think England can feel heartbroken but South Africa deserved it because, a bit like France, the quality in depth on the bench was enough to get them over the line.”
Former Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan reviewed Ben O’Keeffe’s performance and noted on Virgin Media that the match’s referee awarded England three penalties that could have easily gone to South Africa. Vincent Koch, Pieter Steph du Toit, and England’s Ellis Genge were all driving in for the last scrum penalty.
Matt Williams winds up South Africa, again
Matt Williams dug in for another shot at the Springboks while England icon and English tub-thumper Lawrence Dallaglio was delivering his “independent” opinion on ITV.
The former Leinster and Ulster coach, who has never been a fan of South Africa’s 6:2 and 7:1 [forwards to backs] bench splits and emphasis on wearing down opponents, was not going to lavish the Boks with post-game praise.
The Australian then went on a tangent and challenged World Rugby to take the sting out of scrummaging after refusing to recognize that The Bomb Squad had made a difference by saying, “It wasn’t them, it was the four scrum penalties.” Instead of being the draining focal point it can be on gloomy nights like the one we experienced in Paris on Saturday, he wants the scrum to be solely utilized as a tool to restart games.
In a different pre-game discussion, Matt Williams suggested Rassie Erasmus was hurting the game with his offensive Twitter rants, by breaking the rules to emphasize toughness, and by putting pressure on referees with statements made before and after games.
When Virgin Media viewers were invited to vote in a poll, the majority said Erasmus was improving the game, Williams became incensed.
We need to talk, he said, “Dear people of Ireland.”
Nick Mallet on Owen Farrell
Meanwhile, in South Africa, former Boks coach Nick Mallet observed a circumstance during the semifinal in which he believed England captain Owen Farrell ought to have received a caution.
Mallet emphasized Farrell raising his knee, while on the ground and on the wrong side of the ruck, to scupper a Damian De Allende pass, inside the England 22 during halftime of South Africa’s 16-15 victory.
Ben O’Keeffe also received criticism for that decision.
Sometimes it’s impossible to please everyone.