South Africa triumph in Rugby World Cup Final

Lifting the trophy on Saturday was Siya Kolisi, South Africa's first black captain.
Image: England v South Africa - Rugby World Cup 2019 Final
Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Web Ellis cup following his team's victory against England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final between England and South Africa at International Stadium YokohamaDavid Rogers / Getty Images

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By Patrick Smith and Associated Press

South Africa has emerged winner in the Rugby World Cup final after beating favorites England 32-12 in a dominating display.

The Springboks built a commanding lead in Yokohama, Japan, through the boot of flyhalf Handre Pollard and two second-half tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe.

England, who impressively beat tournament favorites New Zealand to reach the final, could only manage four penalties from captain Owen Farrell and never looked likely to overcome the aggressive and disciplined South Africans.

South Africa has won the tournament three times — a record it shares with New Zealand — including titles in 1995 and 2007.

The 1995 win marked a symbolic moment for the "rainbow nation" after the end of apartheid — rugby was historically seen as a white sport and the team had only recently begun to take part in international rugby again.

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South African players, in green, celebrate their win over England after the Rugby World Cup final at International Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)Aaron Favila / AP

The match took place in front of the late Nelson Mandela, a year after he became president in a democratic election after decades of racial segregation and his own imprisonment for 27 years.

Lifting the trophy on Saturday was Siya Kolisi, South Africa's first black captain.

England was outplayed in every aspect in a flat display in Yokohama, a week after delivering possibly the greatest performance in its history to overwhelm the All Blacks in the semifinals.

But the Springboks didn't let them play, putting on the squeeze at the scrum — where they won four of flyhalf Pollard's six penalties — and using their rolling maul to great effect.

Leading 18-12 with a quarter of the game left, the Springboks opened up and showed the other side of their game.

Mapimpi kicked ahead from the left wing and was on hand to receive a pass from center Lukhanyo Am to race over near the posts in the 67th minute.

Kolbe's try was even better, the right winger scampering down the touch line before sidestepping England captain Farrell and running through unchecked in the 74th.

That Mapimpi and Kolbe scored the tries and Kolisi led the Boks out as captain made this a poignant and transcendent night for a country still trying to fully emerge from the apartheid era.

Two years ago, South African rugby was on its knees — beaten 57-0 by the All Blacks of New Zealand and losing by a record margin to Ireland. Rassie Erasmus came in as coach in February 2018, got the team playing to its strengths and the Springboks are world champions for the third time from seven tournaments they have played.