England were stunned by South Africa’s relentless intensity as their World Cup quest ended with a crushing 32-12 defeat in the final at International Stadium Yokohama.
A tense arm wrestle delivered its critical moment in the 66th minute when Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am combined brilliantly down the left wing for the first of the Springboks’ two tries.
England’s defence was unlocked by the speed and accuracy of a move that saw Mapimpi cross to become the first Springbok to score a try in a World Cup final.
And with Eddie Jones’ men forcing their attack in desperate pursuit of an unlikely comeback win, wing Cheslin Kolbe switched on the afterburners to deliver the knockout punch with six minutes remaining.
The victory maintains South Africa’s 100 per cent record in finals and enables Siya Kolisi’s team to join the famed Springboks of 1995 and 2007.