… after powering Boks to win the World Cup

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MARC POZZO

England’s Eddie Jones was at a loss to explain a crushing 32- 12 Rugby World Cup final defeat by South Africa as he admitted his team were “caught short” on Saturday.

In my opinion England played their final in the semifinal against the All Blacks. Take nothing away from the Boks they deserved the win without any doubt.

Many pundits, me included had forecast a tight contest but more in favour of the Roses, only for the Springboks to outmuscle England, who had themselves been too strong for reigning champions New Zealand in a stunning 19-7 semi-final win, at the scrum and breakdown in Yokohama.

Their traditional game, with number eight Duane Vermeulen outstanding, laid the platform for Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard to kick six penalties before wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored the only tries of the game against a drained England in the last 16 minutes.

This was Australian coach Jones’s second World Cup final defeat, having been in charge of his native Wallabies when they lost to England in the 2003 showpiece. Jones, who knows South Africa well, having been a consultant to the Springboks side that beat England in the 2007 World Cup final in Paris, said the key to playing them was “staying in the fight”.

England lost Kyle Sinckler in just the third minute after the prop appeared to be concussed, in a collision with teammate Maro Itoje. Jones, whose England contract runs for two more years, deflected questions about whether he would still be in charge for the 2023 World Cup in France. I believe Jones will continue as coach and will want to get the business done in France 2023.

Once that game was done I needed to drown my sorrows and my beloved Liverpool had to dig deep to come from behind to beat Aston Villa with 2 late goals. I still think Martin Atkinson who was in charge of VAR on the day, denied Firmino a goal which clearly was a goal. He is renowned not to like Liverpool, as Roberto Firmino had the ball in the net from Mane’s low cross at the other end only to see the flag up straight away.

It went to VAR where Firmino was adjudged to be offside by the narrowest possible margin, with his armpit being the wrong side of the invisible line, to which Klopp was bemused when questioned after the match.

Klopp’s side had trailed for more than an hour to a goal from Trezeguet and a combination of VAR, poor finishing and heroic defending looked set to end their unbeaten start to the league season. But first Andy Robertson popped up with an equaliser when he headed in Sadio Mane’s cross with four minutes left. Up next for the mighty Reds next Sunday is Man City at Anfield.

I woke up on Sunday morning slightly thinking Saturday was some of dream however I soon got over it when I turned on the telly to watch the golf in China where Rory McIlroy defeated defending champion Xander Schauffele on Sunday to win his first WGC-HSBC Champions tournament and continue his quest to retake the world’s top golf ranking.

McIlroy had a one-stroke lead coming to the 18th tee of regulation play in Shanghai but nearly put his drive into the lake, and ended with a par. That left him tied with Schauffele after the American carded a birdie. But the 30-year-old Northern Irishman erased any doubt in the playoff replay of the par-5 18th, booming a drive to the middle of the fairway while Schauffele’s tee shot missed left.

McIlroy went on to win the hole and the $1.745m winner’s purse at the par-72 Sheshan International Golf Club. McIlroy is coming off a strong 2018-19 season that saw him climb the world golf rankings, and he said this week in Shanghai that his sights were set on retaking the top slot from its current holder, American Brooks Koepka. He did not drop a shot over his final 38 regulation holes and went 67-67-67-68 to finish at 19 under for the event.

Schauffele, gunning to become the first back-to-back winner of east Asia’s premiere tournament, shot a six-under 66. What a great finish that was. Now, as I work on the radio each morning I get to comment on most of the daily newspapers, and one that really got me going was the front page picture in Friday’s NewsDay.

It was titled “JUNK YARD”. So there was this picture of a lonely Caps Utd fan sitting at the National Stadium in the stands. Next to him sat heaps of empty boxes of fried chicken boxes littering the stadium and not cleaned up for a week.

In fact six days after, the anti-sanctions march they were still there. That’s disgusting to say the least, if you ask me. How can this not have been cleaned up who is in charge of the national stadium they should be ashamed that this made the local press.

But you know what: Nothing will be done and fat salaries, will continue to be paid out, and ticket prices for local football games will continue to increase, so as to keep those in their accustomed lifestyles.