South Africa and Ireland, two of the favourites for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, meet in a huge Pool B clash at the Stade de France this Saturday.
From high in the stands at Stadium Australia, the fateful moment was at first difficult to discern. The eye was drawn to the England players who, having lost a World Cup final, lay crumpled on the Sydney turf in assorted states of anguish. Their agonies stood in the starkest contrast to the body language of 23 young Spanish women who lined up to collect their winners’ medals from a national welcome party, led by Queen Letizia, Princess Sofia and one over-exuberant gentleman named Luis Rubiales.
England have taken a stranglehold on Pool D after delivering comprehensive victories over Argentina and Japan but, for different reasons, neither performance set the tournament alight.