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On This Day: South Africa beat England in 2007 Rugby World Cup final

OTD: South Africa beat England in 2007 Rugby World Cup final
© Reuters
England were hoping to defend their crown when facing South Africa in the 2007 World Cup final, but Brian Ashton's men lost to the Springboks on this day 14 years ago.

On the back of winning the 2003 edition, England were hopeful of successfully defending their Rugby World Cup crown four years later.

However, during a campaign where they suffered a 36-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa during the group stages, Brian Ashton's squad could take pride from reaching the final and giving a better account of themselves against the Springboks.

The showpiece, which was held in Paris on this day 14 years ago, was dominated by penalties during the early stages, South Africa establishing a 6-3 lead after 16 minutes.

Percy Montgomery added a third penalty for South Africa just before the break, before England's near miss shortly after half time ultimately proved decisive.

Mark Cueto thought that he had touched down for the first try of an attritional final, only for the video referee to adjudge that his trailing foot had gone into touch by the finest of margins.

Jonny Wilkinson would soon get England back to 9-6, but further penalties from Montgomery and Francois Steyn by the 62nd minute left England with a mountain to climb.

Their challenge soon petered out during the final stages, allowing captain John Smit to lift the trophy to mark South Africa's second World Cup triumph.

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England's Mark Cueto fails to score a try during the Rugby World Cup final against South Africa at the Stade de France Stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, October 20, 2007
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