When Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard was working out if he could kick the 55-minute penalty that would win the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal against hosts France, on-field captain Bongi Mbonambi screamed into his ear: “This is for South Africa.”

And it was. Pollard slotted that kick as he did six days later against England, when the lacklustre, emotionally exhausted Springboks stumbled into the final...

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