A battle of Rugby titans is all set for Saturday night in Paris in the World Cup Final. Defending champions England will face 1995 champions South Africa in a real grudge match between Commonwealth heavyweights. As usual, this event will be about much more than just the match.
As usual, politicians will get involved with their country’s sporting successes. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, although Scottish and admittedly disappointed with the Scots’ earlier tournament exit, will support England and attend along with South African President Thabo Mbeki and like in 1995 they will bring out the South African face to the world, Nelson Mandela who famously donned the Springbok jersey in 1995. The success of the 1995 tournament is widely regarded as a significant moment of national unity in post-apartheid South Africa and a sign of arrival to the world.
England will again try to repeat and win a major international sports tournament behind their man, Jonny Wilkinson, after failing in their favorite sport, soccer, for the past 40+ years since their 1966 World Cup Soccer triumph.
It should be interesting and I have to say that I will be rooting for South Africa-a sports mad country with rabid and loyal fans and it will be a nice boost for them before they host Africa’s first World Cup of Soccer in 2010.