Exeter Chiefs roared back from 17-3 down to stun Worcester Warriors and claim a thrilling Premiership triumph on Sunday.

The Chiefs were indebted to Harry Williams as the prop's late converted try sealed a dramatic 24-20 victory at Sixways. 

A very different story appeared to be unfolding when Perry Humphreys touched down twice in the first half for the hosts, with Duncan Weir adding the extras both times and kicking a penalty.

But the Chiefs, beaten in the final last season after topping the table, cut the deficit courtesy of Jack Maunder's score.

And the second half belonged to the visitors, who ramped up the pressure when Matt Kvesic dotted down against his former club.

Another Weir penalty looked to have earned the Warriors some breathing space but Williams had other ideas and powered over to win it for his side. 

As South Africa celebrate a record-equalling third Rugby World Cup triumph, the newly-crowned champions are among a host of top international sides heading into a new era.

Rassie Erasmus worked wonders in a short space of time to transform the Springboks from failures into the best side in the world after taking over as head coach last March.

He has now relinquished the role to concentrate solely on his position as director of rugby, having juggled both jobs, and he will be a tough act to follow.

Steve Hansen's glorious New Zealand reign also came to an end in Japan, while Warren Gatland's long Wales tenure is over and Ireland will start life without Joe Schmidt following their quarter-final exit.

Australia are in the market for a new head coach too, and France have moved on from the man who led them in Japan. We take a look at their situations.

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Erasmus only agreed to fill in as head coach when Allister Coetzee's turbulent spell in charge came to an end, but he has ruled out staying on.

The 46-year-old became the first man to oversee a Rugby Championship and World Cup triumph in the same year, but will now focus on a job with a wide-ranging remit.

South Africa are reportedly expected to promote from within to replace Erasmus, with defence coach Jacques Nienaber the leading contender.

Mzwandile Stick and Matt Proudfoot are also members of the current coaching step up who could be in the running.

 

NEW ZEALAND

The All Blacks are likely to opt for continuity as they consider who should be charged with the task of succeeding Hansen.

New Zealand were unable to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third time in a row, but Hansen has left a lasting legacy.

The 60-year-old spent 15 years on the coaching staff and was a huge success in the top job after earning a promotion.

Hansen championed his assistant, Ian Foster, to replace him. Crusaders coach Scott Robertson and Glasgow Warriors chief Dave Rennie are other possibilities.

 

AUSTRALIA

The under-pressure Michael Cheika quit as Wallabies coach after an emphatic quarter-final defeat to England.

Cheika's position had long since been called into question and the new man will take over a side sixth in the rankings and in need of a shake-up.

England head coach Eddie Jones has been linked with a second spell in charge of his country, but said before a defeat to the Springboks in the final that he has not been in contact with Rugby Australia.

Cheika said an Australian should replace him and Stephen Larkham could be in the reckoning, though Rennie may get the nod if they look overseas.

 

WALES

Wayne Pivac was confirmed as Gatland's successor last year - a reward for his success with the Scarlets.

The former policeman will have big shoes to fill, with Gatland having turned Wales into a consistent force and winning the Grand Slam in his final Six Nations.

Gatland parted by stating it would break his heart if Wales returned to the doldrums, as if his compatriot Pivac was not already aware of the standards he would be expected to maintain.

 

IRELAND

Andy Farrell gets his chance to be Ireland's main man after Schmidt decided it was time to take a break.

The experienced Englishman has made a big impact as defence coach and Irish Rugby Football Union chiefs are confident he can be a success.

One of Farrell's first jobs will be to appoint a new captain after Rory Best's retirement and he will take over a strong squad, one smarting from a World Cup quarter-final exit.

 

FRANCE

France are in need of some stability with a World Cup to come on home soil in four years' time and they will be hoping Fabien Galthie is the man to provide it.

Galthie takes over from Jacques Brunel after Les Bleus were knocked out by Wales at the quarter-final stage in Japan.

Former France captain Galthie is contracted until 2023 and could be assisted by Shaun Edwards, who has played such a big part in Wales' success under Gatland.

Pieter-Steph du Toit has won World Rugby's Player of the Year award and Rassie Erasmus took the Coach of the Year accolade, a day after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup.

Du Toit played a huge part in the Springboks becoming the first team to win the Rugby Championship and lift the Webb Ellis Cup in the same year.

The lock was presented with the gong on Sunday after being shortlisted along with team-mate Cheslin Kolbe, England flanker Tom Curry, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, New Zealand flanker Ardie Savea and United States hooker Joe Taufete'e.

Erasmus was named the best coach in the world after working wonders in a short space of time for the newly-crowned world champions, having only taken over in March 2018.

Former Springbok player Erasmus said: "As everybody knows I'm finishing up as head coach. I will definitely be involved as director of rugby. We are all trying to be like the All Blacks, we all know what New Zealand has done over the last 12 years - they have set the bar right up there.

"We have enjoyed the last 24 hours and we are going to enjoy the next two weeks and then start working and try to be like New Zealand, be consistent and stay number one or two in the world."

South Africa inevitably claimed the World Rugby Team of the Year award after matching the All Blacks' tally of three World Cup triumphs.

England centre Emily Scarratt received the women's World Player of the Year award at the ceremony in Tokyo.

Bill Beaumont praised Rugby World Cup hosts Japan for hosting "one of the greatest, if not the greatest" tournament after the 2019 edition climaxed with South Africa crowned champions.

World Rugby opted to take the tournament to Asia for the first time with the aim of boosting the sport's popularity on the continent.

The home nation duly provided one of the main storylines by progressing to the quarter-finals, the Brave Blossoms receiving huge support as they qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

The Springboks ended Japan's run on their way to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, with Beaumont – who serves as World Rugby's chairman – delighted with how the six-week event panned out.

"Rugby World Cup 2019 has been one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time, and certainly the most ground-breaking in terms of bringing the game to new audiences and attracting new fans to the sport we love," he said a day after South Africa's 32-12 final win over England.

"On behalf of the whole global rugby family, I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts Japan and the Japanese people for being such wonderful, humble and history-making hosts.

"While South Africa will rightly take home the Webb Ellis Cup following their outstanding victory, the amazing performances of the Brave Blossoms undoubtedly brought some of the most memorable moments of the tournament."

Typhoon Hagibis caused issues for tournament organisers – with some fixtures postponed due to safety concerns – but Beaumont commended the Japanese people for their "resilience and determination" during difficult times.

Official figures released confirmed attendance numbers at 99.3 per cent for games, while a record crowd of 70,103 were at Yokohama International Stadium to witness Saturday's final.

"The way Japan reacted to the incredibly difficult events surrounding Typhoon Hagibis was a tribute to the resilience and determination of the people of this wonderful country and we continue to think about all those who lost loved ones or were affected by this tragic event," the former England international added.

"Finally, I would like to thank all 20 teams, the players, match officials, host cities and the amazing 'No Side' volunteers who all played their full part in ensuring Rugby World Cup 2019 will live long in the memory.

"Japan 2019 has broken records galore and has changed the face of rugby forever."

Scarlets bounced back from their thrashing at the hands of Edinburgh to beat Cheetahs 17-13 in the Pro14 on Saturday.

Tries from Steff Evans and Kieran Hardy, allied to seven points from the boot of Dan Jones, saw the hosts seal a narrow triumph in sodden conditions at Parc y Scarlets.

It marked a spirited response to their 46-7 drubbing against Edinburgh last weekend. 

The South African side took the lead through Tian Meyer's early try but Evans – making his 100th appearance for the club – and Hardy touched down before the interval to tip the balance in Scarlets' favour.

Second-half penalties from Tian Schoeman and Ruan Pienaar set up a tense finale, but Jones had the final say from the tee.

Connacht matched Scarlets in making it four wins from five after defeating Ospreys 20-10 away from home, while Edinburgh were brought back down to earth in a narrow 18-16 loss at Benetton Treviso.

The final game of the day saw Cardiff Blues suffer a fourth defeat in a row as last season's semi-finalists Munster wrapped up a 33-23 bonus-point triumph in Wales.

South Africa were crowned champions at the end of an enthralling Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

The tournament in Japan proved a huge success, with packed-out venues and fervent support from a nation that has embraced the sport.

For their part, the hosts produced one of the great upsets by beating number-one ranked Ireland in the pool phase.

But it was the Springboks, having ended Japan's run at the quarter-final stage, who lifted the trophy after thrashing England 32-12 in Yokohama.

Here, we take a look back at the top Opta facts from six memorable weeks.

- South Africa are the only side to boast a 100 per cent win rate in Rugby World Cup finals, winning on each of their three such appearances.

- The Springboks scored two tries in the final against England, the first time they had ever crossed for a try in a Rugby World Cup final. They are still yet to concede one in the showpiece event.

- Japan reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, becoming the first Asian nation to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament. 

- Ireland suffered a seventh Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat. They have never made it past the last eight; no side has endured as many losses at that stage of the tournament.

- New Zealand have been knocked out before the Rugby World Cup final on five occasions, however only once before has the side who eliminated the All Blacks before the final gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup (Australia in 1991). 

- The All Blacks had won 18 games in a row at the Rugby World Cup before their semi-final defeat to England, the longest winning run in the history of the tournament.

- Scotland became the first side to 'nil' their opponents in back-to-back Rugby World Cup games, keeping both Samoa and Russia scoreless in consecutive matches. 

- There were eight red cards shown at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, at least twice as many as any other edition of the tournament (four in 1995 and 1999).

- Jake Polledri beat 27 defenders in the pool stage for Italy, the most ever recorded by a forward in an entire edition of the Rugby World Cup (Buck Shelford 22 for New Zealand in 1987), despite playing just 196 minutes. 

- Against Canada, South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick ever in a Rugby World Cup match, crossing for his third try in the 21st minute.

Manu Vunipola kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure a dramatic 16-13 win for Saracens over London Irish at Allianz Park in the Premiership on Saturday.

On a day when cousins Billy and Mako suffered Rugby World Cup final heartache with England, Vunipola was the hero for the reigning champions – but only after he flirted with playing the role of villain.

Mark McCall's side were 8-6 ahead at the break, Alex Lozowski's penalty and a try from Titi Lamositele coming between a pair of three-pointers from the boot of Stephen Myler.

Irish initially turned the tables after the break as Albert Tuisue dotted down at the end of a driving maul and Myler added the extras. 

But, with time running out, Ben Earl forced his way over to tie it up and, though Vunipola was wayward with a twice-taken conversion, he split the posts with a penalty that proved to be the last action of the game.

In the other two games, both Leicester Tigers and Wasps picked up their first wins of the season.

The Tigers dished out a first defeat of the campaign to Gloucester, triumphing 16-13, while Wasps overcame Bath 30-22.

After leading South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory, Rassie Erasmus claimed he was ready to resign as the Springboks' coach had they not beaten New Zealand in Wellington last year.

South Africa recorded an emphatic 32-12 victory over England to secure a record-equalling third world title in Yokohama.

In a post-match news conference, Erasmus was asked about the importance of his side's 36-34 Rugby Championship win over New Zealand in September 2018, which was widely seen as a crucial, morale-boosting triumph.

"Prior to that one we lost to Australia and Argentina, and I clearly can remember I said 'listen, if we don't win that one I'm definitely willing to resign because I've never in my coaching career lost three games in a row at any level'," revealed Erasmus.

"I thought if I lose three games in a row, I don't deserve to be the Springbok coach. We had a great chat and I said if I am preaching that we must be consistent and give people hope by the way we're playing ... but we're losing to Argentina and Australia and now we lose three in a row, then I'm out of here.

"We had that honest chat and then the boys went and beat New Zealand in Wellington. So it was pretty important, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here."

Erasmus, who will stay on as South Africa's director of rugby but relinquish head coaching duties, hopes the Boks can build on their World Cup win with a period of sustained success.

"When I took over, it was 618 days to the World Cup and we planned to the World Cup, to try and win the World Cup. I think it's now 614 days to the British and Irish Lions and we'll start planning now for the British and Irish Lions," he added.

"Obviously we have the Rugby Championship next year and Super Rugby and all the normal local competitions, but I think it's 614 days or close to that before the British and Irish Lions land in South Africa, so we'll start planning for that now.

"What we are trying to do is be consistent now. The thing we were terrible at in 2018, we were up and down. This year, we've played 12 games and we've lost one, so we're getting that consistency back.

"And yes, we've got the World Cup here, but going into next year, if you lose the first Test match people forget about the World Cup.

"So we want to get consistency now and work towards the British and Irish Lions, the next World Cup and so on."

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus provided an inspirational insight into how a sense of perspective helped his side handle pressure on their way to Rugby World Cup glory.

The Springboks came into the final as underdogs but overpowered England to secure a comprehensive 32-12 win and earn a record-equalling third world title.

In the lead-up to Saturday's decider in Yokohama, much focus centred on what it would mean for Boks skipper Siya Kolisi - the first black captain of his country - to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup aloft.

Asked how South Africa kept their composure despite knowing the potential impact a victory could make, Erasmus delivered a detailed and moving response.

"This was my first World Cup as a coach and I think actually the first All Black game [a pool match South Africa lost 23-13] was a great test run for us in terms of handling pressure," he said.

"We were terrible that week, the way we were tense and talking about things. The whole week was just a terrible build-up for that pool game and that taught us a lot about how to handle the quarter-final, semi-final and so on. But overall, we started talking about what pressure is.

"In South Africa, pressure is not having a job. Pressure is one of your close relatives being murdered. In South Africa there is a lot of problems, which is pressure, and we started talking about things like that. And rugby shouldn't be something that creates pressure. Rugby should be something that creates hope.

"We started talking about how we've got a privilege of giving people hope, not a burden of giving people hope. But hope is not talking about hope and saying you've got hope and tweeting a beautiful tweet and things like that. Hope is when you play well and people watch the game on the Saturday ... and feel good afterwards.

"No matter your political differences or religious differences or whatever, for those 80 minutes you agree with a lot of things when you normally disagree. We just started believing in that and saying that is not our responsibility, that's our privilege to try and fix those things.

"And the moment you see it that way, it becomes a hell of a privilege and you start working towards that. I think that is the way we tackled this whole World Cup campaign. I hope that answers your question."

Erasmus also highlighted the incredible journey of Kolisi, who grew up in deep poverty and watched South Africa's 2007 World Cup win in a township tavern as he did not have a TV at home.

Asked to describe Kolisi, Erasmus said: "It's easy to talk about going through hard times and struggling to get opportunities where other people do, but I think it's tough to tell people that there were days when I didn't have food, there were days when I didn't have a lift to go to school, or I couldn't go to school or I didn't have shoes to wear.

"The moment you hear that a lot, you almost get used to that, as a team-mate or as a rugby supporter or anybody, maybe you guys sitting here. Maybe you hear that a lot.

"But when you sit down and you think about it clearly - that there was a stage when Siya went through stuff like that, where he didn't physically have food, or he didn't have shoes to wear or he couldn't get to school. And then you think here he sits as a captain and he led South Africa to hold this cup.

"I think that should sum up what Siya is."

Eddie Jones conceded England may have been suffering a hangover from their stunning Rugby World Cup triumph over New Zealand as they slumped to a lacklustre defeat in the final.

South Africa were underdogs in Yokohama on Saturday but emerged as dominant 32-12 winners against an England side who had comfortably seen off the All Blacks in the semi-final.

Wales coach Warren Gatland, whose team were beaten 19-16 by the Springboks in their last-four meeting, had sounded a warning to England when he suggested they may have peaked too soon in that win over the reigning champions.

And Jones was not able to dismiss that notion as he gathered his thoughts after a chastening loss in Japan.

"That could be a factor, I'm not sure," he said. "I don't know why we didn't play well and this is one of those things that happens in high-level rugby.

"We thought our preparation was good, but at the end of the day it wasn't, because we didn't play well.

"You can have the most investigative debrief of your game and you still don't know what was wrong.

"It's not a good day for it to happen, we're going to be kicking stones now for four years and it's hard to kick stones for four years, so we're massively disappointed, but at the same time I've got great admiration for what the players did.

"I can't tell you how much respect I've got for how hard they've worked, how well they've played. We came up short, but it's not because of a lack of effort."

Jones was pressed on how England's efforts at the tournament should be remembered and, while he admitted they had come up short of their ultimate goal, he was looking forward to drowning his sorrows with his players over the coming days.

"We are the second best team in the world," he said. "We didn't meet our goal, our goal was to be the best team in the world, but we are the second best team in the world, so I think that's how we should be remembered.

"The only thing we are worried about now is having a few beers and after we've had a few beers today, we'll probably have a few more tomorrow and then probably Monday and then probably we'll have to pull up stumps."

Handre Pollard hopes the exploits of South Africa's Rugby World Cup stars can spread a message of hope and unity in their homeland.

Fly-half Pollard, man of the match in the semi-final win against Wales, was again in supreme form from the kicking tee – booting 22 points in a resounding 32-12 final win over England in Yokohama.

Siya Kolisi, as South Africa's first black captain, lifted the trophy in a moment of deep symbolic significant for a nation that poignantly emerged from the ravages of apartheid with their first World Cup win in 1995.

Francois Pienaar was the toast of the nation on that occasion, but Pollard explained how Kolisi - who hails from the Zwide township just north of Port Elizabeth - leading a third triumphant World Cup campaign was a moment of huge significance.

"You can't actually put it into words and only South Africans will really understand what it means to us as a country going forward," he told ITV.

"It's a truly historic day for us. Yes, we won the Rugby World Cup, which is great for us as players and the management. We'll remember that for ever.

"But the magnitude of what happened today for our country it truly something special.

"[I hope it represents] just unity. It's a diverse group, lots of different cultures. We've got five languages in our side.

"We got together and had one vision. This is what you can do if you all work together and stand together.

"Hopefully we can take this message home, where it's not always going great, but hopefully we can give the people of South Africa hope."

Tries in the final 15 minutes from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe added deserved gloss to a win underpinned by South Africa's formidable forward power.

"We believe in the way we play. We've played that same style of play for two years now," Pollard added.

"We execute it well and when our forwards pitch up physically the way they did tonight… it was unbelievable. It was a massive effort from the boys."

Man of the match Duane Vermeulen revealed South Africa targeted England flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill during their dominant 32-12 Rugby World Cup final win.

Number eight Vermeulen was the standout performer in a superlative Springbok pack, whose impressive work at the breakdown allayed with set-piece dominance laid the foundations for victory.

Curry and Underhill – 21 and 23 respectively – have been two of the breakout stars of the tournament and Vermeulen was determined to stop them from having any more joy.

"We knew England had two fantastic young fetchers in Underhill and Curry - they've been superb this whole tournament," he said.

"We knew we had to do something at the breakdown. We got a few turnovers, they got a few and it's fantastic to walk away with this win."

South Africa's superiority at the scrum was frequently compounded by Handre Pollard's unerring boot, with Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe adding gloss to the scoreline with tries inside the final quarter of an hour.

"We've got a good bunch of forwards – the starters, the 'Bomb Squad' as they're known, they've made a fantastic impact off the bench," Vermeulen said.

"They laid a fantastic platform for the guys and you get the advantage in penalties."

Mapimpi and captain Siya Kolisi hail from South Africa's townships and Vermeulen was keen to highlight the symbolic significance of this team for the Rainbow Nation.

"We're doing it for each other but we're also doing it for 57 million people back home in South Africa," he added.

"We wanted to be consistent as a team and try to achieve something – in a way, trying to create hope. Hopefully we achieved that goal."

George Ford cited England's first-half inaccuracy as a key factor in their Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

A week on from producing one of the great Test displays to beat defending champions New Zealand 19-7, Eddie Jones' men failed to hit anything like the same heights, with the Springboks' immense physicality proving decisive.

Fly-half Ford was replaced by Henry Slade early in the second half as England went down 32-12, late tries for Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe sealing a record-equalling third title for South Africa after Handre Pollard had kicked six penalties.

"We were massively inaccurate first half when we had the ball, [and] couldn't build any pressure," Ford told ITV Sport.

"South Africa got us into that game which they're very good at, so it's very, very disappointing from us and it's a hard one to take."

England's forwards struggled to match their South African counterparts, but Ford was keen to highlight his pack's efforts throughout the tournament.

"You always want to get on the front foot. I can't fault our lads up front - they've been unbelievable all tournament," he said. "South Africa just got one over us today and it's one we have to take on the chin.

"It's so tough when they get a bit of a lead like that. They keep kicking the threes and you have to chase the game.

"Congratulations to them - they executed their game plan brilliantly."

Eddie Jones said England were simply not good enough and had been beaten by the better side after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup with a dominant 32-12 victory.

Handre Pollard booted 22 points, while tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe gave the Springboks breathing space as they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a record-equalling third time.

England were overpowered by Rassie Erasmus' ferocious side in Yokohama on Saturday after suffering the early blow of losing prop Kyle Sinckler due to concussion.

Four penalties from Owen Farrell kept England in touch, but they were second best from the start and head coach Jones admitted they had fallen short.

"We just struggled to get in the game. The effort of the players was outstanding but we struggled to get on the front foot." said the Australian.

"I can't fault the preparation of the players, they've worked hard the entire World Cup and I think they've played with a lot of pride and passion.

"We just weren't good enough today and congratulations to South Africa on an outstanding performance."

Captain Farrell feels England made great strides in Japan despite the agony of missing out on being crowned world champions for a second time.

"We didn't start it [the game] well. We probably had a disappointing first half, but I'm proud of this group, I'm proud of what we've done, how far we've come over the course of this tournament." the skipper said.

"It showed with the fight that we had in the second half, but credit to South Africa, they were very good today."

South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus spoke of his pride after his players sealed the country's third Rugby World Cup with a stunning victory over England.

England came into Saturday's final in Yokohama as favourites after accounting for defending champions New Zealand in the last four, while the Springboks had edged past Wales.

But South Africa controlled the showpiece in an emphatic 32-12 victory, with Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scoring the only two tries of the match and Handre Pollard adding 22 points with the boot.

Duane Vermeulen inspired South Africa with a man-of-the-match performance and Erasmus felt his team's cohesion proved decisive in a year that also saw them win the Rugby Championship.

"I'm so proud of them, we fought hard until the end," Erasmus said after the match.

"I just think the boys believed in themselves, we are a bunch of guys who have been together for 19 weeks and we know one another really well. 

"We have got so much respect for England and we really prepared well. I think we were also a little bit fortunate but we are really enjoying it at this stage.

"To the Springboks supporters I would like to say we never felt alone here in Japan, we felt them all the way. 

"Not just the supporters here in Japan, but also those back home – all the messages on WhatsApp, Facebook, the Twitter feeds. We know there are millions there, we know they support us.

"We love them. We can't wait to get back home."

South Africa are the first team to win the World Cup having lost a pool game, reeling off six straight victories after dropping their opening match to New Zealand.

Erasmus, who assumed head coach duties in March 2018, is stepping down from that role after the tournament but continuing as director of rugby. 

He was asked what he had identified as key priorities to get the Springboks back to the top when he first took charge of the team.

Erasmus said: "Just use our players and the intelligence, all the resources and supporters we have in South Africa. 

"There are so many good things we have in South Africa. In the past we always seemed to look at all the bad things.

"We just decided, 'Listen let's stand together and work really hard and play well on the field and all the other things from that will come out later'. 

"I think that's what we did and eventually now we have won the World Cup, so that's great."

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