DTH van der Merwe wiped away tears to score the best try of the World Cup so far in Canada’s heartbreaking 23-18 loss to Italy on Saturday.
The 29-year-old South African-born wing, in his third World Cup for the Canucks, remained phlegmatic about his try which he started from well inside his own half and completed.
“It was maybe one of the most special ones, doing it here on the world stage,” said van der Merwe.
“I listen to the World in Union song before each game and it brings a tear to my eye.”
The score moved van der Merwe onto 18 tries in his Test career – he made his debut against Barbados in 2006 – joint second alongside James Pritchard on the national all-time standings.
“I am going into battle with James,” said van der Merwe.
“Obviously he wasn’t here going into the World Cup so I’ve been texting him a few cheeky messages saying I’m coming for him, and so it’s a good rivalry I have with him.
“He’s back in the squad and will be putting his hand up for selection, so we can go into competition.”
Despite his superb contribution, van der Merwe was disappointed at seeing victory escape his adopted country’s clutches despite dominating the game against a workmanlike Italy side.
“We put in a hell of an effort and the boys are sore,” said van der Merwe.
“We came close, the game was there for the taking but we made some key decisions that resulted in us not winning, making poor passes and not taking extra rucks.”
For veteran lock Jamie Cudmore, 37, who had an oustanding game, there was a sense of frustration at the narrow defeat.
However, the Clermont stalwart took some humour out of the situation especially over the television match official’s decision to not allow a second-half try by Phil MacKenzie on account of a forward pass..
“We are all extremely frustrated. I think for the good of rugby, they could have let the forward pass go,” he said laughing.
Italy flanker Mauro Bergamasco became only the second player to take part in five World Cups when he came on in the second-half of Italy’s 23-18 Pool D victory over Canada on Saturday.
The 36-year-old, who made the first of his 105 Test appearances back in 1998 in a World Cup qualifier against Holland, joins Samoa’s Brian Lima in the elite club.
However, he wasn’t satisfied at just being a bit-part player.
“I haven’t reached my objectives yet,” said Bergamasco.
“My first aim was to get into the 31-man squad, then to play. Today I was on the bench.
“The beer can wait till later.”
Bergamasco made his first appearance at a World Cup finals in 1999, a 67-7 whipping by England.