In 2007, England came within an inch of becoming the first nation to win back-to-back World Cup championships.

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With England sitting six points adrift of South Africa and 20 minutes left on the clock, wing Mark Cueto looked to have scored a try which would have given England a chance at taking the lead and suffocating the Springboks out of the match.

After over two minutes of deliberations, the TMO ruled that Cueto’s foot had grazed the sideline in the tackle of Danie Rossouw.

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South Africa went on to win the match 15-6.

Cueto’s been haunted by the non-try ever since.

“Everyone takes the mick out of me when I say I still think it was a try but I genuinely do,” said Cueto in the build-up to last year’s World Cup final between the same two nation. “There’s a million angles to suggest it was a try and there was one angle where it was 50-50.

“South Africa didn’t get in our 22, they scored all their points from penalties. You never know how it would have gone but we were confident we could have closed the game out.”

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With all rugby at a standstill in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cueto likely hasn’t lacked for time to reflect – and he’s now doubled down on his call that the wrong decision was made 13 years ago.

South Africa Rugby magazine tweeted earlier this week that journalist Jon Cardinelli’s favourite World Cup moment was Rossouw’s tackle – and Cueto was quick to respond.

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While Cueto may be sticking to his guns on that matter, he may well be wishing he hadn’t spoken up prior to last year’s final.

“I see it as a positive,” Cueto said. “It’s my fifth year since I retired and you soon get forgotten so it’s quite a nice thing to be remembered. Obviously I’d rather be remembered for something a bit more positive.

“Certainly this week I knew it was going to be mentioned more than ever. I don’t know when it will go away, I think maybe if we go on to beat South Africa this weekend and win the World Cup then there’s almost no reason to refer back to ’07 any more. From a selfish point of view, that would be sad because then I’d be really forgotten, wouldn’t I?”

South Africa, of course, triumphed 32-12, consigning the English to another loss against their Southern Hemisphere rivals. There were no moments of controversy to speak about, England were simply outplayed across the park.

It looks like Mark Cueto and his ‘try’ won’t be forgotten any time soon.

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