New Zealand v South Africa LIVE: Rugby World Cup final score and result as Springboks beat All Blacks in Paris

South Africa hung on to beat New Zealand in a tense 2023 Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France in Paris, and in doing so they became the first men’s side to win the tournament for a fourth time.

The All Blacks entered the contest as slight favourites following a comprehensive 44-6 victory against Argentina, while the Springboks reached Saturday’s showpiece event after a last-minute penalty secured them a narrow 16-15 win over England.

South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi suffered a nightmare start to the match as a knee injury forced the hooker off after only four minutes, four years after he lasted only 20 minutes in the 2019 World Cup final. New Zealand’s Shannon Frizell was shown a yellow card for causing Mbonambi’s injury, but worse was to come for the All Blacks when captain Sam Cane was sent off for a dangerous tackle on the Springboks’ Jesse Kriel, and South Africa led 12-6 at half-time.

A Beauden Barrett try pulled New Zealand back to within one point of their rivals, but the All Blacks couldn’t find anything more, and they went down 12-11 as the Springboks retained their crown.

Follow all the reaction from the final below.

New Zealand vs South Africa live

  • Full-time! New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

  • TRY! New Zealand 11-12 South Africa (Beauden Barrett, 58 minutes)

  • Half-time! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa (Richie Mo’unga, 38 minutes)

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 3-12 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 34 minutes)

  • RED CARD! All Blacks captain Sam Cane has his yellow upgraded for a high tackle

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 3-9 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 19 minutes)

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 3-6 South Africa (Richie Mo’unga, 17 minutes)

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 0-6 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 13 minutes)

  • PENALTY! New Zealand 0-3 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 3 minutes)

South Africa become kings of rugby with dramatic World Cup win over greatest rivals

Saturday 28 October 2023 23:06 , Mike Jones

In a Rugby World Cup that has treated us to some of the greatest matches the tournament has ever seen, the final provided the most fitting of conclusions. It won’t be remembered as a beacon of error-free perfection but the two greatest rugby nations on earth combined to produce a showpiece that was unbelievably compelling in its flaws and delivered almost impossible drama until the very last second.

South Africa and New Zealand entered as three-time winners of this tournament, a storied rivalry dating back over a century, a previous final that produced the sport’s most iconic image and with the victors able to seize a record fourth title and arguably the moniker of undisputed champions. Somehow, someway the Springboks prevailed 12-11 in a ludicrous finale and confirmed themselves as the ultimate tournament animals.

Long live the kings.

South Africa become kings of rugby with dramatic World Cup win over greatest rivals

Sam Cane, Siya Kolisi and a tale of two captains at the heart of this Rugby World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:48 , Mike Jones

Siya Kolisi charged on to the pitch with arms out wide, desperate for someone, anyone, to hug. Bongi Mbonambi was the first brought into his embrace, South Africa’s hooker having begun this game limping off with a knee injury now in cavorts, cock-a-hoop with the Springboks champions again.

Kolisi broke away in search of Cheslin Kolbe, finding the wing down on one knee in prayer. Kolbe had been able to watch the final moments, burying his head in his shirt like a child beneath a duvet, fearing his deliberate knock-on might cost Springboks back-to-back victories. His captain offered an arm on the shoulder before wrapping Kolbe up in a celebratory cuddle. After a night of madcap magnificence, South Africa had clung on.

All the while, Sam Cane remained seated, eyes shut, letting the pain wash over him. Cane had been a picture of focus emerging from the tunnel ahead of kick off, eyes fixed on the Webb Ellis Cup. That famous number seven was cast in vivid white against the deepness of the black shirt on his back as he gathered his side pre-match, taking pride of place at the front of the haka.

Sam Cane, Siya Kolisi and a tale of two captains at the heart of this World Cup final

South Africa stars on the ‘never-say-die attitude’ behind World Cup success

12:57 , PA

South Africa’s victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final was forged in their national psyche, according to some of the stars of their successful title defence.

Hosts France, England and the All Blacks each fell by a single point to a Springboks side who do not know when they are beaten, establishing them as rugby’s ultimate knockout specialists.

New Zealand overcame the red card shown to their captain Sam Cane for a dangerous tackle to take an enthralling final to the wire and even had opportunities to snatch South Africa’s crown.

But the repeat champions – now the most successful nation in men’s World Cup history with four titles – defended magnificently to ensure they they will return home on Tuesday as heroes.

The win in their own words:

South Africa stars on the ‘never-say-die attitude’ behind World Cup success

Springbok belief and physicality make for world beating mix

12:21 , Reuters

A record fourth Rugby World Cup showed South Africa’s dogged determination, which saw the team dig deep at critical moments.

Few sides have had as bruising a route to World Cup success as the Springboks in this tournament, playing against each of the other top six ranked nations on their way to the podium.

That road, culminating in a 12-11 win over traditional foes New Zealand in Saturday’s final at the Stade de France in Paris, but the Boks’ tenacity took them over the line when it counted.

They edged three successive knockout stage matches by a single point to claim the Webb Ellis Cup.

The team talked of a responsibility to provide some distraction for their beleaguered South Africa, which is struggling in an economic downturn with heavy unemployment, crime and corruption.

But while that had its place in motivating success, a full-hearted approach on the field ultimately gave them the edge.

“As a South African, as a Springbok, you always believe you are going to win,” said centre Jesse Kriel.

South Africa threw themselves wholeheartedly into battle, tackling tenaciously and putting their bodies on the line.

Their defence underpinned the victory, while forward power saw to the points, using their strengths to maximum effect to earn penalties that Handre Pollard duly dispatched.

There was also the confidence of being coached by a group who were both innovative and prepared to take risks, such as gambling on a lack of cover for their backs in the final.

Coach Jacques Nienaber admitted a sense of deliverance.

“Relief is the first word that comes to mind,” he said.

“We thought we can’t mess this up because we believed from 2018 they had the ability to win the World Cup. I’m relieved for the players, they deserve it,” he added

South African success was also built on experience. Fourteen of the 23 players who featured in the final were winners in Japan four years earlier. Yet they never looked like a side swaggering with the self-confidence of defending champions and, indeed were not among the pre-tournament favourites for many.

A loss in the pool stage to Ireland exposed vulnerabilities, although once flyhalf Pollard returned to fitness and was called up to the squad they were able to rely on his precision kicking.

Victory over France in the quarter-final spoilt the home party and the Boks left it late to edge England in the semi-final, both times displaying an extra strength of will.

“You don’t have doubts. Winning is a mindset, something we train for and that belief came through again,” Kriel said.

Rugby World Cup team of the tournament: Who makes our XV?

12:13 , Jamie Braidwood

The Rugby World Cup is at an end with South Africa securing back-to-back triumphs.

The Springboks edged a hard-fought final against New Zealand, holding on in the final moments to close out a third successive one-point win in the knockout rounds.

They were a number of individual stars in the squads of both finalists, and a handful of Springboks and All Blacks make our composite team at the close of a competitive and compelling World Cup.

But a campaign that highlighted the breadth and depth of the sport also brought some lesser known faces into consideration.

Who earns selection in The Independent’s team of the tournament? Find out below:

Rugby World Cup team of the tournament: Who makes our XV?

Eddie Jones resigns as Australia coach after disastrous World Cup campaign

09:58 , Jamie Braidwood

Eddie Jones has resigned as head coach of Australia, bringing to an end a disastrous second stint in charge of the Wallabies.

Jones replaced Dave Rennie as Australia coach in January after his sacking by England, but won just two of nine Tests this year.

Included within that run were Rugby World Cup defeats to Fiji and Wales which condemned the Wallabies to a first-ever pool stage exit.

The camp was also unsettled by reports that Jones had held talks with the Japanese Rugby Football Union (JRFU) over a possible return.

Eddie Jones resigns as Australia coach after disastrous World Cup campaign

Siya Kolisi hails departing South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber after World Cup win: ‘We love you’

09:36 , Jamie Braidwood

Siya Kolisi has paid an emotional tribute to Jacques Nienaber after the outgoing South Africa coach led the Springboks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup triumphs.

Nienaber’s final game in charge of South Africa ended in victory in Paris as Kolisi became only the second skipper to lift the Webb Ellis Cup twice.

The coach is now bound for Leinster, replacing Stuart Lancaster at the Dublin club.

Kolisi first encountered the coach while in the Western Province academy, and has previously credited Nienaber, and South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, with transforming his career.

And in the aftermath of the final victory, Kolisi hailed both the human and coaching qualities of the departing coach.

Siya Kolisi hails departing Jacques Nienaber after World Cup win: ‘We love you’

New Zealand captain Sam Cane opens up on Rugby World Cup ‘heartbreak’ after red card in final

08:21 , Jamie Braidwood

Sam Cane has said that he will carry the pain of his Rugby World Cup final sending off with him forever after New Zealand were beaten by South Africa.

All Blacks captain Cane became the first player to be sent off in a men’s World Cup final after making direct contact to the head of Springboks centre Jesse Kriel during the first half.

Having been shown yellow when the incident was placed on review, the sanction was upgraded in the TMO bunker to red, ending the flanker’s final just 33 minutes in.

New Zealand rallied in the second half but could not consistently break down a staunch South African defence, falling one point short in a 12-11 defeat.

And the beaten skipper admitted that the “heartbreak” would be tough to get over.

Sam Cane opens up on Rugby World Cup ‘heartbreak’ after red card in final

Siya Kolisi echos Nelson Mandela as he calls on South Africans to unite and ‘make a better country’

07:54 , Jamie Braidwood

Siya Kolisi called on the people of South Africa to learn from their rugby team and “make a better country” after captaining his side to a historic fourth World Cup.

The Springboks won a third match in a row by a solitary point as they edged out New Zealand in Paris, winning the final 12-11, to retain their crown as world champions.

In a message echoing the sentiments of Nelson Mandela in 1995, when South Africa won their first World Cup, Kolisi called on a still divided country to unite around rugby.

“There’s so much going wrong in our country, we are the last line of defence,” he said. “There’s so much division in the country, it is possible to work together as South Africans, not just on the rugby field, but in life in general. We can’t go away from that, 1995, without that I wouldn’t be here. For people who look like me, I’ve got a job to give whatever I can to the jersey, to show they can get opportunities like this.”

Siya Kolisi echos Mandela as he calls on South Africans to ‘make a better country’

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 23:12 , Mike Jones

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 23:03 , Mike Jones

New Zealand captain, Sam Cane, speaking after the match:

"Obviously extremely gutted and disappointed, first of all, the boys had to play with 14 men for the last 50 minutes, the courage they showed, incredible, the team is full of absolute warriors, it's tough.

“I'd like to say well done to South Africa. Back-to-back, they had a heck of a tough road to the final."

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 23:00 , Mike Jones

Faf de Klerk stopped by ITV to chat about winning the World Cup, again.

“Very special, very blessed, I don't know what to say.” He said, “Never say die attitude, it's something we've always had.

“We started unbelievably well, NZ going down to 14 men was a bad thing for us, they upped their game, just proud of the team. Hopefully it represents unity, what teamwork can do.

“A lot is lacking in our country. People from all races and backgrounds, supporting one goal, something we can learn in every day life. To make a better country and a better world.”

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:56 , Mike Jones

Here’s some post-match reaction from Siya Kolisi who was as inspiring as always with his thoughts about how winning a World Cup can transform South Africa.

£There's so much going wrong in our country, we are the last line of defence.” He said, “There's so much division in the country, it is possible to work together as South Africans, not just on the rugby field, but in life in general.

“We can't go away from that, 1995, without that I wouldn't be here.

“For people who look like me. I've got a job to give whatever I can to the jersey, to show they can get opportunities like this.”

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:52 , Mike Jones

Sam Warburton on New Zealand skipper, Sam Cane, getting sent off: "I think Sam Cane has been a phenomenal player, it's one of those things you get wrong.

“He's one of the best 7s, it's not the reason why they lost a the World Cup. It's not the end for him. A phenomenal captain and servant for New Zealand."

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:44 , Mike Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:36 , Mike Jones

Now it’s the Springboks’ turn to receive their medals. The rain is coming down again but it is not diminishing the smiles on the faces of the triumphant South Africans.

Siya Kolisi is the final player to stride onto the stage. The captain, the leader, the talisman of this heroic side walks up to the Rugby World Cup trophy...

... and hoists it aloft! South Africa are world champions for a second consecutive tournament. It’s their fourth triumphant it total.

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:30 , Mike Jones

Jonny Wilkinson was full of praise for New Zealand’s Jordie Barrett, who missed a long kick to put the All Blacks ahead in the closing stages, in the immediate aftermath of the final saying:

“The quality of his performance, he stepped up high when they went to 14, he nullified the one-man deficit, it's tough, it's so, so tough.

“You know you gave it everything. It's a shot, it's a long shot. You expect them to go over, more than 50 and at an angle. It wasn't far away.

“He can be immensely happy with what he brought to the team.”

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:28 , Mike Jones

The New Zealand players are heading up the podium for the worst walk in sport. They collect their runners-up medals with grace, a few tears and looks of bitter disappointment.

They cam so close to winning this World Cup. One point and a few inches to the right from Jordie Barrett’s kick and the trophy was theirs.

New Zealand v South Africa player ratings: Pieter-Steph du Toit leads Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:26 , Mike Jones

South Africa became the first nation to win the Rugby World Cup on four separate occasions as they edged out a 14-man New Zealand 12-11 in Paris.

South Africa flew out the blocks in the opening period, with Pollard kicking three penalties before the All Blacks were dealt a major blow as captain Sam Cane became the first person to be sent off in a World Cup final after a high tackle.

New Zealand, however, rallied back after the break despite the disadvantage, with Beauden Barrett’s try bringing them back within touching distance but the Springboks would hold on to successfully defend their title.

Here is how the players rated in the Rugby World Cup final.

New Zealand v South Africa player ratings: Pieter-Steph du Toit stars for Springboks

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:22 , Mike Jones

Oh my, some of the match stats are coming through now. New Zealand made 93 tackles in that final while South Africa made 209.

That’s more than double the All Blacks. What a performance from the Springboks and what a massive fight from New Zealand who did all that with 14-men for the majority of the game.

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:18 , Mike Jones

South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit was given the Player of the Match award for his impressive 28 tackles and deteminism to keep New Zealand at bay.

He said: "It's been an honour and a privilege, it was tough, each one a final, each one by one point. As a team we like drama, the last few years, I think it shows the resilience of the team.

"For all of South Africa, we’re honoured to play for the Springboks, we want to thank everybody for supporting us. 64 million South Africans are supporting us."

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:13 , Mike Jones

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (PA)
(PA)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:10 , Mike Jones

South Africa won their quarter-final, semi-final and now the World Cup final all by a single point.

That is crazy isn’t it? Has their ever been a better or closer run to a World Cup triumph? It probably will never happen again.

South Africa defeat New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:06 , Mike Jones

The Springboks are back-to-back World Cup champions. They’ve edged all three knockout matches by just one point. They becomea the first team to win four World Cups.

South Africa have never lost a World Cup final and by the barest of margins, they get over the line once again.

Full-time! New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:04 , Mike Jones

80+1 minutes: There it is! South Africa hold on and win the Rugby World Cup for a record fourth time!

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:04 , Mike Jones

80 minutes: Kwagga Smith makes a steal for South Africa before Kriel kicks the ball away.

The All Blacks run it back with McKenzie throwing a step and getting into space. Savea receives it and tries to throw the offload but the ball goes forward.

South Africa scrum. This should be it...

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 22:01 , Mike Jones

78 minutes: The All Blacks get into space with Papal’i breaking into stride on the wing but the big flanker is expertly tap tackled by the covering Faf de Klerk.

This is so tense.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:57 , Mike Jones

77 minutes: Pieter-Steph du Toit catches an offload and comes down the left wing before getting hit. He sends the ball back to Faf de Klerk who fumbles it and gives New Zealand a scrum, deep in their own half.

This will take some doing to get the ball up the pitch.

Three minutes to go.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:53 , Mike Jones

74 minutes: Jordie Barrett leathers his boot through the ball for the penalty and has the range but the accuracy isn’t there. He pushes the kick wide to the left and New Zealand remain behind in the game.

Six minutes to play. Both teams have 14 players on the pitch now.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:52 , Mike Jones

73 minutes: This could be a game changer. Cheslin Kolbe is flagged by the TMO as performing a deliberate knock on to stop the All Blacks flying down the wing and potentially getting a try.

Kolbe is shown as yellow card and his final is over. New Zealand win a penalty and are going to kick for goal. This is a long, long way out though.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:46 , Mike Jones

70 minutes: 10 minutes to play in this crucial final at the Stade de France. After a blockbusting and intense 20 minutes in the second half, things have settled down in favour of South Africa.

Tactical kicks, chases, tackles are taking place with both teams looking for territory.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:41 , Mike Jones

66 minutes: There’s a kicking game at play now as both teams try to gain a foothold in the opponents half.

Aaron Smith is replaced for the All Blacks meaning he departs the field for the final time as a New Zealand rugby player with his retirement looming.

Can his teammates get him over the line for a World Cup final victory?

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:36 , Mike Jones

63 minutes: New Zealand have responded brilliantly in this second half, especially when the teams were level in terms of personnel during Kolisi’s sin binning.

South Africa need to have a period of possession to settle things down but the All Blacks won’t make it easy for them. They are right up for this contest now.

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:34 , Mike Jones

60 minutes: Richie Mo’unga pushes his conversion effort wide to the right meaning New Zealand still trail by one point.

South Africa won their quarter-final against France by one point, they won their semi-final against England by one point, will they win the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand by one point?

TRY! New Zealand 11-12 South Africa (Beauden Barrett, 58 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:32 , Mike Jones

58 minutes: Siya Kolisi is brought back onto the pitch as New Zealand drive for the try line once again.

The All Blacks look to get in on the right side of the pitch with phase after phase seeing them denied. A switch in play sees the ball flung over to the left wing where Mark Tele’a takes over possession.

He comes inside and is brought down, dropping the ball in the process. Beauden Barrett is the first to react, he scoops it up and dives for the line, going over for the first legitimate try of the evening.

NO TRY! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:29 , Mike Jones

55 minutes: New Zealand’s celebrations are cut short. The referee is informed of a knock on in the build-up to that try by Ardie Savea.

As the replays are shown it becomes clear that there’s an initial foul for tackling in the air before Savea knocked the ball on meaning New Zealand have possession but the try doesn’t stand.

Big call from the referee.

TRY! New Zealand 11-12 South Africa (Aaron Smith, 54 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:27 , Mike Jones

54 minutes: New Zealand score the first try of the night!

They pile pressure on South Africa inside their own 22 and turn the ball over. It comes out of the ruck and gets sent to in two passes to Richie Mo’unga.

He drives towards the line, dummies a pass and then bursts towards the line before getting tackled. As he goes down he offloads to Aaron Smith who plunges over for a try.

New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:23 , Mike Jones

53 mins: Siya Kolisi’s yellow card remains a yellow according to the TMO bunker.

New Zealand switch the play from left to right and try to dart in on the right wing. There’s a knock on by Will Jordan as South Africa scoop up possession.

Eben Etzebeth is stopped from sprinting forward but the Springboks are awarded a scrum.

New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:20 , Mike Jones

51 minutes: Scott Barrett is taken out off the ball meaning New Zealand win a penalty. They kick for territory and boot the ball into touch a few metres from the South African try line.

If the All Blacks score here this final is still wide open.

New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:16 , Mike Jones

48 minutes: Yellow card! Siya Kolisi is now sitting out for 10 minutes after a poor tackle on Shannon Frizell. The New Zealander grabs the ball in the air and, as he lands, he’s clattered on the chin by the South African captain.

This one is slightly different to the Sam Cane incident. Kolisi is more horizontal and hits Frizell on the body before riding up and catching the head.

He’s in the sin bin but shouldn’t get upgraded to a red.

New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:13 , Mike Jones

45 minutes: Is this the first try?

No. From a South Africa scrum, the utilise their extra man to bring the All Blacks in field before another fine kick out to the wing almost sees Kurt-Lee Arendse in for a try.

As he dives for the line, his foot goes into touch and he drops the ball before it’s grounded. South Africa are getting closer.

New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:10 , Mike Jones

42 minutes: Oh that is close.

A cross field kick from Handre Pollard sees the ball bobble into the hands of South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi who bombs forward. He’s tackled a couple of metres before the line then the Springboks are held up and New Zealand must restart the game with a dropout.

Second half! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:07 , Mike Jones

South Africa get the Rugby World Cup final back underway. They’ll be happy with their night’s work so far. Can they hold onto their lead of will New Zealand rally?

South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi suffers Rugby World Cup final heartbreak with injury

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:04 , Mike Jones

South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi suffered a nightmare Rugby World Cup final after being forced off injured with only two minutes played.

The Springboks hooker was forced off with a knee injury after Shannon Frizell landed on his standing leg at the breakdown, earning the All Blacks player a yellow card. Referee Wayne Barnes took advice from his TMO before producing the card, which was then put to a review for a possible upgrade to red, based on whether Frizell’s action was deliberate.

The TMO kept the card at yellow, concluding Frizell was “not targeting the leg, he’s fallen on it”.

South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi suffers Rugby World Cup final heartbreak with injury

HT New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 21:00 , Mike Jones

As expected there was a discussion over the red card for Sam Cane on ITV during the break.

Brian O'Driscoll said: "Any effective tackle is a hinge at the hips, Sam Cane can have no complaints, there's no late dip, he has a clear line of sight, it's considerable force to the head a very, very clear red card."

And Sean Fitzpatrick agreed saying: "In real time, it's a red card, we have to get on with it."

HT New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:56 , Mike Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (AP)
(AP)
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Half-time! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:52 , Mike Jones

New Zealand trail on the scoreboard as the teams head into the break. The big story is that New Zealand are down to 14-men after captain Sam Cane was dismissed for a high tackle on Jesse Kriel.

Could that decision affect the course of this final?

PENALTY! New Zealand 6-12 South Africa (Richie Mo’unga, 38 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:51 , Mike Jones

38 minutes: As the advantage didn’t help New Zealand the referee pulls the play back for the earlier penalty.

Richie Mo’unga kicks for goal and brings South Africa back within range of one converted try.

New Zealand 3-12 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:49 , Mike Jones

37 minutes: Close! Mark Tele’a bursts forward for New Zealand and gets the All Blacks up the pitch. A quick pass from Richie Mo’unga earns the All Blacks a penalty but they try to play the advantage.

Rieko Ioane flies down the line and collects the ball but he’s dragged into touch before he can score.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3-12 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 34 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:46 , Mike Jones

34 minutes: To make matters worse for the All Blacks, Handre Pollard has booted another penalty between the sticks and South Africa are now nine points ahead with half-time approaching.

New Zealand 3-9 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:45 , Mike Jones

34 mins: Huge moment! The decision from the TMO bunker has come through and Sam Cane’s yellow has been upgraded to a red card!

That’s the first one ever in a World Cup final. New Zealand have to finish the game with 14.

New Zealand 3-9 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:42 , Mike Jones

31 minutes: Sam Cane’s attempted tackle is being reviewed by the TMO bunker and there is a case that he could get sent off permanently. We’ll have to wait for that decision though.

South Africa pile up the pitch and earn themselves another scrum. It’s played quickly and the Boks sweep across the pitch beautifully.

A short kick comes in for Damian Willemse to sprint in on the wing but Will Jordan gets across to block his path and the ball is booted into touch.

New Zealand 3-9 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:39 , Mike Jones

28 minutes: New Zealand captain, Sam Kane, is under the microscope for a high tackle. He catches Jesse Kriel right on the chin with his shoulder from an upright position.

The referee sends the decision to the TMO and the result is a yellow card for the All Blacks skipper. New Zealand are down to 14 yet again.

New Zealand 3-9 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:36 , Mike Jones

25 minutes: From the lineout Eben Etzebeth plucks the New Zealand ball out of the air before the Springboks clear. New Zealand attempt to run it back but the ball is turned over quickly again.

After a quick kicking exchange, South Africa kick to touch.

New Zealand 3-9 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:31 , Mike Jones

22 minutes: An unforced error from New Zealand sees them knock on and gift South Africa possession just inside their own half.

Faf de Klerk feeds the scrum for South Africa before recovering the ball and flinging it down the line. A kick out to the wing isn’t great and the ball bounces out for a New Zealand lineout.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3-9 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 19 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:29 , Mike Jones

19 minutes: Handre Pollard pings a fine kick over the top after South Africa are awarded a penalty when New Zealand purposefully stop the Springboks from releasing the ball at the base of the ruck.

Pollard’s kick is the furthest one of the night but he restores his team’s six point lead.

PENALTY! New Zealand 3-6 South Africa (Richie Mo’unga, 17 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:27 , Mike Jones

17 minutes: Richie Mo’unga is pretty much right in front of the sticks for this kick and has no trouble flicking it over the top. New Zealand are on the board.

New Zealand 0-6 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:25 , Mike Jones

16 mins: A penalty for New Zealand allows them to kick for territory and them boot the ball deep inside South Africa’s 22. The All Blacks win the lineout and drive, repeatedly, at the defence.

Close! A fine chip from Barrett almost gets Ardie Savea in for a try but the bounce takes the ball away from New Zealand’s runner and it’s recovered by the Springboks.

New Zealand won a penalty during their attack and the referee pulls the play back meaning the All Blacks will now kick for goal.

PENALTY! New Zealand 0-6 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 13 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:22 , Mike Jones

13 minutes: Handre Pollard aims for the posts once more from the left side of the pitch. This is a seemingly easier kick and sails over the crossbar to double the Springboks’ lead.

New Zealand are back to their full quota of players now though.

New Zealand 0-3 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:20 , Mike Jones

12 minutes: The TMO bunker has finished their review of Shannon Frizell’s foul on Bongi Mbonambi. The yellow card stands and won’t be upgraded.

New Zealand have almost finished the 10 minutes playing with 14 men but South Africa have another penalty kick...

New Zealand 0-3 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:19 , Mike Jones

10 minutes: The pressure is all coming from South Africa.

Even a heavy tackle from Scott Barrett sees a miscued kick float over to the right wing where Damian Willemse plucks it out of the air and storms forward. He tries to kick it past Jordie Barrett but the New Zealand scoops it off the floor with one hand before being pushed into touch.

New Zealand 0-3 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:14 , Mike Jones

7 minutes: A great crossfield kick from Pollard almost sees Cheslin Kolbe claim the ball and dart into space for the line. He leaps up to challenge in the air but seemingly knocks on under pressure from Richie Mo’unga.

New Zealand are awarded a scrum.

New Zealand 0-3 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:12 , Mike Jones

6 minutes: A quick kick down the wing from the Springboks puts New Zealand on the back foot as Will Jordan is forced to catch the ball over his own shoulder when sprinting back towards his own try zone.

His offload misses the target and South Africa’s chase sees them fly up the pitch and turnover possession. The All Blacks are being bullied early on here.

PENALTY! New Zealand 0-3 South Africa (Handre Pollard, 3 minutes)

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:10 , Mike Jones

3 minutes: South Africa get themselves on the board first. They’re awarded a penalty after Shannon Frizell’s foul meaning Handre Pollard can kick.

He pulls his penalty slightly to the left but kisses the inside of the post and sends the ball over the top.

New Zealand 0-0 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:08 , Mike Jones

3 minutes: Yellow card! Bongi Mbonambi is down and needs a bit of treatment on his right leg after diving into the ruck. Shannon Frizell arrives for the tackle and drops his body onto Mbonambi’s trailing leg.

After a review from the video ref, Frizell is shown a yellow card and the TMO is reviewing the incident to determine whether it should be upgraded to a red.

New Zealand 0-0 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:06 , Mike Jones

2 minutes: Bang! Eben Etzebeth puts in the biggest tackle of the night. A few loose handling errors from New Zealand see them fumble around trying to regain the ball and string together a cohesive attack.

The ball across to Richie Mo’unga who flings it down the line before getting spangled by Etzebeth. An early sign that South Africa will want to dominate these early stages.

Kick off! New Zealand 0-0 South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:03 , Mike Jones

New Zealand get the match underway and boot the ball into the South African half. It’s claimed by full-back Damian Willemse who kicks it back down the pitch and gives possession back to the All Blacks.

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 20:00 , Mike Jones

As customary with New Zealand, Aaron Smith leads the haka with the Springboks staring down at their opponents for tonight’s World Cup final.

The stage is set, kick off is up next...

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:53 , Mike Jones

Here come the teams!

The All Blacks have that steely look on their faces as they stride down the tunnel and out onto the pitch at the Stade de France.

South Africa’s captain, Siya Kolisi, is singing away to himself as he leads out his teammates, he looks relaxed and ready to go.

The national anthems are now sung as the rain continues to fall in Paris.

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:50 , Mike Jones

South Africa have been ahead at half-time in all three of their previous World Cup finals. They have never conceded more than six first-half points in each of those matches.

Can New Zealand start strongly to upset their rhythm?

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:46 , Mike Jones

It’s absolutely pouring down in Paris for this Rugby World Cup 2023 final. That should make things interesting as the ball gets wetter and the pitch starts to degrade as the game goes on.

This is the 10th match played at the Stade de France in this tournament with six of those games taking place over the last couple of weeks.

The conditions may yet play theri part in deciding which team lifts the trophy later tonight.

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:41 , Mike Jones

New Zealand and South Africa have won every rugby World Cup since England’s famous victory, off the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, in 2003.

Either All Blacks captain, Sam Kane, or Springboks skipper, Siya Kolisi, will hold the Webb Ellis Cup aloft marking the fourth time one of these two nations has been crowned the best in the world.

No team has achieved that before at the Rugby World Cup. History awaits for one of the sides but who?

Please abolish the third-place play-off: Rugby’s pointless and outdated relic

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:36 , Mike Jones

It’s the game that players don’t want to play, fans don’t want to watch and the media don’t want to cover. All of which begs the question, why does the Rugby World Cup third/fourth place play-off still exist? Answers on a postcard please.

Actually, the answer is fairly simple, of course. It follows the old adage that when you’re not sure why something counter-intuitive is happening in sport, the reason is always the same. Money.

World Rugby and its sponsors will undoubtedly make a bit more cheddar from England facing Argentina on Friday evening at relatively little expense, although it remains to be seen how many of the Stade de France’s 80,000 seats are filled, let alone what sort of atmosphere those in attendance create. You suspect it might not quite reach the level of fan delirium that some of the other instant classics at the Paris stadium have generated during this tournament.

Please abolish the third-place play-off: Rugby’s pointless and outdated relic

New Zealand vs South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:35 , Mike Jones

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Springboks take huge gamble on biggest stage of all

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:30 , Mike Jones

If fortune does indeed favour the brave, then South Africa should triumph in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday evening. For the third time in two months, they have opted for the controversial 7-1 split of forwards to backs on their bench and, in the process, have taken a huge gamble in the biggest game on the calendar.

For the uninitiated, rugby teams almost always opt for a 5-3 or 6-2 split among their replacements. The laws of the international game dictate that you must have three front-row specialists (hookers and props, who count among the forwards) on your bench, and then teams will usually have a roughly even division of forwards and backs for the remaining five slots to ensure adequate cover for all position.

Yet for the third time in the last two months, the Springboks have boldly opted for just one lone back – Willie Le Roux in this instance – among their subs. On the previous two occasions, there has been no damage done. The final World Cup warm-up match saw them hand New Zealand a record 35-7 defeat at Twickenham and although they lost a hard-fought pool match to Ireland, the bench split had no negative impact on the result.

Springboks take huge gamble on biggest stage of all

South Africa fans gather for final in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:28 , Jack Rathborn

South Africa fans gather for the final in Cape Town (REUTERS)
South Africa fans gather for the final in Cape Town (REUTERS)
South Africa fans gather for the final in Johannesburg (AFP via Getty Images)
South Africa fans gather for the final in Johannesburg (AFP via Getty Images)
A South African supporter waves flags among fans gathering at the V&A Waterfront Mall in Cape Town (AFP via Getty Images)
A South African supporter waves flags among fans gathering at the V&A Waterfront Mall in Cape Town (AFP via Getty Images)

The bold calls that saved Ian Foster and took All Blacks to brink of World Cup glory

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:22 , Mike Jones

Up in the coaches’ box at Ellis Park, Ian Foster exhaled deeply. It was August of last year, and the All Blacks head coach’s job had been hanging in the balance, a run of five defeats in six matches putting Foster in the firing line. The prognosis looked grim, with the grand old home of South African rugby packed to the rafters with 62,000 Springbok fans who would have loved nothing more than for their side to unseat the coach of their great rival.

But Foster’s team saved him, shocking South Africa 35-23 to bring their coach back from the brink. Only New Zealand and Foster himself will know truly how close he was to losing his job, but there is every possibility that defeat in Johannesburg would have spelled a premature end to Foster’s tenure. The players knew what it meant. “We were playing for our coach’s job,” scrum half Aaron Smith admitted afterwards.

Little more than a year later, and Foster is ready to lead New Zealand into a final; there is every chance that on Saturday night, he’ll be a World Cup winner. Such a tag would normally ensure a status as something of a national hero – Foster’s predecessors Graham Henry and Steve Hansen both have knighthoods.

The bold calls that saved Ian Foster and took All Blacks to brink of glory

New Zealand players dominate – who makes our World Cup team of the tournament?

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:15 , Mike Jones

Reigning champions South Africa take on fellow three-time winners New Zealand in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final.

Here, we pick team from the best performing players of the 2023 tournament.

New Zealand players dominate – who makes our World Cup team of the tournament?

New Zealand explain line-up tweaks to combat South Africa’s bench impact

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:08 , Mike Jones

New Zealand coach Ian Foster has revealed that he feels a couple of subtle tweaks to his squad for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final will be enough to match South Africa’s “bomb squad”.

The Springboks have loaded up on bench forward might for the showpiece Paris decider, including seven pack replacements in their 23.

The seven/one bench split was a gambit first employed in South Africa’s strong warm-up win over New Zealand at Twickenham in August, with the replacement pack brought on together and immediately win a scrum penalty.

But rather than matching their opponents and including extra forwards among their bench eight, the All Blacks have kept faith with a traditional five/three combination.

New Zealand explain line-up tweaks to combat South Africa’s bench impact

South Africa out to inspire new generation in World Cup final against All Blacks

Saturday 28 October 2023 19:00 , Mike Jones

South Africa have been urged to inspire the next generation of Siya Kolisis by claiming World Cup bragging rights in rugby’s greatest rivalry.

Each side has lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy on three previous occasions heading into Saturday’s final at the Stade de France, ensuring one of them will be crowned the most successful nation in the tournament’s history.

For the Springboks it is the opportunity to continue bringing together the country’s disparate communities, a motivation Kolisi insists provides the ‘why’ for the defence of their title.

South Africa out to inspire new generation in World Cup final against All Blacks

Contrasting captains Kolisi and Cane collide in Rugby World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:53 , Mike Jones

Rugby World Cup-winning sides are often defined by their captain, as teams become a reflection of their skipper. Only eight men have worn the metaphorical armband and lifted the Webb Ellis Cup, with each of them going down in history as an all-time great.

From Francois Pienaar receiving the trophy from Nelson Mandela in 1995 to John Eales defining an Australian dynasty in 1999, through Martin Johnson dragging England to 2003 glory as the only northern hemisphere side to triumph and Richie McCaw’s place as probably the greatest of all, the only two-time winning captain in 2011 and 2015 – these men have led from the front to cement their status as legends.

Saturday’s final between New Zealand and South Africa at the Stade de France offers another opportunity for two men to enhance their legacies but this particular match-up provides a fascinating contrast.

Beloved vs unloved: Contrasting captains Kolisi and Cane collide

How the incredible Barrett brothers rejuvenated the All Blacks

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:46 , Mike Jones

The old story goes that when Kevin Barrett hung up his boots, the man they called ‘Smiley’ was asked what he was going to do next. “I’m going to go breed some All Blacks,” Smiley replied, returning to the family dairy farm and setting to work.

By that stage, sons Beauden, Scott and Jordie had already been born, and how they’ve lived up to their father’s assertion. On Saturday night, they will become the first trio of brothers to appear in a Rugby World Cup final, all close to certain starters for the All Blacks ahead of a meeting with South Africa.

There are many tales of successful sporting siblings, from the Williams sisters to the Kelce brothers; the Waughs or the Charltons. But for three brothers to be so integral to a potential World Cup win is special. Smart international rugby coaches build their side around a spine of players from a single club; Ian Foster has been able to build his All Blacks around a single family.

How the incredible Barrett brothers rejuvenated the All Blacks

Spectacular New Zealand vs South Africa final is just the start of rugby’s exciting ‘new era’

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:39 , Mike Jones

As any Paris shop owner will tell you, an alluring storefront can be everything. In this beautiful old city, the public are spoilt for choice, chic spots and souvenir shops abundant along the narrow streets and grand boulevards. A bit of glitz and glamour in an attractive aperture can be the difference between a passing glance and a bustling boutique.

And so the Rugby World Cup reaches its day of greatest shop window prominence, hoping to dazzle with a Stade de France showpiece contest between two great rivals. On Saturday, South Africa and New Zealand will battle to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time, the etcher at the ready though unlikely to be able to start their work too soon with two such evenly-matched, if radically different, sides. You could hardly have a more enticing game to sell the sport. The eyes of the world will be watching; this encounter has every chance of enchanting them.

“This is what World Cup finals are about,” Ian Foster, New Zealand’s head coach, said this week. “I don’t think there’s ever a small one.

Spectacular All Blacks v Springboks final will launch rugby’s ‘new era’

Stuart Hogg column: New Zealand’s wingers terrify me! They can make the difference in the World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:32 , Mike Jones

Last week, Argentina were good; New Zealand were just incredible. They blew them away time and again. I thought that the All Blacks would turn over the French in the first game, and that would then give the hosts a kick up the backside and galvanise them. Whereas that is what has happened to New Zealand.

They got thumped by South Africa a couple of weeks before the World Cup, then they were beaten by the French. They had two big defeats against two of the best teams in world rugby and everyone said they weren’t good enough any more. They’ve almost said, “we’ll show you.”

They are a very clever side, New Zealand. They’ll have analysed Argentina and the opportunities against them. You look at Will Jordan’s hat-trick try, an off-the-top-of-the-lineout to Ardie Savea. The tail of the lineout chase Savea, who drops it off on his inside and Jordan runs 90 metres to score a try with a lovely bit of individual brilliance.

They’ll have looked at opportunities all throughout the week. Looking at those opportunities is one thing; being able to execute them under pressure is another. I thought they were clinical in everything they did.

Stuart Hogg: All Blacks wingers can win final, plus my team of the World Cup

3 key areas that could decide World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:25 , Mike Jones

One of New Zealand and South Africa will become the first team to win the men’s Rugby World Cup four times when the two sides meet in the 2023 final.

It will be the first time that two great rivals have met on rugby’s biggest stage since 1995, when South Africa secured their first Webb Ellis Cup on a famous, transformative day for both the sport and a country.

Here are three key areas that could prove crucial to deciding the final:

Shutting down Savea

Perhaps no player exemplifies New Zealand’s brilliance more than Ardie Savea, the number eight brilliant in most facets. Only Bundee Aki has made more than Savea’s 60 carries, with the All Black winning the gainline with three-quarters of his runs into contact, 15 per cent more often than any of the rest of the top ten busiest carriers at the tournament, all the while dealing with more than one tackler 75% of the time. His blend of footwork, speed and strength make him virtually impossible to corral. Savea has the potential to produce a truly match-swinging performance.

The All Blacks are intelligent with their usage of him, too. Savea will often peel away from the back of a maul or be utilised in midfield to get favourable opportunities to carry from launch plays – see his try against Italy, when he left isolated hooker Giacomo Nicotera clutching air with a matador’s swish, or Will Jordan’s hat-trick score in the semi-final, when Argentina bit in on the number eight and allowed him to deftly send his wing through an inside gap.

The tough Handre Pollard should help solidify the fly half channel, and South Africa are sure to try and spread their best tacklers. Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert’s long limbs are likely to be useful in combatting a carrier so effective at using late changes of direction to extricate himself from contact.

Defensively, Savea is a breakdown menace. Caelan Doris and Manuel Ardao are the only two individuals to have had more defensive ruck arrivals at this World Cup. Given their confidence in their kicking game and defence in structure, South Africa are likely to be unafraid to load up the breakdown with bodies and sacrifice their attacking options to prevent turnover ball with which the All Blacks so often thrive.

New Zealand v South Africa

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Good evening from a rather damp Stade de France, where the atmosphere is building steadily as fans bid to escape a slightly miserable evening. There are loads of South African fans making their way in on the metro, and there were a healthy number of All Blacks’ shirts on show in Paris’s city centre earlier.

Once in their seats, fans will be able to enjoy a pre-match show from pop star Mika, raised in Paris and a judge on the French version of The Voice, while we are expecting a smattering of celebrity guests, too.

3 key areas that could decide World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:15 , Mike Jones

One of New Zealand and South Africa will become the first team to win the men’s Rugby World Cup four times when the two sides meet in the 2023 final.

It will be the first time that two great rivals have met on rugby’s biggest stage since 1995, when South Africa secured their first Webb Ellis Cup on a famous, transformative day for both the sport and a country.

Here are three key areas that could prove crucial to deciding the final:

Scrum-time skirmish

South Africa have plenty more to their game than just scrum-time expertise, but there is no doubt that it is a crucial element of their strategy. It was the impact of Ox Nche, Vincent Koch and co. that transformed their semi-final against England, and having loaded up with seven bench forwards, Jacques Nienaber will expect a similar impact in the final.

The All Blacks have lost just 2.6% of their scrums via a penalty, the third lowest rate in the competition, avoiding significant territorial gains for their opposition. Denying South Africa success is crucial. Their kick to contest strategy relies on being able to make advancements from penalties. If the All Blacks can deny them the ability to make progress via the boot, it will force the Springboks to play more expansively having opted for Handre Pollard’s solidity over Manie Libbok’s silkier skills.

Sustaining that effort across the 80 minutes will be key. The All Blacks have made a change to their bench as a nod to Ox Nche’s threat particularly – the experienced Nepo Laulala replaces the rawer Fletcher Newell and will be tasked with ensuring there is little drop-off when the impressive Tyrel Lomax is replaced.

3 key areas that could decide World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 18:05 , Mike Jones

One of New Zealand and South Africa will become the first team to win the men’s Rugby World Cup four times when the two sides meet in the 2023 final.

It will be the first time that two great rivals have met on rugby’s biggest stage since 1995, when South Africa secured their first Webb Ellis Cup on a famous, transformative day for both the sport and a country.

Here are three key areas that could prove crucial to deciding the final:

All Blacks’ attack vs Springboks’ defence

This is an encounter between probably the best attack in the world against almost certainly the most ferocious defence – a fitting battle for the World Cup final. The All Blacks have won the gainline more regularly than any other side in the competition, while offloading more efficiently than any other side and finishing their chances at an outstanding rate. South Africa, meanwhile, make more dominant defensive collisions than any other team and scramble superbly – less than five percent of their missed tackles lead to tries.

South Africa’s hard outside blitz offers opportunities if you are able to transfer the ball to the edge at speed, typically a strength of the All Blacks: New Zealand (12.3%) are one of only five teams to play more than play wider than the second receiver more than ten per cent of the time. That said, two of the other four are Ireland (20.9%) and Scotland (15.8%), two attacks that South Africa fared well against earlier in the tournament.

Where New Zealand have had success against South Africa in the past is with their varied kicking game. Both Barrett brothers, Richie Mo’unga and Will Jordan all have a full set of clubs in their bag – there is no side better at hiding their kick choices with subtle changes at the line, with their playmaking quartet’s ability to execute under pressure unmatched. Having utilised a number of kicks in a rampant first half performance to beat the Springboks in the Rugby Championship, Ian Foster’s side barely used the tactic at all during the pair’s warm-up meeting at Twickenham, perhaps holding back a couple of variations for this tournament.

How Wales fared at World Cup and what the future holds for Warren Gatland’s men

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:55 , Mike Jones

Wales reached the Rugby World Cup knockout phase for a fourth successive tournament before bowing out against quarter-final opponents Argentina.

And that represented a solid achievement given Wales’ struggles earlier in the year when poor form was matched by off-field issues such as financial and contractual uncertainty that almost led to a players’ strike.

How Wales fared at World Cup and what the future holds for Warren Gatland’s men

Why do New Zealand do the haka and what do the words mean in English?

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:45 , Mike Jones

The haka is one of rugby’s best known traditions, with the ceremonial Maori dance performed pre-match by New Zealand rugby sides before international fixtures.

Haka were traditionally performed for a variety of social occasions and functions by the Maori, the indigenous population of the country, to represent a display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity.

Usually performed by a group, they are now performed to welcome distinguished guests or acknowledge an occasion, but it is for their use in rugby that haka are best known.

Why do New Zealand do the haka and what do the words mean in English?

Undisputed champions? Why New Zealand v South Africa is more than just the Rugby World Cup final

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:38 , Mike Jones

Rugby’s biggest rivalry will be played out on its grandest stage with a historic, unique achievement on the line. South Africa vs New Zealand. This is what World Cup finals are all about.

It’s the two greatest rugby nations going head to head, with the winners becoming the first country to claim four men’s World Cups. Unlike boxing, rugby doesn’t have the notion of an undisputed champion but if ever there was a match to decide one, Saturday evening in the Stade de France would be it.

As Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick explained 24 hours before the match: “The All Blacks have won the World Cup three times, we have won it three times, so this game is actually bigger than just a World Cup final. Whoever wins is probably going to have bragging rights for the next eight years.”

Undisputed champions? Why New Zealand vs South Africa is the ultimate final

5 standout matches of the Rugby World Cup finals in France

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:30 , Mike Jones

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup reaches its conclusion, here are five picks for the standout matches of a memorable tournament in France.

France 28 South Africa 29 – Quarter-final, October 15

Hosts France crashed out in agonising fashion following a quarter-final classic for the ages.

Just 24 hours after New Zealand’s thrilling victory over Ireland, Stade de France staged an epic encounter which somehow eclipsed it for drama and scintillating rugby. With Les Bleus captain Antoine Dupont returning from a fractured cheekbone, the two sides shared six tries in an opening 26 minutes seemingly played in fast-forward.

Hooker Peato Mauvaka crossed between tries from prop Cyril Baille for France, while Springboks trio Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende and Kolbe were also on the scoresheet. Eben Etzebeth claimed the only try of a tighter second period to suck the life out of the partisan Paris crowd, with Kolbe’s inspired first-half charge down of a Thomas Ramos conversion proving critical.

5 standout matches of the Rugby World Cup finals in France

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:23 , Mike Jones

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup reaches its conclusion, here are five picks for the standout matches of a memorable tournament in France.

Ireland 24 New Zealand 28 – Quarter-final, October 14

Ireland’s dream was crushed as their quarter-final curse continued with a heartbreaking defeat. Andy Farrell’s class of 2023 were bidding to become the first Irish team to reach the last four.

But they trailed for most of an engrossing Paris contest and were unable to mastermind a comeback as the formidable All Blacks overcame yellow cards for Aaron Smith and Codie Taylor to send Ireland captain Johnny Sexton into retirement.

Scores from native Kiwis Bundee Aki and Jamison Gibson-Park and a penalty try kept Farrell’s men within touching distance for the duration of a tense encounter.

However, New Zealand underlined their rugby pedigree, with Leicester Fainga’anuku, Ardie Savea and the prolific Will Jordan crossing to pave the way for progression to a semi-final showdown with Argentina.

5 standout matches of the Rugby World Cup finals in France

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:15 , Mike Jones

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup reaches its conclusion, here are five picks for the standout matches of a memorable tournament in France.

Fiji 23 Portugal 24 – Pool C, October 8

Portugal made history by pulling off a dramatic shock victory. Rodrigo Marta’s try two minutes from time allowed the superb Samuel Marques to kick the winning conversion and secure his country’s first World Cup win at the eighth attempt.

Amid passionate Portuguese celebrations, Fiji’s players slumped to the turf at full-time but still scraped through to a quarter-final with England courtesy of a losing bonus point which condemned Australia to a first pool-stage exit.

Having already been eliminated, Os Lobos had little to lose in Toulouse. Marta’s late intervention added to efforts from Raffaele Storti and Francisco Fernandes on a landmark afternoon after heavy favourites Fiji appeared to have avoided an upset thanks to tries from Levani Botia and Mesake Doge, plus 13 points from Frank Lomani.

5 standout matches of the Rugby World Cup finals in France

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:07 , Mike Jones

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup reaches its conclusion, here are five picks for the standout matches of a memorable tournament in France.

South Africa 8 Ireland 13 – Pool B, September 23

Ireland propelled themselves to the cusp of the quarter-finals with a gripping victory over the 2019 champions on a raucous evening in Paris.

Mack Hansen’s try and five points from Johnny Sexton helped settle a titanic tussle between international rugby’s top two teams at a rocking Stade de France.

Cheslin Kolbe’s second-half score and a Manie Libbok penalty kept the Springboks in contention. But they ultimately fell short following a nail-biting finale as Jack Crowley’s penalty helped Ireland stretch their winning run to 16 matches to take control of the tournament’s toughest group.

5 standout matches of the Rugby World Cup finals in France

Saturday 28 October 2023 17:00 , Mike Jones

As the 2023 Rugby World Cup reaches its conclusion, here are five picks for the standout matches of a memorable tournament in France.

Wales 32 Fiji 26 – Pool C, September 10

The opening weekend served up a full-bodied thriller in Bordeaux. Watched by the Prince of Wales, Warren Gatland’s side established a 32-14 lead following tries from Josh Adams, George North, Louis-Rees-Zammit and Elliot Dee.

Yet ferocious Fiji roared back to leave Wales royally rattled. Late scores from Josua Tuisova and Mesake Doge, added to earlier efforts from Waisea Nayacalevu and Lekima Tagitagivalu, moved the Islanders within striking distance.

Semi Radradra had the chance to grab the crowning glory but heartbreakingly knocked on with Wales’ try line at his mercy in the final act of an absorbing contest staged in stamina-sapping heat.

South Africa vs New Zealand: Who is the referee for the Rugby World Cup final?

Saturday 28 October 2023 16:53 , Mike Jones

England’s Wayne Barnes – once hated in New Zealand – will referee the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and the All Blacks.

Barnes, the most experienced Test official in history, has been appointed to take charge of the final for the first time.

He will be assisted by Karl Dickson and Matthew Carley in an all-English team, with Tom Foley serving as the television match official (TMO).

Australia’s Nic Berry, meanwhile, will be in charge of the third/fourth place play-off between England and Argentina on Friday, with Andrew Brace of Ireland and Georgia’s Nika Amashukeli on the touchlines. Ben Whitehouse (Wales) will be the TMO.

Who is the referee for the South Africa vs New Zealand Rugby World Cup final?

Borthwick excited by England’s future

Saturday 28 October 2023 16:45 , Mike Jones

“Playing finals games at World Cups is important,” said England head coach Steve Borthwick after securing the bronze medal for the 2023 World Cup. “In the last two World Cups, this group of players have played six finals games and won four of them. We want to be in the final and winning the gold medal. That wasn’t to be, but having finals experience has been important for this squad.

“Naturally at the end of World Cups, there are always some players that decide their time as a current England player will come to an end, but the age profile of the squad is strong.

“If you look at the semi-finals last week, we had seven players 25 or under, more than any other team in the semi-finals. And there’s a number of exciting young players that didn’t make the 33-man squad but were part of the preparations. As I look forward, there’s excitement about those players.”

New Zealand vs South Africa prediction

Saturday 28 October 2023 16:37 , Mike Jones

Expect a far closer game than the record 35-7 drubbing that the Boks inflicted on the All Blacks in the warm-up to this World Cup.

New Zealand looked back to their scintillating best against Argentina, while South Africa demonstrated their ability to wear a team down and find a way in their win against England.

It’s all set for a classic encounter and there certainly won’t be much to separate the two sides.

New Zealand 19-15 South Africa

England seek evolution not revolution behind six leaders after encouraging World Cup

Saturday 28 October 2023 16:30 , Mike Jones

It ended as it began for England, seven weeks of French adventure bookended by wins over Argentina. If their last tango in Paris was occasionally executed with the elegance and elan of a tipsy wedding guest with two left feet, then they can take heart from having again found a way to victory.

England’s players will return to club duty having won six of their seven Rugby World Cup matches. Third spot may ultimately be a disappointment for the squad given how close they came to shocking South Africa, but it is a considerably higher finish than some would have feared.

It didn’t all go well, certainly on Friday night in a scrappy game that England did not quite manage to throw away. But an experience of finals rugby should be of value to those experiencing their first taste of a World Cup - they are hardly the first group of English youngsters to come back from two months on the continent bronzed but a little bit bruised.

England seek evolution not revolution behind six leaders after encouraging World Cup

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