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.
Ethan de Groot, 6: Scrumaged well and put himself about well. Faded somewhat after the break.
Codie Taylor, 6: Started well at set pieces, but his lineout throwing started to falter - under pressure from Etzebeth and Mostert - as the game went on.
Tyrel Lomax, 7: Great display up against a menacing Springbok pack. Worked well with his other front-row partners to deny the opposition dominance at the scrum.
Brodie Retallick, 6: Grew into the encounter after a slow start up against Etzebeth.
Scott Barrett, 6: A solid display as one of the three Barrett’s on the pitch.
Shannon Frizell, 5: Early visit to the sin bin put his side under an immense deal of pressure in the game’s opening period.
Sam Cane, 3: Became the first person to be sent off in a World Cup final after a high tackle on Kriel in one of the game’s defining moments. Not the impact the All Blacks captain would have hoped to have had on a game of this magnitude.
Ardie Savea, 7: Led the team superbly and kept his side disciplined and within touching distance in Cane’s absence.
Aaron Smith, 7: A typically solid display from the scrum-half in what is his final World Cup appearance.
Richie Mo’unga, 6: Dazzling run set up Smith’s try which was later disallowed. Bounced back well after that crunching early tackle from Etzebeth.
Mark Tele’a, 7: A real bright spark in the All Blacks attack. Great wriggling run and pass to set up Barrett’s score.
Jordie Barrett, 7: A great display filling in at flanker at times which shouldn’t be completely overshadowed by the late penalty miss which could have secured a dramatic win.
Rieko Ioane, 6: Almost went over in the first half, but a quiet game otherwise.
Will Jordan, 5: Quiet game for the winger who had impressed throughout the tournament.
Beauden Barrett, 7: Scored the try to get his side back in the contest. Worked hard in defence during a tough opening period for the All Blacks.
Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho - 6, Tamaiti Williams - 6, Nepo Laulala - 6, Finlay Christie - 5, Dalton Papali’i -6, Anton Lienert-Brown - 6, Damian McKenzie - 5.
Steven Kitshoff, 6: Had few opportunities to impose his presence at the scrum but was a constant menace at the breakdown during the first half.
Bongi Mbonambi, 5: Cruelly injured just three minutes into the contest after hurting his knee following a tackle from Frizell.
Frans Malherbe, 6: Didn’t quite have the impact he would have hoped for at the scrum but put in a great shift deep into the second half.
Eben Etzebeth, 7: Huge early tackle on Mo’unga set the tone for the Boks. A constant nuisance at the breakdown and at the lineout.
Franco Mostert, 6: Worked well with Etzebeth to disrupt the Kiwi lineout, especially in the first half.
Siya Kolisi, 6: Delivered a solid display before his sin bin for a high tackle. Writes his name into the history books as a double World Cup-winning captain.
Pieter-Steph du Toit, 9: Superb all-action display from the back rower, with a number of huge tackles throughout the contest.
Duane Vermeulen, 7: A couple of monstrous, penalty-winning carries in the first half when South Africa were well on top.
Faf de Klerk, 8: Lively display and a constant nuisance at scrum-half. Worked superbly alongside long-time half-back partner Pollard and delivered a crucial late tackle on Papali’i.
Handre Pollard, 7: Perfect with the boot and more than justified his place in the starting lineup.
Cheslin Kolbe, 7: Had a superb game up until his late yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.
Damian de Allende, 6: A solid all-round performance alongside Kriel in the centres.
Jesse Kriel, 6: Did well in midfield up against a dangerous and aggressive Kiwi centre pairing.
Kurt-Lee Arendse, 7: Great try-saving tackle to deny Ioane in the first half. Nearly pulled off a superb score in the corner after the break.
Damian Willemse, 6: Few opportunities to run with the ball, but did well under the high ball in tricky conditions.
Replacements: Deon Fourie - 7, Ox Nche - 6, RG Snyman - 6, Jean Kleyn - 6, Kwagga Smith - 6, Trevor Nyakane, - 6, Willie Le Roux - 5, Jasper Wiese - 5.