YES!!! The Springboks beat the All Blacks to win another Rugby World Cup title

Springbok players celebrate as the final whistle blows during the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday

Springbok players celebrate as the final whistle blows during the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday. Photo: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

Published Oct 28, 2023


The Springboks bagged a record fourth Rugby World Cup title and went back-to-back claiming a historic 12-11 win over their arch-rivals New Zealand in the Stade de France in Paris.

Some gritty defence at the death, coupled with some key big moments from individual players at critical times helped secure the win as the All Blacks fought with 14 men for a big chunk of the final after a red card to captain Sam Cane.

Flyhalf Handre Pollard kicked all twelve points for his side under immense pressure, while the defensive effort in the second half when the Boks unleashed their Bomb Squad, defused the fight the Kiwis showed without their leader.

Winger Cheslin Kolbe, sitting with his jersey over his head in the sin after a yellow card at the death, was probably the sight of millions of South Africans around the country who had their hearts in their mouth as they sat through another nail-biting match.

For the third game in a row, the Boks held out with just one point after seeing off France and England in the quarters and semis respectively.

It was a clash for the ages as the battling All Blacks were full value for their effort. They can hold their heads high after it looked like South Africa was in control halfway through the match.

Where they found the wind to play against the number-one team in the world with so much aggression and drive with a man down, only they will know.

But, the Springboks knew it was going to be like that.

That is why Player of the Match Pieter-Steph du Toit tackled his heart out. Deon Fourie, although losing quite a few lineouts, defended with grit. Kolbe, along with wingmate Kurt-Lee Arendse made critical tackles when needed.

It was a game that South Africa won by staying in the moment, and little contributions across the park by their squad pulled it through.

Take Eben Etzebeth's crucial lineout steal in the first half when the All Blacks were looking sharp on the attack. That Arendse tackle to stop centre Rieko Ioane from going over in the corner.

Du Toit made a massive tackle on Jordie Barrett that forced a knock-on in the midfield when the Kiwis looked to launch another attack. And at the death, Kolbe tackled the dangerous Will Jordan and replacement Kwagga Smith ripping the ball to force another turnover.

Those moments combined to give the Springboks that bit of magic they needed to close out the game.

But they will have wanted to capitalise on the opportunities for five-pointers they created in that first half.

The forwards smashed the All Blacks left, right, and centre, and they were switched on from the first whistle. They knew that intensity on attack and defence was going to be key to halting anything that was thrown at them. And the Boks achieved that, but they just could not get over the try line of their opponents.

Those penalties that came from the pressure, were gladly gobbled up by Pollard though.

But when a side plays for almost 20 of the first 40 minutes with only 14 men, you have to make that advantage count in your favour. Credit must go to the three-time champions for keeping the world champions from getting over for five points.

Savea was immense on defense, and his teammates scrambled well on too to keep the Boks out when it was required. Take that brilliant backline move off a scrum when Kolbe came off his left wing to put in a neat grubber for Arendse on the right wing to almost round the defense in the corner. They were so good that the Boks could not score any points in the second half.

The game was never going to be won by how good a team attacks, though, but with defence. When captain Kolisi was sin-binned for a high tackle, the Boks could've easily capitulated. Even in the final minutes when Kolbe deliberately knocked a ball on to be sent off.

But they showed the necessary mental toughness on defence and could close the game out by pressuring New Zealand into uncanny mistakes in those final minutes with massive hits that flew in from everywhere.

The whole squad defended for their lives, they defended for South Africa, and they defended their world title brilliantly.


Springboks 12 — Penalties: Handre Pollard (4)

New Zealand 11 — Try: Beauden Barrett. Penalties: Richie Mo'unga (2).

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