The Springboks have won the Rugby World Cup for the second consecutive time and are the first team to win the World Cup four times after defeating New Zealand in a tense 12-11 victory in Paris.
Despite a try by the All Blacks’ Beauden Barrett in the 58th minute, South Africa’s four penalty goals in the first half were enough to lead the Springboks to victory.
Along with this, a courageous defensive performance by the back-to-back champions stopped the highest-scoring team in the World Cup showing their attacking force.
Captain of the Springboks, Siya Kolisi, told Stan Sport: “There’s no words I can explain.
“There was a lot of pressure on us, but we found a way somehow. It’s not just about the game… our country goes through a lot, and we are grateful that we can be here.
“All is possible.”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 28, 2023
South Africa began playing the final at their own pace, which was a little slower than the All-Blacks and involved many stoppages.
This rattled the New Zealand defence, which coughed up penalties, comfortably slotted by Handre Pollard.
However, a yellow card to Shannon Frizell and a controversial television match official (TMO) red card to Sam Cane for a dangerous tackle became the main talking points, as South Africa dominated possession and restricted the All Blacks attack.
After the break, South Africa began to pressure New Zealand’s 22. Damian Willemese grubbered the ball past the Kiwi defence, and Kurt-Lee Ardnese pounced on the ball but dropped it over the line.
What might have been! This Rugby World Cup 2023 was fought on such fine margins. Good Luck & congratulations to South Africa. #RugbyWorldCup
— Arsenal Fan Circle (@ArsenalCircle) October 28, 2023
In the 52nd minute, Siya Kolisi received only a yellow card for a dangerous tackle similar to Cane’s red.
But without Cane, New Zealand pressed the South African defence and built momentum.
Match Fact: In the second half, South Africa made 163 tackles and recorded three turnovers.
In the 54th minute, Richie Mounga ran through the right side of South Africa’s line and passed the ball to Aaron Smith, who charged over the line. However, it was disallowed due to a knock-on.
Just a few minutes later, Mark Tele’a shook off the man of the match Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Willemese before passing the ball to Barrett, who scored what was the only try of the final.
A missed conversion by Richie Mounga and a missed penalty goal by Jordie Barrett decided New Zealand’s fate.
Aaron Smith, Richie Mo'unga, Beauden Barret played exceptionally tonight. 🤝🏾
Honestly speaking, if those conversion went thru they would have won. 😬
— 𝙂𝙤𝙙'𝙨 𝙉𝙚𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙧 (@sir__apex) October 28, 2023
The final 10 minutes were tense and cagey. Still, South Africa produced a tumultuous defensive effort to win their third consecutive match by one point.
Main Image: Screenshot courtesy Stan Sport