BLOW BY BLOW | Champions of the world! Boks win final by point against All Blacks

28 October 2023 - 16:03
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South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts The Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the world cup final
South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts The Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the world cup final
Image: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

**** - Full Time - NZ 11 Boks 12 - ****

These Springboks are indescribable - single-point wins against France in the quarters, England in the semis, All Blacks in the final. They are superhuman. 

Brutal, ugly, spectacular, monstrous. The Boks are everything, and more. They have entered the pantheons of greats becoming the second team to win back to back World Cups. They have four titles to New Zeland's three!


South Africa's nerves will take weeks to recover!


Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!! Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!! Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!! Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!! Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!! Champions of the World again!!!!!!


The clock past 80!!! Boks win scrum, ruck, ball not out. Boks have won the World Cup!!!!!!


De Klerk doesn't put-in - 7sec left!!!


Boks win it, Kriel kicks up-field, All Blacks have the ball. SA win it. Scrum to SA!! The biggest scrum of the World Cup coming for the Boks!!!


NZ on attack, into the SA half, keeping the ball.


NZ's 22-Finlay Christie clearance charged down by De Klerk, NZ still pinned back!


NZ scrum deep in their half.


Pollard unsuccessful drop attempt. NZ have the ball deep in their half. B. Barrett kicks, Pollard runs it back into All Blacks half, Du Toit breaks, but Boks lose it.


Boks have scrum 10m inside NZ half, swing it to the right.


J. Barrett misses penalty. 


Kolbe yellow card. His final is over.


TMO on a penalty to NZ. Kolbe may have a yellow.


Boks lose the Ball, NZ attack. 


De Klerk attacks round the right, kicks, All Blacks clear, Kolbe attempts a drop well off. Boks line-out inside NZ half. Clean win Du Toit.


Boks have the ball inside their half, put it up. Knock-on B. Barret. Scrum Boks.


Penalty allows All Blacks into SA half, with the line-out.


Earlier ... subs: Trevor Nyakane comes on for Malherbe.


Boks lineout inside their half, clean win. Kick ahead Faf. Scrum to Boks inside their half. They are looking to stabilise here.


Finally the Boks get some ball, big kiackahead Willemse, it comes back, Kolbe a rocket run through the middle, Willemse kicks trough and out in attacking left corner - finally momentum for the Boks. Will it last?


Nor can the Boks win their scrum - one against the head - All Blacks have the ball in front of SA 22.


Boks have line-out metres into in NZ - but SA cannot win a line-out at the moment. Then they lose a second one in a row. Huge pressure from the All Blacks the last 15min.


Mo'unga misses tough one from the left.

58min - Try! NZ 11 Boks 12

Tele'a skips past some challenges at left corner, J. Barrett goes over!


All Blacks maul, have penalty advantage.


The All Blacks attack the right corner, turnover - scrum to Boks 10m out. But ref Wayne Barnes (England) awards penalty to NZ. They kick to the corner.


NZ kick to the right corner with a penalty.


All Blacks had a great try, Mo'unga outstripping Boks, Smith over the line - except there was a knock-on at the line-out! No try!


Moments ago, the Bomb Squad-ing began ... Nche and Snyman come on for Kitshoff and Mostert (51st).


NZ on the attack from the line-out, a few knock-ons either way, scrum to SA.


All Blacks were definitely lifted by Kolisi going off. They win a line-out on halfway, on attack, going through the phases. Penalty to NZ, 20m inside Boks' half. J. Barrett kicks to the right corner.


Some big pressure relieved on NZ by that?


TMO - Kolisi hit on Ardie Savea - yellow card to the SA captain.


Boks on attack, Willemse grubber to the right corner, Arendse won the race but could not control over the line!


Lost forward in defensive position by NZ, Boks on attack, Siya Kolisi on the charge on the right, can't find the right pass, Boks to within inches of the line. Attempted drop-kick by Willemse again not successful.


Pollard kicks off!


At the break, here are some scenes from the Arena Holdings/TimesLIVE reporters and photographers in the bars in South Africa. 

Hendrik "Kabous" Hancke is at Thunder Gun Pub & Restaurant in Northcliff, Johannesburg. 

Alistair Russell is at Xai-Xai Lounge in Melville, Johannesburg.


Shew - Mzansi how are you doing?!

**** - 40min - Half Time - NZ 6 Boks 12 - ****

The Boks lead at the break. They've definitely edged almost all facets. The All Blacks showed a lot of fight soon after captain Cane's big red card. The Boks have a six-point lead - as they did going into the break in the 2019 final in Yokohama. Perhaps more importantly, they have a man's advantage, and Cane is a big loss for New Zealand.


That's the break.


NZ steal line-out, Pieter Steph du Toit another of his huge tackles in this final, Boks win irt back, Damian de Allende kicks ahead on the right but B. Barrett can mark, and clears.

38min - Penalty! - NZ 6 Boks 12

It comes back for a penalty - Mo'unga slots.


All Blacks on attack, huge tackle Kolbe on Rieko Ioane at NZ left corner.

34min - Penalty! - NZ 3 Boks 12

Pollard slots.


Huge decision here - the review makes it red for Cane, the All Blacks down to 14 men for the rest of the RWC final!


NZ win ruck, Mo'unga clears but not out, Willemse attempts a drop-kick but it falls short, another clearance is not out, the Boks run to 15m out and win a penalty.

Slow drip pressure getting points for the Boks.


NZ 15-Beauden Barret kicks over dead ball - Scrum SA back in NZ half - they win the scrum and Polard kick to the right corner where Kolbe narrowly cannot win the chase.


A whole lot of hoisting from both teams. Franco Mostert makes a physical carry, but knocks forward. NZ scrum outside Bok 22.

But 7-Sam Cane a high tackle on Jesse Kriel. Penalty to SA. Cane yellow card, the challenge will be under review.


Boks pressuring NZ line-out again, but concede penalty 12-Jordie Barret kicks into SA half.


All Blacks earn attacking line-out, Etzebeth wins on NZ throw, Boks kick ahead.


The Springboks less errors than some of their earlier thrillers, controlling, winning the big contests, winning the decisions, the All Blacks threatening only occasionally for thew first 20mins. Scrum to the Boks.

19min - Penalty! - NZ 3 Boks 9

From the kickoff Duane Vermeulen had a charge, Boks get penalty. Pollard slots from the left, more difficult kick.

17min - Penalty! - NZ 3 Boks 6

Easy enough for Mo'unga from the left. NZ on the board.


Penalty NZ, they're going for goal through 10-Richie Mo'unga.


All Blacks on attack, with a penalty advantage.


De Klerk took 11-Mark Tele'a off the ball, penalty NZ, they kick to the Boks' 22.


NZ kickoff. (There could have been a try in that passage for the Boks, but they have a six-point lead).

13min - Penalty! NZ 0 Boks 6

Pollard has an easy slot from to the left of the poles!


Boks going through the phases on attack 15m out, desperate defence from All Blacks. Penalty South Africa.


NZ kickahead, Kolbe takes, cross-kick taken by Damian Willemse ... small grubber - NZ run it out - Boks in NZ 22 again. 


Aaron Smith cleared to 20m into NZ half, quickly taken line-out by thew Boks, hoist by Faf de Klerk but free-kick to the All Blacks. Smith clears , but not out ... 


... but it's an NZ scrum - on their right, inside their 22.


Etzebeth strong break - Boks into NZ half - Pollard high ball for Cheslin Kolbe to chase - Nz kick out - excellent, physical play by Boks.


It was Deon Fourie who replaced Mbonambi.


NZ kick off - Boks into All Blacks half quickly again.

3min - Penalty! - NZ 0 Boks 3

Handre Pollard - bit nervy - easy enough for him but in off the post. Boks on the board!

But Mbonambi is off!


TMO - foul play All Blacks - 6-Shannon Frizell All Blacks yellow card - infringement on Mbonambi. Penalty to SA.


Huge early hit from Etzebeth. Bongi Mbonambi down treated.


Boks solid start - work back from kickoff to line-out on halfway, win it, Kurt-Lee Arendse kickahead, SA on front foot


All Blacks kick off - the Rugby World Cup final is under way!!


The Haka.


And then the anthems... New Zealand, bit of a church hymn-sounding ditty, then Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.


A quite bizarre 1980s (?) music compilation and some strange, silvery suits in the pre-game entertainment. Rather French, all of it. 


Just over 15 minutes to go!

What the TV pundits have been saying:


More scenes from in and around the wet Stade de France:


Some scenes from inside Stade de France (apparently it's wet - slippery ball again):


Here are some scenes from around the country in the build-up to the final, thwe well wishes, the Pres on the plane (I'm just here for the school cheers):


The Boks' arrival:

Hmm, do we detect some mildly amount more swagger here. Of course, there shouldn't be - these are two great teams. But we will make an effort to detect it nonetheless. 


The All Blacks arrival:


Arena Holdings/TimesLIVE has reporters and photographers at bars and fans parks across South Africa - catch their coverage in Sunday Times tomorrow.

Here are some scenes from Isaac Mahlangu at Montecasino in Johannesburg and Sakhiseni Nxumalo from the ICC in Durban:


Your blogger has walked a dog (bit of a side hustle - no jokes, don't ask): time to get into some build-up and scenes from Paris and around the country ... forthwith.

(Just over an hour to go. The stomach contracts, the butterflies have been drinking Red Bull!).


And now (as your blogger, given it's actually his day off, takes a small break, giving the reader some time, too, to digest what's been posted here so far), we wait ... . 

Build-up to this huge occasion to follow ...


For anyone who hasn't viewed this excellent breakdown of the Springboks-All Blacks  2023 RWC final by John Smit, we highly recommend it.

Fifteen minutes of pure eloquence as the Boks' 2007 World Cup winning captain captures the importance of the Springboks to South Africa - "it's bordering on a cult". He discusses the growing interest across race and cultural barriers of rugby and the Boks in the country; the scale of the SA-NZ rivalry, and what's especially notable about tonight's match. He talks about the genius of Rassie Erasmus and the Bomb Squad, and his relationship with Jacques Nienaber.  

Delivered, in conversation with former Scotland lock Jim Hamilton, in the notably pleasant surrounds of a stroll down the banks of the Seine in Paris by one of South African sport's best speakers.

Springboks legend John Smit joins Jim Hamilton in Paris to talk through the upcoming Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand at the Stade de France on Saturday.


Relive the two teams' roads the the final below:


This is how previews the final:

The two three-time champions and the current top two men’s sides in the world, according to the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, meet in the final of Rugby World Cup 2023.

Difficult though it may be to believe, New Zealand opened their Rugby World Cup challenge with a 27-13 defeat against France at Stade de France. Some 50 days and 47 matches later, they return to contest the final.

Head coach Ian Foster has made only two changes to the team that beat Argentina 44-6, with Brodie Retallick replacing Samuel Whitelock in the second-row, and Nepo Laulala replacing Fletcher Newell on the bench, while the All Blacks’ starting backline is identical to the one that lost 35-7 to the Springboks at Twickenham in August.

Defending champions South Africa also recovered from a pool phase defeat – against another pre-tournament favourite, Ireland – to book their place in the showpiece match with two one-point victories over France and then England in the knockout phase.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber has made five changes to his match-day squad from the one-point semi-final victory over England, with two in the starting XV and three in a 7-1 split bench.

In total, 10 players in the starting XV also started the Rugby World Cup 2019 – Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende and Cheslin Kolbe. Steven Kitshoff and Franco Mostert, who were on the bench in 2019, start this time. Willie Le Roux, who started four years ago, is the only replacement back this time. RG Snyman is again on the bench.


The Rugby World Cup final is test number 106 in the 102-year history of what is arguably international rugby’s greatest rivalry. The All Blacks lead the win count 62-39, with four drawn games, but could not win a test series in South Africa before 1966.


What match could be more memorable than the final of Rugby World Cup 1995 at Ellis Park? When the Springboks shackled Jonah Lomu, Joel Stransky landed the winning drop goal deep into injury time, and Nelson Mandela, in a South Africa jersey with a number six on the back, handed the Cup to Francois Pienaar?


It’s the final, between the tournament’s two most successful sides. Both New Zealand and South Africa have three titles to their name. But who will become the first four-time champions?


Will Jordan v Cheslin Kolbe. A pair of electrifying wingers go head to head for rugby’s biggest prize. Jordan, with 31 tries in 30 tests and on a four-game scoring streak in France, has the men’s Rugby World Cup individual tournament scoring record in sight – but if ever there’s a big-game player in the modern game, it’s Kolbe.


South Africa’s starting XV boasts a combined 987 caps. The back three of Kolbe (30 caps), Kurt-Lee Arendse (14) and Damian Willemse (38) are the only players in the run-on side that have fewer than 50 caps.

For the record, New Zealand’s starting XV has 981 caps’ experience. They have four centurions in the match-day team, just as they did in the 2015 final.


Wayne Barnes (England). The 44-year-old takes charge of his first World Cup final, in his 111th match in the middle - and his 27th RWC game. Karl Dickson and Matthew Carley are assistant referees, with Tom Foley the TMO.


The All Blacks side named by coach Ian Foster at about 6.30pm on Thursday was:

All Blacks XV (Test caps in brackets):

1. Ethan de Groot (21)

2. Codie Taylor (84)

3. Tyrel Lomax (31)

4. Brodie Retallick (108)

5. Scott Barrett (68)

6. Shannon Frizell (32)

7. Sam Cane (captain, 94)

8. Ardie Savea (80)

9. Aaron Smith (124)

10. Richie Mo’unga (55)

11. Mark Tele’a (8)

12. Jordie Barrett (56)

13. Rieko Ioane (68)

14. Will Jordan (30)

15. Beauden Barrett (122)


16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (29)

17. Tamaiti Williams (7)

18. Nepo Laulala (52)

19. Samuel Whitelock (152)

20. Dalton Papali’i (31)

21. Finlay Christie (20)

22. Damian McKenzie (46)

23. Anton Lienert-Brown (69)


The Springbok team named by head coach Jacques Nienaber at about 9am on Thursday was:

Springbok XV:

15 — Damian Willemse (Stormers) — 38 caps, 56 pts (4t, 9c, 4p, 2d)

14 — Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls) — 14 caps, 65 points (13t)

13 — Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) — 67 caps, 75 points (15t)

12 — Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) — 77 caps, 55 points (11t)

11 — Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath) — 30 caps, 91 points (14t, 3c, 5p)

10 — Handré Pollard (Leicester Tigers) — 68 caps, 686 points (7t, 96c, 148p, 5dg)

9 — Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles) — 54 caps, 50 points (5t, 5c, 5pg)

8 — Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby) — 75 caps, 15 pts (3t)

7 — Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) 75 caps, 40 points (8t)

6 — Siya Kolisi (captain — Racing 92) — 82 caps, 50 points (10t)

5 — Franco Mostert (Honda Heat, Japan) — 72 caps, 15 points (3t)

4 — Eben Etzebeth (Sharks) — 118 caps, 30 points (6t)

3 — Frans Malherbe (Stormers) — 68 caps, 5 points (1t)

2 — Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks) — 67 caps, 65 points (13t)

1 — Steven Kitshoff (Ulster) — 82 caps, 10 points (2t)


16 — Deon Fourie (Stormers) — 12 caps, 10 pts (2t)

17 — Ox Nche (Sharks) — 27 caps, 0 pts

18 — Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) — 66 caps, 5 pts (1t)

19 — Jean Kleyn (Munster) — 6 caps, 0 pts (Ireland 5 caps)

20 — RG Snyman (Munster) — 33 caps, 10 points (2t)

21 — Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) — 39 caps, 35 pts (7t)

22 — Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) — 26 caps, 5 pts (1t)

23 — Willie le Roux (Bulls) — 92 caps, 75 pts (15t)


Here are some match details:

City: Paris

Venue: Stade de France

Capacity: 80,698 

Kickoff: 9pm (France and South Africa time)

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Assistant referees: Karl Dickson, England; Matthew Carley, England 

TMO: Tom Foley, England

The Stade de France (French pronunciation:[staddəfʁɑ̃s],lit.'Stadium of France') is the national stadium of France, located just north of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis. Its seating capacity of 80,698 makes it the largest stadium in France. The stadium is used by the French national football and rugby union teams for international competitions. It is the largest in Europe for track and field events, seating 78,338 in that configuration. During other events, the stadium's running track is mostly hidden under the football pitch. — Wikipedia


Catch up on Liam Del Carme's build-up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup final, below:

Saturday October 28 - 4.05pm

Hi, this is Marc Strydom, your football writer, Arena Holdings Digital sports editor, oft teen Shark Tank attendee Live Blogger ... and damn, this is a big one.

For this reporter this is blog No 6 of the Boks' seven matches at this 2023 Rugby World Cup. Tonight at 9pm it's the monumental culmination of what most pundits are already calling the best World Cup ever.

Remember, there was more doubt about New Zealand before the start of the World Cup, especially after the Boks notched a record win against an admittedly slightly understrength All Blacks (the Boks were also not at full capacity) at Twickenham back on August 25. But there was probably also a sense before the tournament that if both got their game plans right they could see off some strong challengers — especially France (by the Boks) and Ireland (by the Kiwis) — for this to be the final. (In rugby, Boks vs All Blacks is always a distinct possibility, yet somehow it's only happened once).

Now we're here, the first repeat of 1995, the first World Cup since then when both the All Blacks and Springboks have fired — so often one or the other seems to at a World Cup — and the scale of it seems quite overwhelming. The Boks captured South Africa's imagination having to endure single-point thrillers — somehow repelling a host nation directing a steam train at full speed at them, then coming back seemingly from nowhere against a superbly applied gameplan by England that really rattled them — in the quarter and semifinals.

It is certainly going to take another such mammoth effort to win tonight's (Saturday) final at Stade de France (9pm) in rugby's greatest rivalry, as the two three-time champions (the All Blacks most recently in 2011 and 2015, and the Boks defending their title) smash into each other.

Hold tight, find a seat belt to fasten ... you will need one.

I am, of course, not in the stadium, but in my living room in Melville, Johannesburg, later to transfer to the Arena Holdings offices in Parktown. Arena senior rugby writer Liam Del Carme is in Stade de France.

All Liam Del Carme, TimesLIVE, TimesLIVE Premium and Sunday Times' 2023 Rugby World Cup coverage can be found here.

All the RWC 2023 pools, fixtures and results here.

Teams, match details and build-up to follow — stay tuned ...

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