South Africa clinched a record fourth Rugby World Cup
South Africa clinched a record fourth Rugby World Cup title by doing just enough to deny 14-man New Zealand and retain their crown in a helter-skelter final in Paris.
Sam Cane caught Jesse Kriel high in the 27th minute after Handre Pollard had already given the Springboks a 9-3 lead with a dead-eye goal kick.
The All Blacks were a man down, nine points behind, and one penalty away from disaster after the captain was shown a red card on review.
In the end, New Zealand pulled itself back into the game by riding their luck and rallying. Beauden Barrett slid in after the break to cut South Africa’s lead to 12-11. Richie Mo’unga kicked a penalty before the break and Beauden Mo’unga kicked a penalty before the break.
In an enthralling, lactic-drenched final quarter, neither team could find a decisive score, with Jordie Barrett missing a long-range penalty in the 73rd minute and the Springboks clinging to victory by one point.
As Siya Kolisi danced off the bench and towards his teammates on the final whistle, he clutched his head in disbelief. In the build-up, Leinster-bound coach Jacques Nienaber highlighted that his team are the only team to win the World Cup back-to-back away from home.
Having won half of their eight tournaments, the Springboks have now won half of them. Despite the country’s apartheid government, South Africa missed the first two editions due to sporting exile imposed by the rest of the world.
The Springboks were hated by many black South Africans during that time period. Kolisi, the team’s first black captain, has won the backing of the Rainbow Nation across the spectrum.
The four-year reign of New Zealand coach Ian Foster ends within a whisker of the ultimate prize, after his team dipped below their usual high standards during the build-up.