The final served as a striking testament to the Springboks’ resilience, exemplifying their third consecutive one-point triumph in the tournament.
Their remarkable journey featured a heart-stopping 29-28 quarterfinal victory against hosts France and a gripping 16-15 win over England in the semifinals, all achieved with a razor-thin lead over their competitors.
This series of victories highlighted their extraordinary determination and ability to secure victories in the most challenging circumstances.
In contrast, the All Blacks found themselves on the losing end, primarily due to missed opportunities.
Richie Mo’unga’s inability to convert a crucial 58th-minute sideline kick and Jordie Barrett’s missed penalty from just beyond halfway in the 73rd minute proved costly.
The tension escalated further when Springboks winger Cheslin Kolbe received a yellow card for an intentional knock-on, leaving him in tears on the sideline, barely able to watch as his mistake almost cost South Africa.
The match reached its dramatic climax, both teams reduced to 14 players on the field at full-time.
New Zealand’s captain, Sam Cane, saw his yellow card upgraded to red by the television match official (TMO) for a high tackle on Jesse Kriel in the 27th minute, leaving the All Blacks with a numerical disadvantage in the crucial moments of the game.
As it Happened
The opening half of the match ignited the field with intense rivalry as both teams showcased impeccable defensive skills, turning the game into a gripping contest.
It became evident from the outset that the battle would be won in the trenches, with set-pieces and accurate kicks taking center stage.
Bongi Mbonambi’s early exit due to Shannon Frizell’s sin-bin penalty created a charged atmosphere, setting the tone for what lay ahead.
Handre Pollard seized the moment, propelling his team to a thrilling 3-0 lead and further solidifying his position as the leading scorer in the Men’s Rugby World Cup finals.
The first half witnessed a flurry of penalties, with Pollard adding to South Africa’s score while Richie Mo’unga responded for the All Blacks.
The tension reached its peak when Sam Cane, New Zealand’s captain, received a yellow card for a high tackle, later upgraded to a red card upon review.
This unprecedented moment heightened the stakes, intensifying the battle on the pitch.
With the teams exchanging penalties, the Springboks entered halftime with a 12-6 advantage. However, the second half burst into life when Siya Kolisi’s high tackle led to his yellow card, creating an electrifying 14 vs 14 scenario.
In this charged atmosphere, the All Blacks found an extra gear, coming close to breaking the deadlock. Aaron Smith’s potential try was denied, setting hearts racing among fans.
New Zealand, undeterred, managed to crack the formidable South African defense, scoring the only try of the match. Jordie Barrett’s strategic pass created an opening for Mark Telea, whose incisive run saw Beauden Barrett crashing over in the corner.
The missed conversion left the All Blacks trailing 11-12, setting the stage for a nail-biting 21-minute battle.
As the clock ticked down, the tension soared. Jordie Barrett took charge, attempting a decisive long-range penalty that narrowly missed its mark.
Simultaneously, Pollard, Damian Willemse, and Cheslin Kolbe launched daring drop-goal attempts, keeping spectators on the edge of their seats.
Despite Kolbe’s sin-bin penalty, the Springboks displayed unwavering determination. The climactic moment arrived when a resolute scrum held firm, and with the referee’s final whistle, South Africa etched their name in history, capturing the prestigious Webb Ellis Cup.
With celebrations in the air, Siya Kolisi did the honours of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, marking a historic moment as he became the second captain to lift the prize for a second time.
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