Spectacular Springboks down All Blacks to seal Rugby World Cup glory

Spectacular Springboks down All Blacks to seal Rugby World Cup glory

The Springboks delivered when it mattered on the greatest stage of them all as they hung on for a 12-11 victory over the All Blacks to successfully defend their Rugby World Cup trophy in Paris.

Under the intense pressure of a World Cup final against their greatest foe, the South Africans produced a clinical, committed and composed performance to shut out the dangerous opponents - sealing their third straight one-point victory in the process.

They were helped on the night by some poor discipline from the men in black, who played much of the match with 14 men after a yellow card to Shannon Frizell and then a disastrous red to their captain Sam Cane.

But the Boks also lost their captain Siya Kolisi for 10 minutes and Cheslin Kolbe as well at the end of the game - not to mention losing Bongi Mbonambi early to an injury - and did not let any of it deter them.

The end result was yet another World Cup triumph for the men in green and gold - heroes all - as South Africa clinched their fourth World Cup crown having come through one of the toughest draws in history.

Several players really stood up on the day, including man-of-the-match Pieter Steph du Toit, who made 28 tackles on the night and has surely put his name down in history as one of the greatest forwards the Boks have ever produced - but it was a team performance through and through.

This Springbok team is also sure to go down as one of South Africa's greatest ever, with so many two-time World Cup champions now among them, while head coach Jacques Nienaber's fairytale ending with the Boks is secure.


The match started in dramatic fashion for South Africa as hooker Bongi Mbonambi went down under potentially foul play from Shannon Frizell, who got a yellow card for falling with his weight on the South African No 2's leg.

But while Frizell got 10 minutes in the bin, Mbonambi could not continue at all, bringing his World Cup to a sad end and forcing Deon Fourie onto the pitch with just a few minutes gone.

Meanwhile, Pollard lined up his first penalty kick at goal and sneaked it in off the left-hand upright to give the Boks the lead.

South Africa were looking good in the early exchanges, putting together a few solid phases and causing several problems with their high up-and-unders, although the New Zealanders would have been happy to not go any further behind on the scoreboard with Frizell still off the pitch.

A good crossfield kick from Cheslin Kolbe was snaffled by Damian Willemse who kicked it ahead and forced Beauden Barrett to carry the ball over into touch deep inside their own 22.

From the ensuing line-out, the Boks attacked the All Blacks line with intensity but their defence stood firm. The South Africans won a penalty advantage, however, and took the easy kick on offer to double their lead.

The Boks then gave away their first penalty when Faf de Klerk tackled a player off the ball, as the All Blacks kicked for the corner rather than take the points on offer.

The Boks withstood the assault but gave away another penalty for straying offside and this time the All Blacks pointed to the poles as Richie Mo'unga got them on the board.

Ardie Savea infringed almost immediately from the restart, however, and Pollard opted for another shot - his toughest of the night - but made no mistake to put the Boks six points clear once again.

A good kick in behind the Bok defence then forced Willemse to carry the ball over and hand the All Blacks some great field position, but Eben Etzebeth came up with a fantastic steal.

The Boks then gave away a penalty at the lineout not long after to hand the All Blacks another great opportunity, but again the Kiwis couldn't secure their own ball.

Then came another TMO intervention as Sam Cane was pinged for a high shoulder shot on Jesse Kriel, leading to another yellow card for the All Blacks and robbing them of a penalty inside Springbok territory.

A great backline movement then took the Boks all the way to the New Zealand line, but Kolbe put the ball to boot when he really should have kept it in hand, and the All Blacks were able to escape.

Back came the Boks, however, and this time it was their defence applying all the pressure as they won a penalty with a great steal. Pollard wasted little time in taking the points as the Boks moved nine points clear.

Then came a hammer blow for the All Blacks as the TMO announced that Sam Cane's yellow card was being upgraded to a red, meaning the All Blacks would have to play the remainder of the match with 14 men - a massive blow to Cane and his New Zealand side.

That seemed to light a fire under the Kiwis, however, who produced some of their best rugby yet and very nearly took it all the way to the line for a great score but for a try-saving tackle from Kurt-Lee Arendse on Rieko Ioane.

Eventually, the men in black had to settle for the penalty advantage, taking the shot on offer to reduce the deficit to six points as it finished 12-6 to the Springboks at the break.

The Springboks nearly had a try in the opening minutes of the second half after Kolisi pounced on a loose high ball and charged towards the line, but he couldn't find a player in support and the ball was eventually held up as the All Blacks escaped.

The Boks were nearly in again when Arendse did superbly to nearly get on the end of a Willemse grubber kick, but he couldn't quite get a hold of it before it ran into touch.

Then came another massive moment as the TMO spotted a high shot from Kolisi, who also got 10 minutes in the bin for his troubles. His head appeared to make contact with the ball first, but the referee saw enough to award a yellow card, as both captains found themselves off the pitch for foul play.

The All Blacks were energised by that yellow card to Kolisi, however, and were soon awarded another kickable penalty but opted to kick for the corner instead. The Boks' defence stood firm, however, and the chance to get some more points on the board went begging.

The All Blacks' tails were up, however, and when some great work from Richie Mo'unga created a break in the middle of the park, an inside pass to Aaron Smith saw the scrumhalf go over for a great try. The TMO pointed out a knock-on in the build-up, however, and the try was chalked off - albeit with a penalty advantage for the Kiwis.

Back came the Kiwis under several penalty advantages, with the pressure eventually telling as Beauden Barrett went over in the corner. It looked like the final pass to Barrett was forward, but the referees didn't seem interested in checking it. Mo'unga's conversion kick was just wide, as the Boks stayed one point in front.

Meanwhile, the Bok lineout was starting to look a little shaky as they lost two in quick succession to spoil some decent field position, having already lost a couple earlier in the match.

The Boks desperately needed some possession, but losing their own scrum when the ball spilt out the side was not what the doctor ordered. Another opportunity to attack shortly after when begging when Willemse put the ball straight to boot and kicked it out.

With time starting to run out, it was still a one-point game, with the All Blacks holding on superbly despite being a man down, and the Boks not really able to get any consistent forward momentum.

Then came another TMO intervention as Kolbe was yellow-carded for knocking down an All Blacks pass, much to the winger's dismay. Jordie Barrett wasted little time in pointing to the posts, but he couldn't convert a very makeable kick as the Boks crucially stayed one point in front.

With time running out the All Blacks mounted a final desperate attack that very nearly came off but for a late knock-on to hand the Boks a scrum inside their own half.

It all came down to one final shove as the Bok pack gave it their all to secure the ball and take the contest past extra time, as South Africa held on to seal World Cup glory for the fourth time.

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