The match, held at a rain-soaked Stade de France, was marked by resilient defense and an early red card for All Blacks captain Sam Cane.
Handre Pollard’s precise kicking proved to be the difference-maker in this intense contest.
Pollard, who famously scored 22 points in South Africa’s World Cup victory over England in 2019, kicked four crucial penalties to seal his team’s victory in this year’s final.
The Springboks‘ win marked their third consecutive knockout match triumph in this tournament, adding to their titles in 1995, 2007, and 2019.
Player of the match Pieter-Steph du Toit, reflecting on their nail-biting victories, stated, “The last three games have been quite tough, each one we have played has been a final, and each one we have won by one point.
“As a team, we like drama. It has helped us through the last few years, showing the resilience of this team.”
South Africa’s captain, Siya Kolisi, emphasized the significance of their win, saying, “Honestly, people who are not from South Africa don’t understand what this means for our country.
“It’s not just about the game on the field. Our country goes through such a lot. We are the hope they have.”
The game kicked off with intensity, with a yellow card shown to All Black flanker Shannon Frizell after just two minutes.
Referee Wayne Barnes penalized Frizell for an illegal ruck clearout, resulting in South African hooker Bongi Mbonambi’s injury and substitution.
Pollard converted the penalty, and Deon Fourie replaced Mbonambi.
Pollard added a second penalty after Codie Taylor failed to roll away in a ruck.
The early stages of the match saw relentless hits and aggressive defense from both sides.
The Boks, led by Pieter-Steph du Toit, maintained their offensive pressure, pinning the All Blacks in their own territory.
However, the All Blacks managed to score their first points through Richie Mo’unga, who capitalized on a penalty following an infringement.
Pollard quickly responded with another penalty after Ardie Savea failed to clear the ruck, connecting perfectly with a long-range kick.
New Zealand’s woes deepened when Sam Cane received a yellow card for a high tackle on Jesse Kriel, a decision that was later upgraded to a red card due to the high degree of danger involved.
Cane’s red card made him the first player in a Rugby World Cup final to be shown the ultimate sanction, leaving the All Blacks with 14 men for almost half the game.
South Africa’s resilient defense and Pollard’s kicking prowess allowed them to maintain their lead as they entered the second half.
The Boks missed two clear try-scoring opportunities, but Siya Kolisi’s high tackle on Ardie Savea resulted in a yellow card.
New Zealand made the most of the numerical advantage, with Beauden Barrett scoring a try to narrow the scoreline.
Jordie Barrett missed the conversion, and the game remained a one-point affair.
As both teams searched for an opening to close the game, South African winger Cheslin Kolbe was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-down.
Jordie Barrett’s long-range penalty attempt in the final minutes went wide, securing South Africa’s back-to-back titles and their fourth Rugby World Cup victory.