Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

South Africa have made it back-to-back Rugby World Cup wins with victory over New Zealand.

The Springboks retained the Webb Ellis Cup after a thrilling 12-11 win over the All Blacks in the final at the Stade de France in Paris.

It means back-to-back wins for South Africa, who triumphed over England in the 2019 final in Japan.

And with four tournament wins to their name, the Springboks are now outright the most successful team in Rugby World Cup history – a title they previously shared with New Zealand.

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South Africa’s Jesse Kriel celebrates after winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup final

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South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe celebrates

A red card for New Zealand captain Sam Cane – the first in a Rugby World Cup final – for a high tackle, and four kicks from Handre Pollard, gave South Africa the first half advantage.

Despite being a man down, the All Blacks launched a spirited fightback in the second half, pulling to within a point with a try from Beauden Barrett.

His brother, Jordie Barrett, then had a chance to complete a famous comeback victory for New Zealand – but missed a long-range penalty late on.

South Africa, who lost Cheslin Kolbe to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on as the final whistle drew near, then stood firm in the face of late pressure from New Zealand to secure a narrow – and historic – victory.

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Fans celebrate in Cape Town after South Africa win the Rugby World Cup

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The win means the Springboks remain unbeaten in Rugby World Cup finals – two of which have been won against their great Southern Hemisphere rivals, New Zealand.

They previously beat the All Blacks in 1995 in a narrow 15-12 extra-time win in Johannesburg – their first Rugby World Cup title.

The Springboks then beat England 15-6 in the 2007 final to win their second trophy.

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A dejected New Zealand team following the final whistle

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French President Emmanuel Macron presents New Zealand’s Sam Whitelock with his runners up medal

Their third – and the first of their consecutive Webb Ellis Cup wins – came against England in the last Rugby World Cup – the 2019 tournament in Japan.

New Zealand are the only other team to have won consecutive Rugby World Cups, with victories in 2011 and 2015.

England, who lost to South Africa by a point in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament, finished third by beating Argentina 26-23 in the play-off match on Friday night.

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