The road to the RWC final has been paved after several thrilling weeks of fantastic matches. The most awaited moment of the year is here, with South Africa set to face New Zealand on 28 October at the Stade de France in Paris, to determine who will win the world's biggest rugby trophy.
Finalists on the Road to the RWC Final
Last Friday, New Zealand asserted their dominance in the first semi-final against Argentina, the semi-final underdogs. It was the only lopsided match of the knockout stage, with the All Blacks overwhelming the Argentinian Pumas 44-6. In this match, Argentina couldn't muster a try, while New Zealand crossed their in-goal line seven times. Will Jordan, with 3 tries in the match, equalled the record of 8 tries in a single World Cup edition, a feat that he shares with Jonah Lomu (1999), Bryan Habana (2007) and Julian Savea (2015). This is the fifth final in ten World Cup editions for New Zealand, who have lost only once, in 1995 to South Africa, and clinched the title in 1987, 2011, and 2015.
On Saturday, South Africa and England squared off in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final. The second semi-final was a nail-biter, with England leading for the majority of the game. The English took an early 6-0 lead with two consecutive penalties and maintained a 12-6 lead at half-time. The second half saw Owen Farrell slotting a challenging drop goal, extending England's lead to 15-6. However, South Africa orchestrated a stunning comeback in the final minutes. With 11 minutes left, Snyman scored the game's only try, narrowing the gap to just two points. In the 78th minute, Handré Pollard's composed 49-metre penalty sealed a 16-15 victory for the Springboks. This marks the fourth World Cup final for South Africa, who have triumphed in all their previous finals in 1995, 2007, and 2019. Interestingly, this will be their first final against the All Blacks since their historic 1995 clash.
In 2023, New Zealand and South Africa faced off twice. The first match in July saw the All Blacks win 25-20, clinching the Rugby Championship title. The second encounter in August, a friendly in London, ended in the Springboks' most significant victory over their rivals, 35-7.
As these titans prepare for their final showdown, the question remains: Who will emerge victorious from this epic battle and be the first team to win the Rugby World Cup title for the 4th time?