Well, the English saved the honor of the European teams, on Friday evening, by defeating Argentina 26 to 23 in the third place match. But once again, it was the south of the planet that was in the spotlight on Saturday, at the Stade de France, venue of the 2023 Rugby Cup final. After two clashes this summer, with a win for each, on the other hand, the All Blacks and Springboks came together to highlight this global meeting. A third confrontation in 2023 between these two teams witnessed, at first, the All Blacks giving a lesson in kicks to the Bucs, then the latter winning thanks to its defense and impressive performance. This time, under the rain and the wind, these two legendary nations launched debates in the Stade de France, which was as full as an egg. Knowing that whatever the result this evening, one of the two countries will pin a fourth star on its shirt. Ultimately it was South Africa that achieved this feat.
Fragmented first period
The match started well and from the third minute, all the players of the third back row Frizell in the first regroup received a yellow card for foul play! Penalty kick for South Africa (3-0). The latter, fifteen against fourteen, dominates these first moments and gets a new penalty kick that Pollard converts, metronome (6-0). The Blacks also responded with a penalty kick (6-3), followed by…again and again…a penalty kick for South Africa (9-3). The desire to play, especially on the part of the New Zealanders, despite the wet weather conditions, boils down to a series of kicks from camp to camp, so much so that it is still a mistake that allows the Bucs to take three extra points games (12-3). But the highlight of this first period remains the yellow card for New Zealander Sam Kane, who turned red after a very high tackle. The end of this first half witnessed the return of New Zealand thanks to a penalty kick after a serious error by South Africa (12-6). Despite this progress made by the men led by Rassie Erasmus, nothing seemed certain.
The All Blacks are pushing in vain
In the second half, the match moves at a very high pace. The Springboks missed the chance to score the first try in two poorly negotiated opportunities. Kolisi and then Arendse were within walking distance. The same Kolisi received a yellow card a few moments later for dangerous play, allowing the two teams to play fourteen against fourteen for ten minutes. The Blacks produce the game, and the Boxers destroy it before the eyes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. But with pressure, the New Zealanders ended up finding the error and eventually scoring, thanks to Beauden Barrett, the first try in this final on the line (11-12). Both teams are taking blow after blow, and the players, led by Ian Foster, are not letting go, but South Africa are defending aggressively as the minutes tick by. As for the three matches, whether against France, then England, and finally New Zealand, the Springboks, thanks to defensive impetus, and small errors that are barely visible but very decisive in the outcome of the match, eventually clinched their second world title in a row and the fourth in their history.
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