VIDEO: 'They have learned how to fight in dark places'
REACTION: The trusty boot of a flyhalf and resolute defence again won the day for South Africa in a World Cup Final against All Blacks.
Handre Pollard kicked four penalties to help South Africa to a nail-biting 12-11 victory over 14-man New Zealand in the World Cup Final at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday to claim a record fourth title.
More significantly, the Springboks maintained their unique record of never having lost in a Final – having triumphed against the All Blacks in 1995 and 2023, as well as England in 2007 and 2019.
It is also the third successive one-point win at #France2023 – having beaten the hosts 29-28 in the quarterfinal, England 16-15 in the semifinal and New Zealand 12-11 in the Final.
All Black coach Ian Foster started his post-match debrief by praising the Springboks.
“[It was] a heck of a Final,” Foster said in his opening remark to a post-match media briefing.
“There is always high emotion on both sides of the fence in a Final and this will be no different.
“I want to congratulate South Africa for what they’ve achieved,” he said about the Boks’ 12-11 victory.
“They’ve shown a lot of character and tenacity throughout this tournament.
“That’s three close games they have come out the right side so they are doing something right.
“For us it’s heartbreaking.
“I look at the effort of our team, the way we played and came back and gave ourselves a really good crack at that, the second-half, particularly after the red card in the first half and the damage that decision made
“Overall, incredibly proud of our team but we’ve got a disappointed shed.”
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Foster said the Springboks ‘know their game’ – a well-drilled plan they execute to perfection.
“They are strong,” he told @rugby365com, adding: “They are experienced.
“Clearly they have learned how to fight in dark places.
“You can’t argue with the three tight wins in this tournament.
“They’ve got a lot of tenacity in that [dark] spaces.
“They have the ability to play the game at their pace.”
The Boks had led 12-6 at half-time in Paris, Handre Pollard kicking four penalties to two from Richie Mo’unga.
The sole score of the second half was a Beauden Barrett try for a New Zealand team reduced to 14 after Sam Cane was red-carded for a high tackle after 34 minutes.
“There are no ways I can explain it,” said Bok captain Siya Kolisi, who also received a yellow card in the second half for a high hit.
“I want to give credit to the All Blacks.
“They took us to the end, they took us to a dark place.
“It shows what kind of team they are, to fight with a man down from early in the game.
“They put us under so much pressure.”