What is the latest team news?
New Zealand tweaked their team for Saturday’s final against South Africa with a single change but resisted any temptation to power up their bench to offset the forward-heavy list of replacements the Springboks named on Thursday.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster changed his lock combination again with Brodie Retallick restored to the line-up and Sam Whitelock returning to the list of replacements in the only change to the starting team.
New Zealand believe the 35-year-old Whitelock, playing his third World Cup final, is most effective coming off the bench, and could bring an injection of energy at a time when South Africa are refreshing their forwards.
Retallick and Scott Barrett started against Ireland in the quarter-final and Barrett and Whitelock were the lock combination in last week’s semi-final success against Argentina.
Among the substitutes, tighthead prop Nepo Lualua comes in for Fletcher Newell, adding more size, but the All Blacks keep a 5-3 split between forwards and backs on the replacements bench.
New Zealand XV: Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Mark Telea, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (capt.), Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Dalton Papalii, Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown.
Handre Pollard will start at fly-half against New Zealand with the Springboks springing a surprise by naming a 7-1 split among the forwards and backs on the bench.
Pollard replaces Manie Libbok at No 10 while Faf de Klerk comes in at scrum-half in two changes from the line-up that started last Saturday’s narrow 16-15 semi-final success over England.
The 29-year-old Pollard was brought on for Libbok after 30 minutes of the semi-final in one of several drastic substitutions made by the Boks’ coaches to try and get themselves back into a match that England were dominating.
In the end, Pollard proved the match winner again as he kicked over a 48-metre penalty to hand South Africa a place in the final.
South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber has surprised with his choice of replacements, going with seven forwards and a single back for the third time in the last two months.
It means South Africa are gambling on fresh forward power winning them the game but risking having no cover should there be any injury among the backs.
Saturday’s final is the last for 51-year-old Nienaber, who moves to Irish province Leinster after the tournament.
Bongi Mbonambi is clear to play tonight after World Rugby found insufficient evidence to pursue Tom Curry’s allegation that he was racially abused by the Springboks hooker in England’s semi-final defeat.
The game’s global governing body announced this week that it had closed the case unless additional evidence were to come to light.
Curry alleged to referee Ben O’Keeffe in the second quarter of the Stade de France showdown that he had been called a “white c—“ by Mbonambi.
South Africa XV: Willemse; Arendse, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe; Pollard, De Klerk; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Vermeulen.
Replacements: Fourie, Nche, Nyakane, Kleyn, Snyman, Smith, Wiese, Le Roux.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets for this match are only available via resale, and can be purchased via the official.
How can I watch the Rugby World Cup final?
It will be broadcast exclusively on free-to-air television by ITV 1.
Who won the last Rugby World Cup final?
In 2019, South Africa beat England 32-12 in the final in Yokohama, Japan. That was the country’s third World Cup success – the previous two coming in 2007 and 1995.
- 2019: South Africa 32 England 12
- 2015: New Zealand 34 Australia 17
- 2011: New Zealand 8 France 7
- 2007: South Africa 15 England 6
- 2003: England 20 Australia 17
- 1999: Australia 35 France 12
- 1995: South Africa 15 New Zealand 12
- 1991: Australia 12 England 6
- 1987: New Zealand 29 France 9
- New Zealand: 4/5
- South Africa: 6/5
Odds correct as of October 28.
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