South Africa wins fourth Rugby World Cup, beating New Zealand in dramatic final

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In a rugged battle of attrition, South Africa's staunch defense prevailed to edge 14-man New Zealand 12-11 in a tense Rugby World Cup final on Saturday. The Springboks claimed their fourth Webb Ellis Cup title in eight attempts at the Stade de France before 80,065 spectators. Interestingly, the bookmakers of the platform considered the African team to be the favourite for the final. Their victory was estimated at odds of less than 2.00.
Intense rugby

This clash marked the first red card issued in a World Cup final, as the crackdown on dangerous play led to four yellow cards. All Blacks captain Sam Cane was sent off just before halftime after a high tackle was upgraded to red upon video review. Despite being a man down for most of the match, the All Blacks stuck to their attacking style and scored the lone try through Beauden Barrett to get within one point just before the hour mark.

The Springboks muscled up on defense and held firm under enormous pressure in the last quarter, as Handre Pollard's four first-half penalties proved sufficient. South Africa maintained the trophy for a fifth straight tournament in the southern hemisphere, and Siya Kolisi became the second skipper after Richie McCaw to lift it twice.

Kolisi remarked: «There are no words to explain this. The All Blacks took us to the brink - a dark place. Credit to my players too for the fight. I'm just thankful we could prevail».

Flanker Shannon Frizell was the first shown yellow after only 3 minutes for a ruck clearance on Bongi Mbonambi that forced the hooker off injured. Pollard nailed the penalty and another to lead 9-6 after the opening quarter.

Cane crashed head-first into center Jesse Kriel and saw red just before the half hour. Pollard added his fourth penalty after the dismissal was confirmed. Though Richie Mo'unga replied with a three-pointer for 9-6 at halftime, the Springboks had the advantage.
Still without come backs after halftime in a finals

No team had ever come back from a halftime deficit to triumph in a World Cup final. The Springboks burst out looking to capitalize on their extra man. But Kolisi was sin-binned for a high hit on Ardie Savea in the 46th minute. Aaron Smith then seemed to score the opening try eight minutes later after a brilliant Mo'unga break, but it was called back for an earlier knock-on.

Four minutes on, Beauden Barrett did get a try despite a potential forward pass in the tackle beforehand. Mo'unga missed the tough conversion, leaving South Africa ahead 12-11. Kolisi returned shortly after. The Bomb Squad came off the bench to relieve tired Boks forwards.

With seven minutes left, Cheslin Kolbe became the fourth yellow card. But Jordie Barrett's long-range penalty attempt went wide. New Zealand sought a fourth title but came up just short in the end.

Cane remarked: «Extremely gutted and disappointed. The courage they displayed was incredible – the whole team absolute warriors. It's tough».


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