Wow!! How dramatic and thrilling it was to close out the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final in the 47th & final match of the six-week tournament at Paris’s Stade De France where one of the two almighty nations will become the first 4 x Webb Ellis Cup winners – All Blacks & the Springboks. The first half has been full of penalty kicks where the Boks led the way from the beginning & while the ABs have caught them up at times, but then they lost skipper Sam Cane for the rest of this match due to a high jaw tackle on Jesse Kriel – which was initially seen as a yellow card before being upgraded to red by the referee Wayne Barnes. Half-time: 6-12. Although the ABs may have scored the one & only TRY by closing in on the Boks by just a single point later during the 2nd half. Unfortunately, not only they struggled to get away these kicks between the sticks from a difficult & long range, but they also couldn’t find a way to get past a scrambled Boks defense before it was too late. Despite no 2nd half score & seeing both skipper Siya Kolisi & Cheslin Kolbe sitting in the naughty chair, the Boks held on their one-point buffer really well en route towards their 4th World Championship title after full-time, 11-12.
Pieter-Steph Du Toit is one of the Boks’ most important players out there thanks to an all-round display in the Openside role at No.7. He’s extremely tall who did well to limit the All Blacks’s attacking play while he puts his body on the line through their wall every time the Boks have the ball on hand, which shows how much they need him so badly as the longer they hold on, the better it will be to see light at the end of the tunnel that saw the ABs struggle under pressure. Next up Handre Pollard ends up as the No.1 kicker and No.10 player for the World Championship winning Boks team. He’s an excellent team member who can give them everything as his kicking conversion accuracy was spot on as always thanks to these winning penalties, even though all the points his side has accrued has been three-point kicks. Both of them have been stronger as ever that reflects the Bokke’s rebuild from the top since 2018-19 whereas nearly all of their four original Super Rugby franchises now ply in Europe – congrats on being the first team to lift 4 x Webb Ellis Cup trophies now in Rugby World Cup history.
And Mark Telea rounds off the Top 3, having done the best he can to try and get the All Blacks over the line on the wide right at No.14. He’s an excellent communicator who backs up really well as being tested both in attack & defense before Mark was able to make good use of the ball such as the pace including these 1 v 1 battles against defenders that saw him found the quick ball assist to fellow Blues player Beauden Barrett with the team’s only big score. Sadly, ill-discipline has hit them very hard where the ABs were so behind before they couldn’t get it done under pressure in the end as runners-up.
After 47 games over the last six weeks, the 2023 Rugby World Cup has come to a close as we look forward to the next World Cup edition in four years time at our own backyard in Australia. It’s been great seeing the Southern Hemisphere teams dominate once again despite some early round defeats against 1-2 best Northern sides out there including some first-time moments from the Tier 2 nations, such as Portugal’s win v Fiji 23-24 in Pool C & Uruguay def. Namibia 36-26 in Pool A respectively. Now we’re going to swap the Gilbert rugby ball with a cricket bat and ball for the summer as always following a long season this year before we go back all again beginning with a brand new season of Super Rugby in February 2024 followed by the Wallabies & Club Rugby (Shute Shield & QLD Hospital Cup) campaigns during the 2nd half of the year.