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New Zealand vs South Africa Rugby World Cup Final Team News - Rugby World Cup finalists announce their squads

ralph-staniforth
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Last updated: 26 Oct 2023
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Ralph Staniforth 26 Oct 2023
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  • The Rugby World Cup final will take place on Saturday, 28 October (20:00 BST)
  • South Africa have made two changes to their starting lineup.
  • All Blacks make 1 change to their starting lineup
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Ian Foster and Jacques Nienaber
Ian Foster and Jacques Nienaber have announced their sides to feature in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final (Getty Images)

The 2023 Rugby World Cup final is upon us as New Zealand and South Africa not only vie for the title in 2023, but this game will also decide which of the two teams is first to win four World Cup titles.

Both teams have already suffered defeat during this World Cup, the All Blacks went down to France and the Springboks to Ireland in the group stages. However, they pulled themselves together to fight their way into the final in what is arguably the biggest rivalry in the sport.

South Africa have notoriously been a tough team to predict when it comes to selection and so it has proven once again. Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus has opted to go for a 7/1 bench split, something they tried in a warm-up game against the All Blacks and again in the pool fixture against Ireland.

With rain forecast for Paris on Saturday, it is easy to see why the coaches have gone with that option. It does however carry a lot of risk, especially when your backline player on the bench is Willie le Roux, not a specialist scrumhalf. 

However, the risk comes with reward as the Springboks can change almost their entire pack during the game. The bench split sees the end of Manie Libbok’s run in the squad after the mercurial flyhalf started every game bar the one against Tonga during the World Cup.

It also sees Faf de Klerk make his return to the starting line-up and Conus Reinach out of the squad completely. That means that the halfback pairing that started both knockout games is not in the squad for the final.

The All Blacks have made just one change to their side from the semi-final win over Argentina. Brodie Retallick returns to the starting lineup ahead of Sam Whitelock who finds a place on the bench.

On the bench, tight-head Nepo Laulala comes in for Fletcher Newell. Ian Foster has not tried to counter the South African bench, sticking with his 5/3 split.

New Zealand

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11. Mark Tele’a, 11 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jasper Wiese, 23 Willie le Roux.

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