The All Blacks stormed into the final after a comprehensive 44-6 victory against Argentina, while South Africa reached Saturday’s showpiece event after a last-minute penalty secured them a narrow 16-15 win over England.
Both sides have met once before in the World Cup final, with the Springboks edging the 1995 encounter 15-12 in extra-time and Jacques Nienaber’s side will take further confidence from their convincing 35-7 win over the All Blacks in a World Cup warm-up clash in August.
Follow all the action from the final below plus get all the latest odds and tips from the Rugby World Cup here:
New Zealand vs South Africa live
New Zealand take on defending champions South Africa at Stade de France
Kick-off live at 8pm, live on ITV1
Both teams vying to become the first nation to win the tournament on four occasions
Borthwick excited by England’s future
16:45 , Mike Jones
“Playing finals games at World Cups is important,” said England head coach Steve Borthwick after securing the bronze medal for the 2023 World Cup. “In the last two World Cups, this group of players have played six finals games and won four of them. We want to be in the final and winning the gold medal. That wasn’t to be, but having finals experience has been important for this squad.
“Naturally at the end of World Cups, there are always some players that decide their time as a current England player will come to an end, but the age profile of the squad is strong.
“If you look at the semi-finals last week, we had seven players 25 or under, more than any other team in the semi-finals. And there’s a number of exciting young players that didn’t make the 33-man squad but were part of the preparations. As I look forward, there’s excitement about those players.”
New Zealand vs South Africa prediction
16:37 , Mike Jones
Expect a far closer game than the record 35-7 drubbing that the Boks inflicted on the All Blacks in the warm-up to this World Cup.
New Zealand looked back to their scintillating best against Argentina, while South Africa demonstrated their ability to wear a team down and find a way in their win against England.
It’s all set for a classic encounter and there certainly won’t be much to separate the two sides.
New Zealand 19-15 South Africa
England seek evolution not revolution behind six leaders after encouraging World Cup
16:30 , Mike Jones
It ended as it began for England, seven weeks of French adventure bookended by wins over Argentina. If their last tango in Paris was occasionally executed with the elegance and elan of a tipsy wedding guest with two left feet, then they can take heart from having again found a way to victory.
England’s players will return to club duty having won six of their seven Rugby World Cup matches. Third spot may ultimately be a disappointment for the squad given how close they came to shocking South Africa, but it is a considerably higher finish than some would have feared.
It didn’t all go well, certainly on Friday night in a scrappy game that England did not quite manage to throw away. But an experience of finals rugby should be of value to those experiencing their first taste of a World Cup - they are hardly the first group of English youngsters to come back from two months on the continent bronzed but a little bit bruised.
New Zealand vs South Africa lineups
16:23 , Mike Jones
New Zealand XV: 15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Jordie Barrett, 11. Mark Tele’a, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. Ethan de Groot, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Scott Barrett, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 8. Ardie Savea
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 XV: 15. Damian Willemse, 14. Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Steven Kitshoff, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Franco Mostert, 6. Siya Kolisi (captain), 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8. Duane Vermeulen.
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
New Zealand vs South Africa team news
16:15 , Mike Jones
New Zealand have made a single change to their starting side as Brodie Retallick is promoted from the bench to partner Scott Barrett in the second row, with Sam Whitelock, who will become the first man to feature in three World Cup finals in his last All Blacks Test, on the bench.
Prop Nepo Laulala is brought on to the bench to provide experienced tighthead cover in the only other change to the matchday 23 that secured such a commanding semi-final win over Argentina.
South Africa, meanwhile, have made two half-back changes as they return to their controversial 7-1 bench split for the final. Semi-final hero Handre Pollard will start at fly half as Faf de Clerk replaces Cobus Reinach at scrum half, meaning there is no place on the bench for either Cobus Reinach or Manie Libbok who both started the semi-final.
After World Rugby found there was “insufficient evidence to proceed with charges” amid the racial slur allegations made by Tom Curry, hooker Bongi Mbonambi is free to play in the final and has been selected in the No 2 shirt.
How to watch New Zealand v South Africa
16:08 , Mike Jones
The Rugby World Cup final is scheduled to kick off at 8pm BST on Saturday 28th October at Stade de Frace in Paris.
Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the match live on ITV1 with coverage beginning at 7pm BST. Registered users can also stream the match for free online on ITVX.
Steve Borthwick ‘delighted’ after England confirm lesson learnt in Argentina win
16:00 , Jack Rathborn
The Pumas paid the price for allowing England to build a 13-0 lead and while they fought back to control the second half, Borthwick’s men held their nerve to send scrum-half Ben Youngs into Test retirement with a bronze medal.
Their only defeat at France 2023 was the agonising 16-15 loss to South Africa in the semi-final.
“I’m delighted for the players to get the win after they have worked so hard,” Borthwick said.
England’s next generation produce mixed bag to claim Rugby World Cup bronze
15:45 , Jack Rathborn
If this was a glimpse of England’s future then it rather resembles their past. Steve Borthwick’s squad will leave France with bits of bronze in their pockets, outlasting Argentina in an entertaining affair to decide third spot despite threatening a familiar fourth quarter fade to defeat.
The England players slapped shoulders and shared hugs, happy enough with a World Cup medal of any kind at the end of a long and rigorous tournament. Perhaps this was always the likeliest summit, a short three steps up on to a rapidly-erected rostrum to collect their decoration and reflect on some progress made.
This was something of a changing of the guard for England, bidding adieu to Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and a couple of others marking Test farewells, while also looking at the core coming through to lead Borthwick’s side into the next cycle.
Spectacular New Zealand vs South Africa final is just the start of rugby’s exciting ‘new era’
15:30 , Jack Rathborn
As any Paris shop owner will tell you, an alluring storefront can be everything. In this beautiful old city, the public are spoilt for choice, chic spots and souvenir shops abundant along the narrow streets and grand boulevards. A bit of glitz and glamour in an attractive aperture can be the difference between a passing glance and a bustling boutique.
And so the Rugby World Cup reaches its day of greatest shop window prominence, hoping to dazzle with a Stade de France showpiece contest between two great rivals. On Saturday, South Africa and New Zealand will battle to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time, the etcher at the ready though unlikely to be able to start their work too soon with two such evenly-matched, if radically different, sides. You could hardly have a more enticing game to sell the sport. The eyes of the world will be watching; this encounter has every chance of enchanting them.
“This is what World Cup finals are about,” Ian Foster, New Zealand’s head coach, said this week. “I don’t think there’s ever a small one.
Stuart Hogg column: New Zealand’s wingers terrify me! They can make the difference in the World Cup final
15:15 , Jack Rathborn
Last week, Argentina were good; New Zealand were just incredible. They blew them away time and again. I thought that the All Blacks would turn over the French in the first game, and that would then give the hosts a kick up the backside and galvanise them. Whereas that is what has happened to New Zealand. They got thumped by South Africa a couple of weeks before the World Cup, then they were beaten by the French. They had two big defeats against two of the best teams in world rugby and everyone said they weren’t good enough any more. They’ve almost said, “we’ll show you.”
They are a very clever side, New Zealand. They’ll have analysed Argentina and the opportunities against them. You look at Will Jordan’s hat-trick try, an off-the-top-of-the-lineout to Ardie Savea. The tail of the lineout chase Savea, who drops it off on his inside and Jordan runs 90 metres to score a try with a lovely bit of individual brilliance.
They’ll have looked at opportunities all throughout the week. Looking at those opportunities is one thing; being able to execute them under pressure is another. I thought they were clinical in everything they did.
I’m a big, big fan of New Zealand’s wingers. I think Jordan has the all-round ability to be an unbelievable rugby player. I was a bit nervous a few years ago – there were rumours he was Scottish and might be coming across to play full-back. Thankfully he stayed with the All Blacks.
The bold calls that saved Ian Foster and took All Blacks to brink of World Cup glory
15:00 , Jack Rathborn
p in the coaches’ box at Ellis Park, Ian Foster exhaled deeply. It was August of last year, and the All Blacks head coach’s job had been hanging in the balance, a run of five defeats in six matches putting Foster in the firing line. The prognosis looked grim, with the grand old home of South African rugby packed to the rafters with 62,000 Springbok fans who would have loved nothing more than for their side to unseat the coach of their great rival.
But Foster’s team saved him, shocking South Africa 35-23 to bring their coach back from the brink. Only New Zealand and Foster himself will know truly how close he was to losing his job, but there is every possibility that defeat in Johannesburg would have spelled a premature end to Foster’s tenure. The players knew what it meant. “We were playing for our coach’s job,” scrum half Aaron Smith admitted afterwards.
Little more than a year later, and Foster is ready to lead New Zealand into a final; there is every chance that on Saturday night, he’ll be a World Cup winner. Such a tag would normally ensure a status as something of a national hero – Foster’s predecessors Graham Henry and Steve Hansen both have knighthoods.
Undisputed champions? Why New Zealand v South Africa is more than just the Rugby World Cup final
11:25 , Jack Rathborn
It’s the two greatest rugby nations going head to head, with the winners becoming the first country to claim four men’s World Cups. Unlike boxing, rugby doesn’t have the notion of an undisputed champion but if ever there was a match to decide one, Saturday evening in the Stade de France would be it.
As Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick explained 24 hours before the match: “The All Blacks have won the World Cup three times, we have won it three times, so this game is actually bigger than just a World Cup final. Whoever wins is probably going to have bragging rights for the next eight years.”
Rugby World Cup final - live
Friday 27 October 2023 15:11 , Ben Fleming
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Rugby World Cup final from the Stade de France. After seven, long, pulsating weeks it all boils down to this: New Zealand take on South Africa for a place in Rugby history. The winner today will become the first nation to win this storied competition on four separate occasions.
Both sides reached the final in different ways; the All Blacks storming past Argentina while the Springboks squeaked past England but, regardless, the stage is set for another classic encounter between these two great rugby nations.
Stay with us for all the build-up ahead of kick-off in Paris!