UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
In the beginning there was 20 proud nations, hailing from 5 different continents, all with lofty ambitions of being one of the two lucky teams to go far enough to compete in the main event this Saturday night.
Somewhat poetically, while many others offered convincing campaigns, some overachieving, some coming oh so close, ultimately, it is the two most successful nations in Rugby World Cup history who will again compete in rugby’s most famous and prestigious match.
Of the nine Rugby World Cup’s to date, New Zealand and South Africa have won 2/3’s of them with three Webb Ellis Cup’s each.
Only one team will leave the Stade de France with an historic fourth World Cup title and the undisputed, unanimous claim to being the most successful rugby team of all time, at least for four more years and in doing so make it that only three of then ten Rugby World Cups have gone to a team that is not South Africa or New Zealand.
New Zealand vs South Africa match predictions
While New Zealand hold the historical bragging rights in this fixture, with 62 wins in 105 total fixtures, the last meeting between these two teams, in the warm-ups a few weeks ago, South Africa embarrassed the All Blacks 35-7.
New Zealand to win with a -1.5 point handicap @ 10/11 (1.90)
Am I English and bitter at a narrow loss to the Boks last week? Absolutely. Is it also show that the Kiwis are in better form this tournament and appear to be peaking at the pinnacle moment? Yes.
Argentina weren’t at their very best at this tournament and maybe should not have been in the semi-finals but they are absolutely no joke and a formidable opponent for absolutely anyone else in the world. Sweeping Los Pumas aside 44-6 at a canter is unheard of, the All Blacks demolished Michael Cheika’s team without leaving fifth gear and while denying Argentina a sniff at their try-line or any sight of entering the contest from the first kick to the last.
On the other hand, the Boks showed more than a glimpse of vulnerability against an England team that was described as being in worst shape than Argentina by many pundits. Regardless of how good or bad England were or weren’t, South Africa were error-strewn and nervous and struggled to get a foothold in the game until their replacement front row gained dominance in the scrum. Furthermore, their try, and the win in general for that matter, came with a generous stroke of luck.
For all these reasons, New Zealand will be the team to etch their name on the trophy for an historic fourth time.
Ardie Savea to win match of the match @ 18/1 (19.0)
This one I’m more confident about than the last prediction, despite the fact that the latter cannot happen without the former.
Ardie has been peaking for a while now, ready to make the jump from national hero to global superstar. With the likes of Dupont, Sexton, Farrell etc out of the tournament, the world is begging for a poster-boy to thrust themselves into the spotlight, that man is Ardie.
With his uniquely tantalising combination of speed, power, acceleration, skills and intensity, Ardie has been one of the players of the tournament and a catalyst in New Zealand getting this far into the tournament.
Like McCaw and Carter before him, if the Kiwis are to have a hero on Saturday night, Ardie will be the one to put his hand up and with a man of the match performance, a world player of the year award beckons.
New Zealand vs South Africa match preview
Despite the convincing challenges posed by Ireland, France and even England, it is hard to argue that the two teams remaining in the tournament have been the tournament’s two premiere contenders. But no one competes for second place, this Saturday we find out who is number one.
A redemption arc on par with Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League Final, people had written off the Kiwis 2023 Rugby World Cup hopes back in 2020 and the doubt continued to rain down on them all the way up until their quarter final, with may even bravely predicting an All Blacks demise at the hands of the Azzurri of all people.
With the quarter-final victory New Zealand re-earned their famed aura and elusive reputation as rugby’s bogey team and international rugby’s Mike Tyson.
It is one thing dominating a whole World Cup cycle as the undisputed best team in the world, before claiming the World Cup trophy that is rightfully yours, as in 2011 and 2o15 but to come from the depths that the All Blacks have been to in the last four years to win the biggest trophy of all? It might be the greatest moment in New Zealand rugby history.
Despite an unlikely win over hosts France in Paris two weeks ago, it feels like the Rugby World Cup has caught up with South Africa. Like New Zealand they had a shaky four years preceding Rugby World Cup 2023, only to put it together when it mattered.
However, unlike the Kiwi’s, who appear to be peaking, the Boks, judging from last Saturday night, appear to be crashing.
It will be utterly impressive to see a Bok victory but, in my opinion, that is blatantly unlikely.
New Zealand vs South Africa match details
- Date and Time: Saturday 28th October, 20:00 GMT
- Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
- How to Watch: See Here
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!