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The race to four Rugby World Cup titles will go down to the wire in Paris on Saturday, as New Zealand take on South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final. With both sides entering this match off the back of contrasting semi-finals last weekend, we look at the New Zealand vs South Africa lineups and break down what changes each side have made ahead of Saturday.
New Zealand vs South Africa lineups and news
With the All Blacks cruising to victory against Argentina, and South Africa scraping their way past England by the skin of their teeth, both squads will have been feeling very different on Monday. Here’s how the New Zealand vs South Africa World Cup lineups are looking ahead of this match:
Team news: New Zealand
Coach Ian Foster has made negligible changes to the side that defeated Argentina last week, switching just one player in the starting lineup and one on the bench. Brodie Retallick, who played off the bench in the World Cup semi-final, will return to the starting XV in place of Sam Whitelock, who returns to the replacement role he held against Ireland. Speaking of the bench, Nepo Laulala comes in to bolster the scrum, pushing Fletcher Newall out of the 23.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 27, 2023
New Zealand lineup
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Tele’a, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Bench: 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.
Team news: South Africa
Two months ago, South Africa became the talk of the rugby world when they played an outrageous 7-1 forwards-backs split on their bench against the All Blacks. That was a dead rubber warm up match, however, so it was easy to dismiss. Now, however, they’ve gone for it again in the biggest game of them all.
With only Willie le Roux covering the backline on the bench, South Africa are taking a huge risk here by keeping almost an entire forward pack in their reserves. If it pays off, Rassie Erasmus will be praised as a genius; if Handre Pollard or Faf de Klerk are injured in the first 10 minutes, there might be a few pangs of regret. Speaking of which, both Pollard and de Klerk move into the starting XV this weekend, harshly pushing Manie Libbok out of the 23.
The most experienced #Springboks team ever will line up for the #RWC2023 Final against New Zealand in Paris on Saturday – more here: https://t.co/oySTFCRVOo 🇿🇦#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/JEeGNVyjI1
— Springboks (@Springboks) October 26, 2023
South Africa lineup
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Bench: 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.
Will Dane Coles play today?
In what Foster has described as the toughest call of his coaching career, veteran Dane Coles will not be in the All Blacks’ 23 for the Rugby World Cup final. This means that the well-liked player will end his career representing New Zealand from the sidelines, with his final Test match being the World Cup quarter-final against Ireland where he came off the bench.
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