OPINION: The Last Dance: Boks take on All Blacks with rugby immortality on the line

OPINION: The Last Dance: Boks take on All Blacks with rugby immortality on the line

A long 28-year wait will come to an end on Saturday when the Springboks finally face the All Blacks in the World Cup final for the first time since 1995 in Saint-Denis.

Springboks beat England in Rugby World Cup semi-final 2023

Saturday night's predicted deluge over the East Coast of South Africa will hopefully not be the omen that no one asked for, as the beloved Bokke stare down back-to-back World Cup titles and the right to call themselves the only four-time winners of the William Webb Ellis Cup.

New Zealand, albeit in a shady, muffled, humble brag type of way, loves the limelight of being record holders, and after becoming the first-ever three-time winners of the World Cup, it would be so sweet to eclipse them to that fourth title.

The routes to the final for both sides have followed similar yet very different courses. The Springboks had to navigate the treacherous waters of the pool of death in order to qualify for the playoffs.

The Boks lost one pool match against Ireland, who, once again, choked in the quarter-final and were sent home. That loss came later in the pool, but they knew that by beating Scotland, they had the lifeline in hand should they need to use it.

Their quarterfinal was brutal, and their semi-final was more emotionally taxing than the physical toll the match against France took.


This leads us up the path to the doorstep of the final, a path that saw the All Blacks lose their first-ever group match at the global showpiece.

They lost to hosts France, who will also be watching from the comfort of their living room sofas, in their opener, but as New Zealand sides do, they built up slowly and got into their stride with a number of dominant wins on their way to tomorrow's epic stand-off outside the Last Chance Saloon.

The semi-finals for both sides couldn't have been more different. The Springboks were forced to grind out a one-point victory over a dogged England side while New Zealand pranced their way around, through and over Argentina in a terribly one-sided affair.

The question remains: do the Boks have enough in the tank to get up emotionally and physically to match New Zealand over 80 minutes?


This could well be the last World Cup that several of the Springbok players play in, so the answer is a resounding yes.

After the 2019 box was ticked, Siya Kolisi made it publicly known that a Lions Series victory and back-to-back World Cup titles was the goal for his group of players, and they have been resolute and unrelenting in their pursuit of their goals.

That brings us to 9 p.m. on Saturday evening in a potentially soggy Paris.

With seven power-house forwards waiting in the wings and a man with the composure of a surgeon off the tee, if the Boks can get themselves in front heading into the final 30 minutes, things could look fairly gloomy for the All Blacks.

But, if the Boks concede early and are forced to play their hand earlier than they would like, it could become the match we are all dreading.

Result aside, this Springbok team has achieved more than any Bok side in the past has managed. World Cup winners, Rugby Championship winners, Lions Series winners, the nation's hearts winners. They have created a legacy and sustainability within South African rugby that we have never seen.

With two correct calls last week, although my margins were terrible... here goes:

South Africa 21-17 New Zealand


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