In an electrifying match that had the world on the edge of its seat, South Africa’s Springboks made history by clinching their fourth Rugby World Cup title. Defeating the formidable New Zealand All Blacks 12-11, the Springboks claimed the Web Ellis Cup for the fourth time.
On October 28, 2023, the Springboks etched their names into the annals of rugby history. For the first time ever, a team hoisted the coveted Webb Ellis Cup four times. The moment was profound, and its ripple effect was felt far beyond the walls of Paris’s Stade de France. South Africa defeated New Zealand 12-11 in a nail-biting battle for rugby supremacy, marking their fourth win in the history of the Rugby World Cup.
In 80 tense minutes that could have gone either way, South Africa displayed a level of intensity that was palpable from the get-go. Leading 6-0 just 13 minutes into the game thanks to two penalty goals from flyhalf Handre Pollard, the Springboks signaled their intent early. The All Blacks notched their own penalty goal in the 17th minute, but Pollard’s third penalty four minutes later kept South Africa ahead; by halftime, the Boks led 12-6.
The New Zealand All Blacks left no room for complacency. Despite being a man down for much of the game due to red cards and injuries, they nearly clinched it. Their first try was disallowed due to a clear knock-on, but when Beauden Barrett scored the first valid try of the match, the tension was almost unbearable.
However, South Africa managed to hold their lead during the All Blacks’ sensational second-half performance, driving the Springboks constantly back toward the try-line but never quite managing to cross it again. By the final bell, South Africa had clinched the victory by a single point.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was on the sidelines of the match itself and joined the team to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup. His office congratulated the team in a statement: “Stronger Together is a belief that came to life for Springbok supporters all around our country, continent, and the world. Sport has the power to transform lives and lift the spirits of entire nations.” The President also extended his congratulations to New Zealand for a hard-fought campaign, calling them “deserving finalists.”
In South Africa, fans swarmed public venues like the Durban International Conference Centre and Montecasino, many of which reached full capacity hours before kickoff. “Tonight, Siya Kolisi and the 2023 World Cup champions have gifted us an extraordinary, inspired, and inspiring national achievement that lifts our hearts and hoists our flag even higher,” President Ramaphosa added.
This win has lifted the gloom of a nation plagued by corruption, power outages, and social strife, allowing South Africans, for a moment, to dare to dream again. “We found a way,” said Springbok Captain Kolisi in the post-match interview, still breathless from the game. “Honestly, I don’t think people not from South Africa understand what this means for our country… Our country goes through a lot, and we are that glimmer of hope that they have.”
As the dust settles on this monumental victory, one thing is abundantly clear: the Springboks have done more than win a tournament; they’ve won the hearts of a nation desperate for unity and triumph. And that, perhaps, is the greatest victory of all.