South Africa edge New Zealand to win Rugby World Cup for record fourth time

By Sports Desk October 28, 2023

New Zealand captain Sam Cane became the first player to be sent off in a World Cup final as South Africa retained their title with a nail-biting 12-11 victory at Stade de France.

Cane was shown a red card for in the 28th minute for a dangerous tackle on Jesse Kriel but the All Blacks responded with character and resilience to take the champions to the wire on a wet Paris night.

Beauden Barrett ran in the first try ever scored against South Africa in a World Cup final as the final quarter approached but, with Richie Mo’unga unable to add the conversion, New Zealand still trailed.

Jordie Barrett then missed a tricky long-range penalty that would have toppled the Springboks and despite furious late attempts to strike from long range they were unable to break through the green wall.

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    Conor Murray celebrated an "incredible" victory over South Africa after Ciaran Frawley's heroics sealed a 25-24 victory over the Springboks.

    Reigning world champions South Africa lost to Ireland on home soil for just the second time as Frawley knocked over a drop-goal with the final kick of Saturday's Test in Durban.

    It capped a stunning comeback for Ireland, who trailed 16-6 at half-time.

    Remarkably for such a high-scoring encounter, there was only one try, with Murray going over for Ireland, while Handre Pollard converted eight penalties for South Africa.

    The day belonged to Frawley, though, as he nailed two drop-goals to condemn South Africa to a first defeat at Kings Park since 2016, ensuring the two-Test series was drawn.

    "Incredible," Murray told Sky Sports. "Just to come here, in the world champions' backyard and we knew it would be tough and it was last week and it was again today.

    "South Africa don't lose easy and they find a way. It's so frustrating at times to play against. We believed in ourselves, coming into South Africa's backyard is always going to be a big challenge and I think we can be proud.

    "Last week hurt, it was a tough defeat and to turn up this week, we knew we were getting a break at the end of the week and the boys turned up and committed to this week."

    Frawley was equally as delighted.

    "It's mental," he said. "This place is a fortress and it's so loud. The game was back and forth but the boys dug in deep. We were in our own half and managed to get up, we're delighted."

    South Africa have lost just their second Test match in the space of 14, with the Springboks seeing a six-match winning run come to a close.

    Their only other loss during that run came against Ireland at last year's World Cup. 

    Springboks captain Siya Kolisi told Sky Sports that his team were always up against it despite taking that big lead.

    "In the first half the intensity and the physicality they [Ireland] were in charge of that definitely and we were just playing catch-up," he said. 

    "We weren't as intense as we were last week and they were dominating us and that was the big change from last week."

    The victory saw Andy Farrell celebrate his 50th Test in charge of Ireland in style. 

    Farrell is only the fourth Irish men's coach to hit the half-century milestone, after Declan Kidney (53), Joe Schmidt (76) and Eddie O'Sullivan (78). He has won 40, with his win rate being the highest of any Ireland coach to have taken charge of at least three Tests.

  • Gatland confident Wales can transform fortunes after Australia series defeat Gatland confident Wales can transform fortunes after Australia series defeat

    Warren Gatland remains optimistic his young Wales side can turn into a "really good team" despite their series defeat to Australia.

    Wales' losing streak extended to nine matches on Saturday as Filipo Daugunu scored two tries to secure a 36-28 triumph for the Wallabies in Melbourne.

    Gatland's men were punished early on as their opponents raced into a 17-0 lead but showed grit and determination to get back into the contest before the break. 

    However, Wales' mistakes proved costly as Daugunu sealed the win with 12 minutes remaining, leaving the Dragons without victory in Melbourne since 1969. 

    Head coach Gatland believes his young side will be able to turn their losing streak around if they cut out those key mistakes. 

    "We worked so hard for our points today and we're showing a little bit of inexperience in terms of how we've gifted them points," Gatland told Sky Sports.

    "It's frustrating but I can't question how hard the boys work. We need to be honest with ourselves in terms of how we allowed them some soft tries.

    "When you look at the tries they've [Australia] scored, it's a bounce of a ball or something's happened, so that's disappointing. First half, I felt the guys kept trying, we scored a couple of nice tries and gave ourselves a chance to win the game.

    "We've got a group of young men who have been excellent, and they've just got to learn from those experiences and be more accurate in big moments.

    "I'm telling you, this is going to be a really good team. They're working incredibly hard and there's a good buzz within this group. We just probably need to be a little bit more streetwise.

    "I think they'll learn a lot from this tour and they've got the autumn to look forward to and then the Six Nations."

    Wales will now prepare for their upcoming Test fixture with Fiji in November, with the pressure mounting on Gatland following a poor run of results. 

  • Australia 36-28 Wales: Daugunu double helps seal series win for Wallabies Australia 36-28 Wales: Daugunu double helps seal series win for Wallabies

    Filipo Daugunu's two tries ensured Australia edged a thrilling encounter with Wales 36-28 to extend Warren Gatland's side's losing streak to nine matches. 

    Daugunu secured the triumph 12 minutes from time in Melbourne as Wales were punished for making several costly errors. 

    A bright Wales start was punctuated when Daugunu opened the scoring, capping off a slick Australia move that started on their own line.

    The Wallabies raced into a 17-point lead through Jake Gordon's score, but Wales got themselves back into contention via a driving maul as Dewi Lake bundled over.

    Noah Lolesio converted a penalty shortly after for the hosts, but Wales would take advantage of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto's sin bin when Lake doubled his tally.

    Liam Williams reduced the deficit to two points shortly after the break, only for Australia to regain control through Allan Alaalatoa's first try in 69 Tests. 

    Daugunu's second of the game late on put Australia further ahead, but Rio Dyer found a way over following the restart to set up a nervy finish at AAMI Park. 

    However, it proved to be too big of a mountain to climb, with Wales now preparing for their next Test against Fiji in Cardiff in November, and the pressure is on Gatland.

    Data Debrief: Wales' woeful run rolls on

    Wales' defeat in Melbourne was their ninth in a row, with their last victory a group-stage win over Georgia at the 2023 World Cup. It is the Dragons' worst run since 2003 under Steve Hansen.

    The Dragons also have a dismal record Down Under. They have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1969. 

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