The Final Siren: Key Takeaways from the Rugby World Cup Grand Finalerugbyworldcup,grandfinale,finalsiren,keytakeaways
The Final Siren: Key Takeaways from the Rugby World Cup Grand Finale

The Final Siren: Key Takeaways from the Rugby World Cup Grand Finale

6 minutes, 15 seconds Read

Five things we learnt from the Rugby World Cup Final

The Red Card

The Rugby World Cup 2023 Final between South Africa and New Zealand will be remembered as one of the tightest and most controversial in history. One of the key moments of the match was the red card shown to All Blacks captain Sam Cane, making him the first player ever to receive a red card in a men’s World Cup Final. Cane’s high tackle on South African player Kriel left no room for argument under the current rules. This incident has sparked discussions about the different treatment of Cane’s tackle compared to Springboks captain Siya Kolisi’s tackle on Ardie Savea, which went unpunished with a red card. It serves as a reminder of the importance of lowering body height when making tackles. There are now calls for further discussions on introducing a 20-minute version of the red card along with the optimal use of technology in decision-making. The final was marred by several interventions by the Television Match Official (TMO), including four cards and a disallowed try.


Pieter-Steph du Toit’s performance in the final cemented his status as a legend of the Springboks. The flanker exemplified their aggressive and physical approach, driving the All Blacks back in attack. He made an astonishing 28 tackles, showcasing his world-class defensive skills, and also made important contributions in attack with a couple of key breaks. Front-rowers Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe should also be commended for their performances, as well as replacement Kwagga Smith, who consistently forced turnovers to thwart the All Blacks’ late attempts to score.


Despite being at a numerical disadvantage for a significant portion of the final, the All Blacks demonstrated resilience and fought hard until the end. Their key players stepped up when needed. Richie Mo’unga displayed incredible effort, although his try was disallowed due to a knock-on. Beauden Barrett exhibited excellent skill in scooping up a loose ball and scoring the only try of the game. However, the All Blacks’ lack of efficiency in the red zone and their failure to convert their possession into points ultimately cost them the match.

The Marx Butterfly Effect

The substitution of Malcolm Marx with flyhalf Handre Pollard proved to be a pivotal moment in South Africa’s victory. Although the decision seemed surprising at first, Pollard’s clutch kicking across the knockout stages made a significant difference. He did not miss a penalty kick in the final and displayed remarkable calmness under pressure. Additionally, Deon Fourie, a backrower-turned-hooker, proved his worth as a test-level number two, making 21 tackles and getting a crucial turnover in the 25th minute. The injuries to Marx and Bongi Mbonambi forced the Springboks to rely on versatile players, and they delivered when it mattered.

Wet Weather Masterclass

The Springboks’ win was built on a masterclass display of wet weather rugby in the first half. Their strategic kicking targeted the All Blacks’ wingers, causing confusion and allowing the defending champions to build pressure without having to rely solely on their defense. The boot of Pollard capitalized on the mistakes forced by their strategic kicking, helping the Springboks establish a six-point lead that proved to be enough for victory. This wet weather strategy was also instrumental in their win against France and played a significant role in defining their successful World Cup campaign.


The Rugby World Cup Final between South Africa and New Zealand was a remarkable display of skill, determination, and controversy. While South Africa emerged victorious, it is clear that both teams showcased their exceptional abilities and fought hard until the final whistle.

The red card shown to Sam Cane will undoubtedly be a topic of heated debate. The inconsistent application of the rules raises questions about fairness and the role of technology in decision-making. Should there be a discussion on introducing a 20-minute red card or using the TMO more effectively? These are important questions that rugby authorities must address to preserve the integrity of the game.

Pieter-Steph du Toit’s performance was exceptional, and he proved himself to be a true legend of the Springboks. His defensive prowess and contributions in attack were instrumental in securing South Africa’s victory. The All Blacks, despite their numerical disadvantage, displayed incredible fight and showcased the talents of their key players. However, their inability to convert possession into points ultimately cost them the chance of being crowned World Cup champions.

The decision to substitute Malcolm Marx with Handre Pollard was a stroke of genius. Pollard’s composure under pressure and flawless kicking ensured that the Springboks maintained their lead and secured back-to-back titles. Additionally, the versatility and resilience of players like Deon Fourie highlighted the depth and adaptability of the South African squad.

The Springboks’ wet weather strategy proved to be a winning formula, causing the All Blacks numerous problems. Their strategic kicking and ability to capitalize on mistakes demonstrated their tactical prowess and ability to adapt to different conditions. This victory is a testament to the Springboks’ determination and ability to overcome challenges throughout the tournament.

Overall, the Rugby World Cup Final was an enthralling spectacle that showcased the best of rugby. It is important now for rugby authorities to reflect on the game and address the controversies and challenges that arose. As fans, we can look forward to the next chapter in the sport’s history and hope for continued excitement and fair play.


To players and coaches, the Rugby World Cup Final provided valuable lessons and insights. The importance of tackling technique was highlighted by Sam Cane’s red card. Lowering body height and ensuring that tackles are made within the acceptable guidelines will help avoid unnecessary penalties and potential ejections. Coaches should emphasize proper tackling techniques during training sessions to protect their players and promote fair play.

For players, this final also showcased the importance of adaptability and versatility. Being able to fill multiple positions and perform under pressure can be invaluable to a team’s success. As demonstrated by Handre Pollard and Deon Fourie, being able to step up in crucial moments can make a significant impact on the outcome of a match.

Lastly, teams should also develop strategies that can be adjusted according to playing conditions. The Springboks’ wet weather masterclass serves as a reminder of the importance of tactical flexibility. Coaches and players should be prepared to adapt their game plans to optimize their chances of success in various weather conditions.

As fans, we can learn from the resilience and fighting spirit displayed by both teams. The determination to keep pushing forward, even in the face of adversity, is a valuable lesson that can be applied both on and off the rugby field.

Overall, the Rugby World Cup Final serves as a reminder of the beauty and power of the sport. It is a moment in history that will be remembered for its thrilling moments, controversial decisions, and exceptional performances.


The Final Siren: Key Takeaways from the Rugby World Cup Grand Finale
<< photo by Patrick Case >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Patterson Fiona

Hello, Australia! Fiona Patterson here. I'm your go-to gal for all things politics. I've been on the beat for more than a decade, so when it comes to the ins and outs of Canberra, I'm fair dinkum. Let's rip into it and cut through the jargon together.

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