New Zealand and South Africa are both chasing a record fourth World Cup title when they meet in Saturday’s final at the Stade de France.
The All Blacks make one change from side that overpowered Argentina 44-6 in the semi-final last Friday, with Brodie Retallick getting the vote to start in the second-row.
The return of half-backs Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard are Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber’s only two changes from the side which started in last week’s 16-15 semi-final win against England.
Mbongeni Mbonambi will start at hooker after being cleared by World Rugby on Thursday morning of racially abusing England’s Tom Curry during last week’s semi-final.
Nienaber has included 15 players in his squad who appeared in the Springboks’ record 35-7 win against New Zealand at Twickenham in August.
Second row Franco Mostert and prop Steven Kitshoff are the only two forwards named in the starting line-up who did not start in the 2019 final, with both featuring off the bench.
The bookies aren’t keen on picking a winner in this one, with little to choose from when it comes to the outright win.
There is a high chance that this match could go by without a try being scored, given how tight the Springboks defence has been and what the South Africans offer in attack.
However, if you feel that a try will be scored, the All Blacks Will Jordan has been the most prolific at getting over the whitewash and will be tough to keep off the scoresheet.
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Handre Pollard starts for the Springboks, and it is unclear how long South Africa will keep their premier goal-kicker out there with Manie Libbok an option from the bench.
New Zealand could have multiple scorers even if they don’t score a try, as they have three recognised goal-kickers out in their on the park in a highly-skilled backline.
The Springboks have some players who have kicked goals other than their flyhalf, but they will need Pollard to be zeroed in, and if South Africa are to win, he will more than likely top-score.
The All Blacks have struggled to avoid sin-binnings throughout this tournament and could find themselves picking up at least one yellow card in this final.
However, we don’t feel that it is likely we will see more than one player sent to the bin.
New Zealand are likely to shade the contest in the end if they play their best game and make a fast start. Backing New Zealand to score first and win by five points or less could be a winner.
BACK Will Jordan anytime tryscorer 1pt at 11/8 (⭐
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BACK New Zealand to win by 1-5 points inclusive 1pt at 5/1 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (OCT 2023): LOSS -16.35 points