Nkululeko Mcuma 

The final match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup features the two most successful nations, New Zealand and South Africa, facing off once again to determine who will lift the William Webb Ellis Trophy for an unprecedented fourth time.

The All-Blacks will enter this match with high confidence after an impressive performance against Argentina, where their expansive attacking style of rugby proved too much for the South Americans to handle. Recalled winger Mark Telea showcased why he deserves the number 11 jersey, while his back-three partner, Will Jordan, managed to secure a hat-trick.

For many of the South African players, it will have been a week of introspection, as their performance against England fell far short of expectations. However, despite their struggles, they found a way to secure a victory and reach the championship game. The impact from the bench, particularly from loose-head prop Retshegofaditswe Nche and Handre Pollard, proved to be the catalyst for the Springbok comeback.

The Springbok management team has laid out a clear plan: start strong and maintain high intensity throughout the entire 80-minute match. Jacques Nienaber and his team have opted for a 7-1 bench split, with Handre Pollard stepping in at fly-half for Mannie Libbok, and recalls to the match-day 23 for Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, and Jasper Wiese. Not having a specialist scrumhalf on the bench is a risk, but it might be influenced by weather predictions.

The All-Blacks have stuck with a well-established team that has performed consistently during this campaign. The only changes to the match-day 23 include experienced front-rower Nepo Laulala taking his place on the bench in place of young Fletcher Newell, while Brodie Retallick assumes the number 5 position, with veteran Sam Whitelock moving to the bench.

There are numerous variables to consider when analyzing this game, making it a tough one to predict. Both teams will be highly motivated, playing for a cause greater than themselves. With that said, I expect the Springboks to show more vigor compared to their previous match, so it should be a compelling contest. While we hope for an exciting spectacle, I anticipate a tightly contested test match.

Prediction: South Africa to win by more than 3 points.