Rugby World Cup Final Tips: Predictions & Betting Odds For New Zealand vs South Africa
When: Sunday, October 29, 8:00pm BST
Where: Stade de France, Paris
Watch: Sky Sport 1, ITV1
Best Odds: New Zealand 5/6, South Africa 6/5
After 48 games of wonderful world class rugby union, the William Webb Ellis Cup will be heading south as either New Zealand or South Africa win the Rugby World Cup for the fourth time.
It’s just the third final between two southern hemisphere nations and the first where both combatants suffered pool stage losses, which only adds to the intrigue.
After their ruthless demolition of Argentina in last week’s semi-final, New Zealand have been graded by betting sites as two-point favourites as the South Africans try to deal with the physical fallout of two draining, tight knockout victories over Ireland and England.
The Numbers That Matter
- New Zealand suffered their largest losing margin ever (7-35) in the previous H2H
- South Africa covered the pre-match spread in 64% of matches this year
- The All Blacks won 14 of their last 16 matches as favourites (D1 L1)
- Kurt-Lee Arendse is the only Springbok to score a try in four Tests in 2023
New Zealand Team News
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Leicester Fainga'anuku, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
In: Brodie Retallick
Out: Sam Whitelock
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has boldly named the same starting back line that lost 35-7 to the Springboks prior to the tournament, but some adjustments have been made to the forward pack since then.
Brodie Retallick replaces veteran Sam Whitelock as lock in the only change made from last week’s semi-final victory, whilst Codie Taylor and Shannon Frizell did not start in the previous head-to-head meeting.
It’s hard to argue there can be a better All Blacks side to come from their available cabal of players in France, but they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them to turn around the result at Twickenham in August.
Foster asserted during the week that the squad has “thrived on focusing on the now” to be able to “deal with any outside noise around the team”, whilst it is believed they have long used South Africa’s own 2019 victory for inspiration, where they won the tournament after a devastating opening round defeat.
South Africa Team News
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Handrè Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
In: Faf de Klerk, Handrè Pollard
Out: Cobus Reinach, Manie Libbok
It is perhaps the list of eight replacements that got tongues wagging even more than the Springboks starting XV when it was announced in Paris on Thursday morning local time.
Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has again gambled with the controversial 7-1 bench split that was born out of an accident prior to their 35-7 Rugby World Cup warm-up win over New Zealand.
On that occasion, Willie Le Roux went down with a late injury and the backs not chosen by Nienaber to play that weekend had gone through some intense training the day before.
So he instead opted to retain seven forwards, all of whom came on seven minutes into the second half and injected some game-changing energy and physicality into the match.
Nienaber made his selections for this weekend based on where he believed South Africa “could find an edge”, and that evening at Twickenham was clearly front of mind.
We could very well see a repeat of the infamous “bomb squad” after half-time this Saturday, albeit this time with seven changes to the forward pack instead of six.
Fullback Willie Le Roux is the only back on the bench, which will likely see starting 15 Damian Willemse move to fly half during the match if Handrè Pollard cannot go the full distance.
New Zealand v South Africa: What Could Happen This Weekend?
South Africa’s gamble to stack their bench with seven forwards could be the difference between triumph and defeat, particularly if they lose a key back to injury early in the game.
The so-called bomb squad brought a tidal wave of energy, intensity and physical superiority to their warm-up win over New Zealand, and if the All Blacks haven’t found themselves off to a typically fast start before then, we may very well see South Africa run over the top of their rivals.
After finding it too difficult to settle upon a winner, we think one thing that rugby betting sites have correct is the tiny gap between these two sides, and we’re instead keen on backing a small winning margin in the ‘tri-bet’ market.
There are so many potential try scorers amongst these tremendously talented starting XVs, with 20 different All Blacks and 15 Springboks finding the line at this tournament.
They obviously all won’t be taking to the field this Saturday, but it highlights the difficulty in pinpointing who will be on the scoresheet in what should be a thrilling affair.
We have settled on South Africa’s Cheslin Kolbe to become the first man to score tries at two separate RWC finals after he did so in 2019.
More recently, his scalps include Ireland and France, whilst he also recorded a try in South Africa’s Rugby Championship game against the All Blacks in the middle of this year.
Best Bet: Either team to win by under 6.5 points - 6/5 @ Bet365
Player Prop: Cheslin Kolbe to score a try - 15/8 @ Bet365
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