New Zealand v South Africa: Springboks driven by desire in World Cup Final to inspire next generation of players
Each side has lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy on three previous occasions heading into Saturday’s final at the Stade de France, ensuring one of them will be crowned the most successful nation in the tournament’s history.
For the Springboks it is the opportunity to continue bringing together the country’s disparate communities, a motivation Kolisi insists provides the ‘why’ for the defence of their title.
“I believe we are a purpose-driven team, we’re not a trophy-driven team,” South Africa’s first black captain said before England were edged 16-15 in the semi-finals.
Kolisi himself grew up in poverty in a Port Elizabeth township yet has risen to become one of the game’s biggest stars and a standard bearer for the Springboks’ evolution from a symbol of apartheid to unifying force.
“This is what we live for. It’s about the people who are dreaming to be in our position in the communities back in South Africa,” assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said.
“We just want to do everything in our power to make sure we are reuniting those people.
“For a guy like Siya, coming from where he did… wow. No doubt in 20 years there will be a lot of Siya Kolisis, boys who have got here irrespective of background.
“It is like a fairytale story when you talk about Siya, but it surely does change people’s lives, whatever their background, if you have your head in the right place, if you have a goal and keep chasing it.
“The All Blacks have won the World Cup three times, we have won it three times, so this game is almost bigger than just a World Cup final.
“We just want to make our people proud because the messages we get are very special.”
How much South Africa have left in the tank after titanic knockout matches against France and England is the biggest unknown heading into the Paris showdown.
New Zealand, in contrast, routed Argentina in the semi-finals without breaking sweat and, as well as having the luxury of bringing key personnel off early and avoiding any injuries, the schedule has given them an extra day’s rest.
When the rivals last met in August the All Blacks were crushed 35-7, but they have rebuilt impressively since then and are favourites to avenge that bleak Twickenham evening.
“It has been very difficult journey,” said wing Will Jordan, who needs one more try to break the record of eight tries scored at a single World Cup.
“It has taken a huge amount of drive to turn it around to get it right. It’s a special group here and we have always been committed towards being the best team we can be.
“In 2022 we were a bit astray but we have come out of the fire a bit and I guess the big thing for us now has been the consistency has been found.
“We have been able to put back-to back performances together, which is probably what was missing before.
“The challenge for us against South Africa is to be able to go three big games in a row. It’s been a challenging period but it’s where we want to be now.”
The Government should ensure the Six Nations remains on free-to-air television by placing the tournament in the top bracket of its listed events, a parliamentary committee has said.
The annual tournament has to date always been wholly available free to air in the UK, but is not protected from remaining so in the future, in the same way that the Olympic Games and the men’s and women’s football World Cups and European Championships are, by virtue of being Group A listed events.
The Welsh Affairs Committee insists it is time that changed to help Welsh rugby “rediscover its soul”, in a new report published on Friday.
“Live sports broadcasting should strive to reach the widest possible audience, which is best achieved through free-to-air coverage. This is especially so for Welsh rugby union, which needs to rediscover its soul and aim to reach the maximum number of people in Wales,” the report said.
“We do not believe that the listed events regime currently accurately reflects the importance placed by supporters on certain competitions.
“We recommend that the Government adds the Six Nations to Group A of the Listed Sporting Events, to ensure its status on terrestrial TV.”
The committee also said reports that the Rugby World Cup could move behind a paywall were “worrying”. Currently, only the final of that tournament is a listed event.
The committee also recommended that the remit of broadcasting regulator Ofcom be amended to ensure it can designate listed events, and specified non-listed events, as requiring live Welsh language commentary, including Wales matches at Euro 2028, which Wales will co-host.
The Football Association of Wales was asked to write to the committee before February next year to outline the representations it is making to UEFA concerning continued coverage of the national team’s qualifiers on free-to-air Welsh language channel S4C.
The channel had an agreement in place with streaming service Viaplay to show Wales’ matches in the next two Nations League campaigns, their 2026 World Cup qualifiers and their Euro 2028 qualifiers.
However, Viaplay has since announced its withdrawal from the UK market, and the committee wants the FAW to work with UEFA to ensure that whichever broadcaster buys the rights, the agreement with S4C is replicated.
The committee also said it was “disappointed” that no Welsh event was currently part of the Group A list, and called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Government and broadcasters to discuss how the listed events regime could be amended to support a specific list of Welsh events.
A DCMS spokesperson said: “It is vital that broadcasters promote Welsh culture and language through their content. That’s why we’ve included measures in our draft Media Bill to encourage more Welsh language programming and ensure it is easier to discover on smart TVs and streaming sticks.
“The Government’s objective is to ensure the biggest sporting events are made available to the public throughout the UK which is why we have the listed events regime.
“While we have no plans to review the sporting moments covered by our listed events rules, our ongoing digital rights review is considering whether expanding the rules to cover digital platforms would improve access to these events.”