South Africa stand on the brink of making history when they face England in Saturday's Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks have already lifted one trophy this year after winning the Rugby Championship in August, and Rassie Erasmus' team are looking to do something that has eluded rivals New Zealand and Australia in the past.

In the previous five years when there has been both a Rugby Championship – or its previous incarnation the Tri Nations – and a World Cup, the winners of the first tournament have subsequently failed to also deliver success on the global stage.

With South Africa in a position to finally end that sequence, we take a look at those who have previously conquered the Southern Hemisphere only to fall short at the World Cup.

 

1999: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA

The All Blacks won the first two Tri Nations and made it three in four years by thrashing South Africa 28-0, beating Australia 34-15 and claiming another victory over the Springboks.

However, a 28-7 loss to the Wallabies in the final fixture suggested New Zealand were not so invincible...

At the World Cup, the great Jonah Lomu scored eight tries yet France stunned New Zealand 43-31 in the last four, with Australia then winning the final against Les Bleus.

2003: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – ENGLAND

Four wins out of four delivered another Tri Nations triumph for New Zealand.

The All Blacks scored 282 points in their four World Cup pool games in Australia too before easing past South Africa 29-9 in the quarter-finals.

But Elton Flatley's accuracy from the tee consigned New Zealand to another semi-final loss and sent Australia back to the final, where Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal in Sydney delivered a famous success for England.

2007: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS – SOUTH AFRICA

Neither Australia nor South Africa could deny the All Blacks another Tri Nations title in 2007, though it was a Northern Hemisphere nation who would stop their run at the World Cup.

New Zealand led 13-3 in the first half of their quarter-final against France only to suffer another knockout loss to their World Cup nemesis as Yannick Jauzion scored a brilliant converted try 11 minutes from time to seal a 20-18 success.

Defending champions England beat France in the semi-final but Percy Montgomery won the battle of the boots with Wilkinson in the final as South Africa secured their second World Cup.

2011: TRI NATIONS WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

In the final Tri Nations before Argentina joined to form the Rugby Championship, Graham Henry's team lost their last two matches as Australia triumphed for the first time in a decade.

The World Cup was hosted in New Zealand and after years of being the nearly men, it was the All Blacks' turn to taste global glory again.

France were their final opponents and, in a tense, low-scoring contest, New Zealand won 8-7.

2015: RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS – AUSTRALIA, WORLD CUP WINNERS – NEW ZEALAND

Four years ago, Australia beat the other three nations to win the Rugby Championship, and came out on top of a World Cup pool that included Wales and hosts England.

The Wallabies narrowly saw off Scotland 35-34 and ousted Argentina 29-15 to set up a final with a New Zealand side that had hammered France 62-13 in the last eight.

No team had ever retained the World Cup before but Dan Carter shone on his international farewell to ensure Steve Hansen's side lifted the Webb Ellis Cup again.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Uruguay after serving a three-month suspension.

Messi was banned by CONMEBOL in August and fined $50,000 for accusing the governing body of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

The 32-year-old has missed Argentina's past four matches - all friendlies - but is in line to make his return in November after being named in Lionel Scaloni's latest 26-man squad.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is also included for the first time since Argentina's 2-1 third-place play-off victory over Chile in the Copa America, while Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso returns after sitting out of this month's draw with Germany and victory over Ecuador.

There is still no place in the squad for Paris Saint-Germain's in-form striker Mauro Icardi, however, with his most recent cap coming against Mexico in November 2018.

Club team-mate Angel Di Maria, absent since the Copa America, is also missing again.

Argentina meet Brazil in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 15 and then travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, to face Uruguay three days later in the final international break of the calendar year.
 

Argentina squad in full:

Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal), Esteban Andrada (Boca Juniors), Juan Musso (Udinese); German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Marcos Rojo (Manchester United), Nehuen Perez (Famalicao), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Renzo Saravia (Porto), Walter Kannemann (Gremio); Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Guido Rodriguez (Club America), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Marcos Acuna (Sporting CP), Nicolas Dominguez (Velez Sarsfield), Roberto Pereyra (Watford), Rodrigo de Paul (Udinese); Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Nicolas Gonzalez (Stuttgart), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City).

Lionel Messi conceded his dreams of a fairytale return to Newell's Old Boys are fading as he reflected on the "madness" of Argentina's obsession with football.

Barcelona superstar Messi has long expressed a desire to end his career in his hometown of Rosario, where he played for Newell's as a child.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner left for Europe in his teens and acknowledges it would now be tough to ask his wife and three children to leave behind their life in Catalonia.

"I always say that I don't want to leave here, I have no thoughts of ​​moving," Messi told TyC Sports.

"I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire.

"It's a dream I've had since I was little, but I have a family, I have three children, I live in a place that has given me everything and where I am calm and can give my children a spectacular future.

"We think much more about that than my desire of playing football in Argentina.

"I will try to convince the family, because today we have to convince the children too."

Messi's involvement in Argentine club football would invite immense interest and, though he relocated almost two decades ago, the 32-year-old is fully aware of the hostile intensity that surrounds his homeland's strongest rivalries.

According to the Barca captain, his club's encounters with Real Madrid do not stir the same level of manic passion associated with derbies like the Superclasico, contested by Boca Juniors and River Plate.

"I would like to have played in Argentine football in general," he said.

"I always went to the stadium with my old man, the crowd was impressive. Besides, playing in one of those Clasicos must be terrible. It's more or less the same [as in Spain], but people live it differently.

"On a sporting level, the match is the same, but people in Argentina are crazier about that issue. Not winning the Clasico means a lot. Here you want to win but, if you lose, nothing happens. There, you can't leave your house if you lose.

"All of the Clasicos are the same: in Rosario, in Cordoba, River-Boca, Independiente-Racing. In general people live it that way. The daily madness is carried into football and it's a disaster. 

"We go through qualifying [with the national team], although that's something else. We had to go all over South America and it is also brave, they do not let you sleep, they spend the night throwing things at you all in the hotels. Libertadores matches must be much worse still."

Lionel Messi insists he would not change anything about his decorated career in order to win a World Cup.

The lack of a major international honour remains the glaring absence in the Barcelona superstar's trophy haul.

He was named player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup, where Argentina lost the final 1-0 against Germany in extra-time.

Last time around in Russia, a chaotic campaign ended in a 4-3 loss to eventual winners France in the last 16.

Messi will be 35 by the time Qatar 2022 comes around and, in an interview with TyC Sports, he appeared to accept the time for him to claim that elusive piece of history might have passed,

"I would have loved to be world champion," he said. "But I think I would not change anything I had in my career to be one.

"This is what touched me, what God gave me."

Messi captained Argentina to the semi-finals of the Copa America earlier this year, where they lost to hosts and subsequent victors Brazil.

In the previous two editions of the continental tournament, La Albiceleste lost consecutive finals to Chile on penalties.

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