England lost five wickets in the space of four overs in collapsing to a 14-run defeat to New Zealand in the third Twenty20 in Nelson on Tuesday.

Dawid Malan's half-century and a measured 49 from James Vince had the tourists cruising towards their target of 181 before captain Eoin Morgan slogged a Mitchell Santner (1-41) delivery to Colin Munro in the 15th over.

Munro then ran out Sam Billings (1), Vince scooped Beau Tickner to mid-off and Lockie Ferguson removed Sam Curran (2) and Lewis Gregory (0) in quick succession as England crumbled from a position of strength at 139-2.

Colin de Grandhomme earlier rattled off 55 from 35 balls to help give the Black Caps a 2-1 series lead going into the penultimate match of the series on Friday.

New Zealand elected to bat first and made a blistering start thanks to Martin Guptill, who continued the form that saw him make 41 in Wellington.

The experienced opener clubbed seven fours in a quick-fire 33 before falling to a fine Tom Curran catch off the bowling of Pat Brown (1-34).

Momentum stalled as Munro and Tim Seifert (7) departed cheaply but a 66-run stand between all-rounder De Grandhomme and veteran Ross Taylor (27), along with contributions from Jimmy Neesham (20) and Santner (15), bumped the total up to a defendable 180-7.

England looked set to make light work of the chase after losing only Tom Banton inside the opening 10 overs, the debutant completely missing a Tickner off-cutter on 18.

Malan threw away his wicket with the score on 90 by heaving Ish Sodhi's (1-30) full toss to Guptill in the deep but Vince and Morgan combined to add another 49 runs in less than five overs.

Vince further reduced the required run rate with four boundaries in as many balls faced, only for Morgan's exit on 18 to spark the collapse.

England lost 10-5 in all, with Tom Curran (14 not out) playing a lone hand amid the fall of wickets.

Ferguson (25-2) and Tickner (25-2) were the pick of the bowlers for the Black Caps, who now have the chance to complete a series victory when the teams meet in Napier.

South Africa were crowned champions of the world with the best player on the planet this weekend but not even Pieter-Steph du Toit could make the Opta team of the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks overpowered England at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday and lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time after a commanding 32-12 victory.

Outstanding lock Du Toit was crowned World Rugby Player of the Year the following day and Rassie Erasmus was named the top coach in the world at a ceremony in Tokyo.

Yet there were no Springboks in the Opta team of the tournament, with Japan's South Africa-born back-row Pieter Labuschagne in at number seven ahead of Du Toit.

There were four New Zealand players and as many from the host nation Japan in the Opta XV.

Players had to have been on the field for at least 320 minutes, or 240 for props, to be eligible for selection, with tries, carries, metres carried, offloads, turnovers assists and tackle success contributing to earn points.

New Zealand playmaker Beauden Barrett, twice named the best player in the world, claimed the most points in the competition.

 

Opta's Rugby World Cup team of the tournament: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), Kotaro Matsushima (Japan), Manu Tuilagi (England), Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand), Semi Radradra (Fiji), Richie Mo'unga (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales); Joe Moody (New Zealand), Shota Horie (Japan), Kyle Sinckler (England), Maro Itoje (England), Kane Le'aupepe (Samoa), Chris Vui (Samoa), Pieter Labuschagne (Japan), Kazuki Himeno (Japan).

Roger Federer has saluted the "amazing" South Africa team and captain Siya Kolisi following their Rugby World Cup final win over England.

The Springboks thrashed favourites England 32-12 in Yokohama on Saturday and tennis superstar Federer sent a video message praising their achievement.

Federer's mother, Lynette, was born in South Africa and the 20-time grand slam champion clearly enjoyed the nation's success in Japan.

"Siya, it's Roger here. Couldn't be more happy for you and the team," he said in a video shared on the Springboks' Twitter account on Sunday.

"What a victory, what an amazing team effort. You guys spent so much time together and you ended up with the big win.

"I was watching it, I was following it. Many, many congratulations and I hope I can meet you soon.

"You're the best. Well done everybody, you guys are amazing."

Eoin Morgan questioned wasteful England's attitude after they dropped five catches in a 21-run Twenty20 International defeat to New Zealand on Sunday.

James Vince put down three chances as the Black Caps posted 176-8 in the second match of the series at Westpac Stadium, Jimmy Neesham top scoring with 42 after Martin Guptill made 41.

The tourists were all out for 155 in reply to be pegged back at 1-1, spinner Mitchell Santner taking 3-25 in Wellington.

Captain Morgan said England only had themselves to blame for a poor performance in the field. 

"When you drop that amount of catches it's not a great reflection on the performance and the levels of fielding we aspire to," said the skipper.

"There were a couple of catches that went in the sun, which made it look a lot worse, but we expect more.

"I think it's an attitude thing. Because there's such a short turnaround between games, the natural default of any player is to step back and not commit to a 50-50 chance, or their mindset changes to go back in their shell.

"That's not what we want. We want guys continuing to attack the ball and find themselves in hot spots if they're good enough."

Santner hopes New Zealand can maintain their momentum with three matches to play in the series.

"They've had the rub of the green on us a little bit lately but I think after the last performance, we were a little bit off, it was nice to get that win," he said.

"As a unit we just wanted to be a little bit better in all three aspects and I think today we were, so I guess that's the pleasing thing. You can take that momentum into the next game as well."

New Zealand defeated England by 21 runs to level the Twenty20 series at 1-1 in Wellington on Sunday.

England were too good for the Black Caps in Friday's series opener – a rematch of the heartbreaking Cricket World Cup final won by the tourists.

But New Zealand managed to strike back at Westpac Stadium, where the hosts bowled England out for 155 in reply to the Black Caps' 176-8 target.

A quick 41-run partnership between Chris Jordan (36) and Lewis Gregory (15) gave England hope after the ODI champions were struggling at 91-5, but man of the match Mitchell Santner (3-25) ended that stand – and with it – the touring side's chances.

Daryl Mitchell (1-9) claimed the final wicket with one ball remaining, while Tim Southee (2-25), Lockie Ferguson (2-34) and Ish Sodhi (2-37) also impressed with the ball.

Like game one of the five-match series, New Zealand were sent in to bat by England captain Eoin Morgan, but it did not work out as well for the visiting skipper.

A power-packed Jimmy Neesham finish led the Black Caps to a healthy total – the batsman hitting 42 off 22 deliveries after England's Jordan had starred with 3-23 and Sam Curran chipped in with 2-22.

New Zealand capitalised on a poor fielding display from England, who dropped five catches – James Vince the main culprit after shelling three himself.

Martin Guptill set the tone, but the Black Caps opener was unable to build on his 41 as he was removed by Adil Rashid (1-40), after Colin Munro (7) and Tim Seifert (16) fell cheaply – the latter becoming debutant Saqib Mahmood's (1-46) first victim.

At 96-3 through 10 overs, New Zealand looked on track for a big score, however, Colin de Grandhomme (28), Ross Taylor (28) and Mitchell (5) were unable to bat through and dominate before Neesham's late show.

The Black Caps then defended stoutly as Dawid Malan (39) and Morgan (32) lacked support from their team-mates atop the order.

South Africa were crowned champions at the end of an enthralling Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

The tournament in Japan proved a huge success, with packed-out venues and fervent support from a nation that has embraced the sport.

For their part, the hosts produced one of the great upsets by beating number-one ranked Ireland in the pool phase.

But it was the Springboks, having ended Japan's run at the quarter-final stage, who lifted the trophy after thrashing England 32-12 in Yokohama.

Here, we take a look back at the top Opta facts from six memorable weeks.

- South Africa are the only side to boast a 100 per cent win rate in Rugby World Cup finals, winning on each of their three such appearances.

- The Springboks scored two tries in the final against England, the first time they had ever crossed for a try in a Rugby World Cup final. They are still yet to concede one in the showpiece event.

- Japan reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, becoming the first Asian nation to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament. 

- Ireland suffered a seventh Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat. They have never made it past the last eight; no side has endured as many losses at that stage of the tournament.

- New Zealand have been knocked out before the Rugby World Cup final on five occasions, however only once before has the side who eliminated the All Blacks before the final gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup (Australia in 1991). 

- The All Blacks had won 18 games in a row at the Rugby World Cup before their semi-final defeat to England, the longest winning run in the history of the tournament.

- Scotland became the first side to 'nil' their opponents in back-to-back Rugby World Cup games, keeping both Samoa and Russia scoreless in consecutive matches. 

- There were eight red cards shown at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, at least twice as many as any other edition of the tournament (four in 1995 and 1999).

- Jake Polledri beat 27 defenders in the pool stage for Italy, the most ever recorded by a forward in an entire edition of the Rugby World Cup (Buck Shelford 22 for New Zealand in 1987), despite playing just 196 minutes. 

- Against Canada, South Africa's Cobus Reinach scored the earliest hat-trick ever in a Rugby World Cup match, crossing for his third try in the 21st minute.

After leading South Africa to Rugby World Cup glory, Rassie Erasmus claimed he was ready to resign as the Springboks' coach had they not beaten New Zealand in Wellington last year.

South Africa recorded an emphatic 32-12 victory over England to secure a record-equalling third world title in Yokohama.

In a post-match news conference, Erasmus was asked about the importance of his side's 36-34 Rugby Championship win over New Zealand in September 2018, which was widely seen as a crucial, morale-boosting triumph.

"Prior to that one we lost to Australia and Argentina, and I clearly can remember I said 'listen, if we don't win that one I'm definitely willing to resign because I've never in my coaching career lost three games in a row at any level'," revealed Erasmus.

"I thought if I lose three games in a row, I don't deserve to be the Springbok coach. We had a great chat and I said if I am preaching that we must be consistent and give people hope by the way we're playing ... but we're losing to Argentina and Australia and now we lose three in a row, then I'm out of here.

"We had that honest chat and then the boys went and beat New Zealand in Wellington. So it was pretty important, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here."

Erasmus, who will stay on as South Africa's director of rugby but relinquish head coaching duties, hopes the Boks can build on their World Cup win with a period of sustained success.

"When I took over, it was 618 days to the World Cup and we planned to the World Cup, to try and win the World Cup. I think it's now 614 days to the British and Irish Lions and we'll start planning now for the British and Irish Lions," he added.

"Obviously we have the Rugby Championship next year and Super Rugby and all the normal local competitions, but I think it's 614 days or close to that before the British and Irish Lions land in South Africa, so we'll start planning for that now.

"What we are trying to do is be consistent now. The thing we were terrible at in 2018, we were up and down. This year, we've played 12 games and we've lost one, so we're getting that consistency back.

"And yes, we've got the World Cup here, but going into next year, if you lose the first Test match people forget about the World Cup.

"So we want to get consistency now and work towards the British and Irish Lions, the next World Cup and so on."

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus provided an inspirational insight into how a sense of perspective helped his side handle pressure on their way to Rugby World Cup glory.

The Springboks came into the final as underdogs but overpowered England to secure a comprehensive 32-12 win and earn a record-equalling third world title.

In the lead-up to Saturday's decider in Yokohama, much focus centred on what it would mean for Boks skipper Siya Kolisi - the first black captain of his country - to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup aloft.

Asked how South Africa kept their composure despite knowing the potential impact a victory could make, Erasmus delivered a detailed and moving response.

"This was my first World Cup as a coach and I think actually the first All Black game [a pool match South Africa lost 23-13] was a great test run for us in terms of handling pressure," he said.

"We were terrible that week, the way we were tense and talking about things. The whole week was just a terrible build-up for that pool game and that taught us a lot about how to handle the quarter-final, semi-final and so on. But overall, we started talking about what pressure is.

"In South Africa, pressure is not having a job. Pressure is one of your close relatives being murdered. In South Africa there is a lot of problems, which is pressure, and we started talking about things like that. And rugby shouldn't be something that creates pressure. Rugby should be something that creates hope.

"We started talking about how we've got a privilege of giving people hope, not a burden of giving people hope. But hope is not talking about hope and saying you've got hope and tweeting a beautiful tweet and things like that. Hope is when you play well and people watch the game on the Saturday ... and feel good afterwards.

"No matter your political differences or religious differences or whatever, for those 80 minutes you agree with a lot of things when you normally disagree. We just started believing in that and saying that is not our responsibility, that's our privilege to try and fix those things.

"And the moment you see it that way, it becomes a hell of a privilege and you start working towards that. I think that is the way we tackled this whole World Cup campaign. I hope that answers your question."

Erasmus also highlighted the incredible journey of Kolisi, who grew up in deep poverty and watched South Africa's 2007 World Cup win in a township tavern as he did not have a TV at home.

Asked to describe Kolisi, Erasmus said: "It's easy to talk about going through hard times and struggling to get opportunities where other people do, but I think it's tough to tell people that there were days when I didn't have food, there were days when I didn't have a lift to go to school, or I couldn't go to school or I didn't have shoes to wear.

"The moment you hear that a lot, you almost get used to that, as a team-mate or as a rugby supporter or anybody, maybe you guys sitting here. Maybe you hear that a lot.

"But when you sit down and you think about it clearly - that there was a stage when Siya went through stuff like that, where he didn't physically have food, or he didn't have shoes to wear or he couldn't get to school. And then you think here he sits as a captain and he led South Africa to hold this cup.

"I think that should sum up what Siya is."

Eddie Jones conceded England may have been suffering a hangover from their stunning Rugby World Cup triumph over New Zealand as they slumped to a lacklustre defeat in the final.

South Africa were underdogs in Yokohama on Saturday but emerged as dominant 32-12 winners against an England side who had comfortably seen off the All Blacks in the semi-final.

Wales coach Warren Gatland, whose team were beaten 19-16 by the Springboks in their last-four meeting, had sounded a warning to England when he suggested they may have peaked too soon in that win over the reigning champions.

And Jones was not able to dismiss that notion as he gathered his thoughts after a chastening loss in Japan.

"That could be a factor, I'm not sure," he said. "I don't know why we didn't play well and this is one of those things that happens in high-level rugby.

"We thought our preparation was good, but at the end of the day it wasn't, because we didn't play well.

"You can have the most investigative debrief of your game and you still don't know what was wrong.

"It's not a good day for it to happen, we're going to be kicking stones now for four years and it's hard to kick stones for four years, so we're massively disappointed, but at the same time I've got great admiration for what the players did.

"I can't tell you how much respect I've got for how hard they've worked, how well they've played. We came up short, but it's not because of a lack of effort."

Jones was pressed on how England's efforts at the tournament should be remembered and, while he admitted they had come up short of their ultimate goal, he was looking forward to drowning his sorrows with his players over the coming days.

"We are the second best team in the world," he said. "We didn't meet our goal, our goal was to be the best team in the world, but we are the second best team in the world, so I think that's how we should be remembered.

"The only thing we are worried about now is having a few beers and after we've had a few beers today, we'll probably have a few more tomorrow and then probably Monday and then probably we'll have to pull up stumps."

Handre Pollard hopes the exploits of South Africa's Rugby World Cup stars can spread a message of hope and unity in their homeland.

Fly-half Pollard, man of the match in the semi-final win against Wales, was again in supreme form from the kicking tee – booting 22 points in a resounding 32-12 final win over England in Yokohama.

Siya Kolisi, as South Africa's first black captain, lifted the trophy in a moment of deep symbolic significant for a nation that poignantly emerged from the ravages of apartheid with their first World Cup win in 1995.

Francois Pienaar was the toast of the nation on that occasion, but Pollard explained how Kolisi - who hails from the Zwide township just north of Port Elizabeth - leading a third triumphant World Cup campaign was a moment of huge significance.

"You can't actually put it into words and only South Africans will really understand what it means to us as a country going forward," he told ITV.

"It's a truly historic day for us. Yes, we won the Rugby World Cup, which is great for us as players and the management. We'll remember that for ever.

"But the magnitude of what happened today for our country it truly something special.

"[I hope it represents] just unity. It's a diverse group, lots of different cultures. We've got five languages in our side.

"We got together and had one vision. This is what you can do if you all work together and stand together.

"Hopefully we can take this message home, where it's not always going great, but hopefully we can give the people of South Africa hope."

Tries in the final 15 minutes from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe added deserved gloss to a win underpinned by South Africa's formidable forward power.

"We believe in the way we play. We've played that same style of play for two years now," Pollard added.

"We execute it well and when our forwards pitch up physically the way they did tonight… it was unbelievable. It was a massive effort from the boys."

Man of the match Duane Vermeulen revealed South Africa targeted England flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill during their dominant 32-12 Rugby World Cup final win.

Number eight Vermeulen was the standout performer in a superlative Springbok pack, whose impressive work at the breakdown allayed with set-piece dominance laid the foundations for victory.

Curry and Underhill – 21 and 23 respectively – have been two of the breakout stars of the tournament and Vermeulen was determined to stop them from having any more joy.

"We knew England had two fantastic young fetchers in Underhill and Curry - they've been superb this whole tournament," he said.

"We knew we had to do something at the breakdown. We got a few turnovers, they got a few and it's fantastic to walk away with this win."

South Africa's superiority at the scrum was frequently compounded by Handre Pollard's unerring boot, with Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe adding gloss to the scoreline with tries inside the final quarter of an hour.

"We've got a good bunch of forwards – the starters, the 'Bomb Squad' as they're known, they've made a fantastic impact off the bench," Vermeulen said.

"They laid a fantastic platform for the guys and you get the advantage in penalties."

Mapimpi and captain Siya Kolisi hail from South Africa's townships and Vermeulen was keen to highlight the symbolic significance of this team for the Rainbow Nation.

"We're doing it for each other but we're also doing it for 57 million people back home in South Africa," he added.

"We wanted to be consistent as a team and try to achieve something – in a way, trying to create hope. Hopefully we achieved that goal."

George Ford cited England's first-half inaccuracy as a key factor in their Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.

A week on from producing one of the great Test displays to beat defending champions New Zealand 19-7, Eddie Jones' men failed to hit anything like the same heights, with the Springboks' immense physicality proving decisive.

Fly-half Ford was replaced by Henry Slade early in the second half as England went down 32-12, late tries for Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe sealing a record-equalling third title for South Africa after Handre Pollard had kicked six penalties.

"We were massively inaccurate first half when we had the ball, [and] couldn't build any pressure," Ford told ITV Sport.

"South Africa got us into that game which they're very good at, so it's very, very disappointing from us and it's a hard one to take."

England's forwards struggled to match their South African counterparts, but Ford was keen to highlight his pack's efforts throughout the tournament.

"You always want to get on the front foot. I can't fault our lads up front - they've been unbelievable all tournament," he said. "South Africa just got one over us today and it's one we have to take on the chin.

"It's so tough when they get a bit of a lead like that. They keep kicking the threes and you have to chase the game.

"Congratulations to them - they executed their game plan brilliantly."

Eddie Jones said England were simply not good enough and had been beaten by the better side after South Africa won the Rugby World Cup with a dominant 32-12 victory.

Handre Pollard booted 22 points, while tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe gave the Springboks breathing space as they lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for a record-equalling third time.

England were overpowered by Rassie Erasmus' ferocious side in Yokohama on Saturday after suffering the early blow of losing prop Kyle Sinckler due to concussion.

Four penalties from Owen Farrell kept England in touch, but they were second best from the start and head coach Jones admitted they had fallen short.

"We just struggled to get in the game. The effort of the players was outstanding but we struggled to get on the front foot." said the Australian.

"I can't fault the preparation of the players, they've worked hard the entire World Cup and I think they've played with a lot of pride and passion.

"We just weren't good enough today and congratulations to South Africa on an outstanding performance."

Captain Farrell feels England made great strides in Japan despite the agony of missing out on being crowned world champions for a second time.

"We didn't start it [the game] well. We probably had a disappointing first half, but I'm proud of this group, I'm proud of what we've done, how far we've come over the course of this tournament." the skipper said.

"It showed with the fight that we had in the second half, but credit to South Africa, they were very good today."

South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus spoke of his pride after his players sealed the country's third Rugby World Cup with a stunning victory over England.

England came into Saturday's final in Yokohama as favourites after accounting for defending champions New Zealand in the last four, while the Springboks had edged past Wales.

But South Africa controlled the showpiece in an emphatic 32-12 victory, with Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scoring the only two tries of the match and Handre Pollard adding 22 points with the boot.

Duane Vermeulen inspired South Africa with a man-of-the-match performance and Erasmus felt his team's cohesion proved decisive in a year that also saw them win the Rugby Championship.

"I'm so proud of them, we fought hard until the end," Erasmus said after the match.

"I just think the boys believed in themselves, we are a bunch of guys who have been together for 19 weeks and we know one another really well. 

"We have got so much respect for England and we really prepared well. I think we were also a little bit fortunate but we are really enjoying it at this stage.

"To the Springboks supporters I would like to say we never felt alone here in Japan, we felt them all the way. 

"Not just the supporters here in Japan, but also those back home – all the messages on WhatsApp, Facebook, the Twitter feeds. We know there are millions there, we know they support us.

"We love them. We can't wait to get back home."

South Africa are the first team to win the World Cup having lost a pool game, reeling off six straight victories after dropping their opening match to New Zealand.

Erasmus, who assumed head coach duties in March 2018, is stepping down from that role after the tournament but continuing as director of rugby. 

He was asked what he had identified as key priorities to get the Springboks back to the top when he first took charge of the team.

Erasmus said: "Just use our players and the intelligence, all the resources and supporters we have in South Africa. 

"There are so many good things we have in South Africa. In the past we always seemed to look at all the bad things.

"We just decided, 'Listen let's stand together and work really hard and play well on the field and all the other things from that will come out later'. 

"I think that's what we did and eventually now we have won the World Cup, so that's great."

Maro Itoje was named England's man of the match after their eviscerating 19-7 semi-final win over New Zealand. It was a crowded field for that particular honour but England's imperious lock touched perfection. Within three minutes of the 32-12 final defeat against South Africa, Itoje had inadvertently knocked a team-mate out cold. A missed catch from a restart 20 minutes later surrendered one of the England's brief periods of first-half parity.

Tom Curry was tenaciously terrific against the All Black, the 21-year-old underlining his status as one of this World Cup's breakout stars. Against the relentless Springboks, he was already finding the breakdown to be an entirely different proposition. When Itoje failed to claim, Curry knocked on. England then conceded a scrum penalty and Handre Pollard kicked the points, in what became a repeated narrative in Yokohama.

Ben Youngs was a frenetic metronome versus New Zealand, judiciously maintaining England's furious tempo. The team were unable to find any rhythm early on against South Africa – their attempts to avoid the Springbok arm wrestle amounting to haphazard windmilling. Given a chance to attack in the 11th minute, Youngs launched a howling pass over Anthony Watson's head and into touch.

George Ford's midfield combination with Owen Farrell has been the spark for all their best rugby under Eddie Jones. A footballer of immense skill and precision enjoying a fantastic tournament, Ford's most notable first-half contribution was a 27th-minute kick out on the full. He was replaced early in the second half.

Warren Gatland's mischievous words after his Wales team were edged out by South Africa in their semi seasoned this error-strewn stew.

"We have seen in previous World Cups that teams sometimes play their final in semi-finals and don't always turn up for a final," he said.

England undoubtedly left a peak they never troubled on Saturday, but not turning up suggests a team shrinking from the challenge and disappearing from view. All of England's toils, from errors with ball in hand to being obliterated at the set piece, came in plain sight. Only during a period of herculean Springbok defence after the half hour did they look something like the world's number one team.

Scrum half Faf de Klerk caught the eye as a yapping nuisance behind a formidable pack, although the introduction of South Africa's "Bomb Squad" replacement forwards did not turn the screw as expected, at least not initially.

The changing personnel after half-time coincided with the penalty count climbing. Referee Jerome Garces was a busy man as each passage played out on the borderline of fair and unfair. Owen Farrell and Handre Pollard stepped up to kick the points and we were moving in accelerated three-point bursts.

South Africa won their previous two World Cup finals without touching down. That arrangement would have suited the majestic Pollard and the Rainbow Nation roaring him on down to the ground.

Makazole Mapimpi had other ideas, popping a devilish kick over the England defence that Lukhanyo Am gathered smoothly. Two men hailing from South Africa's townships ensured another, Siya Kolisi would lift the Webb Ellis Cup – a triumph of symbolism and significance to arguably outstrip Nelson Mandela, Francois Pienaar, 1995 and all that. 

England were now a bedraggled, disconsolate rabble, barely recognisable from the team that brought the All Blacks to their knees as they wearily stooped to their own haunches. Cheslin Kolbe rubbed their noses in it with a delirious romp down the right wing. The Rugby Championship winners were world champions again, having made a total mockery of their pre-match underdog status.

As the trophy engraver got to work before full-time, it was a wonder South Africa did not score more points. Wearing the same number six as Pienaar and Mandela did 24 years ago, the inspirational Kolisi stood on the sidelines with no need to conceal his infectious smile. There could be no doubt when his supreme Springboks had played their final.

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