South Africa edge out 14-man New Zealand with a 12-11 victory to clinch World Cup title

New Zealand 11-12 South Africa, Stade de France, Saint-Denis

A spirited fight from 14-man New Zealand wasn't enough as South Africa sealed a thrilling one-point victory to clinch a historic fourth Rugby World Cup title.

The Springboks were pushed all the way by the All Blacks - who had skipper Sam Cane sent off after 29 minutes - but in the end, it was the defending champions who achieved greatness in Paris.

New Zealand suffered an early setback in the game as Shannon Frizell was yellow carded in the 2nd minute for a dangerous tackle on Bongi Mbonambi - South Africa's only specialist hooker in the squad. He was forced to leave the field with a knee injury as Deon Fourie replaced him. Boks fly-half Handre Pollard stamped his presence on the game with a penalty to make it 0-3.

The Boks doubled their tally as Codie Taylor was penalised for being off his feet before New Zealand opened their account with Richie Mo’unga slotting a three-pointer after South Africa infringed for offside making it 3-6.

Pollard restored the six-point lead for the Boks with a 40m penalty after Ardie Savea was penalised for not releasing and skipper Cane then became the first player to be sent off in a men's World Cup final after a high tackle on centre Jesse Kriel was upgraded to a red card.

As the break was approaching, Pollard and Mo'unga traded penalties as South Africa went into the sheds with a 6-12 lead and an additional player advantage.

The start of the second half saw South Africa skipper Siya Kolisi sin-binned for a high tackle on Ardie Savea but to the relief of Jacques Nienaber, there was no upgradation to a red card. New Zealand were denied a try following a TMO consultation in the 54th minute as Aaron Smith grounded the ball but replays showed there was knock on from Savea in the build up.

Nevertheless, a minute later they scored the only try of the final as Mark Talea brushed away a couple of tackles and sent a perfect offload to Beauden Barrett to dot down but Mo’unga's conversion drifted wide as the scoreline became 11-12.

Both teams had to play with 14 players in the final eight minutes as Cheslin Kolbe became the fourth player to be shown a card as he was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on but perhaps crucially, New Zealand's Jordie Barrett missed the resulting penalty which could have proved to be the difference in the game.

With four minutes left, Pollard's attempt for a drop goal was brilliantly charged down by Savea but the All Blacks did not get the final push with South Africa holding their nerve to complete a record fourth World Cup triumph.

Team lineup:

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Telea, 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

Reserves: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Handré 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 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Reserves: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jasper Wiese, 23 Willie le Roux