It’s all: The winner of the Webb Ellis Cup will be decided on Saturday, with heavyweights New Zealand and South Africa going head-to-head in the 2023 Rugby World Cup Gold Medal Match at 3:00pm Eastern on Peacock and CNBC.
The All Blacks and Springboks will not only compete for this year’s title in France, they will also compete to break their tie atop the Rugby World Cup all-time leaderboard with three championships each. They have combined for six of the nine gold medals in the event’s history, a number that will grow Saturday to seven of 10, whichever side earns their fourth. They have each won two of the last four golds (with South Africa the reigning champions), and they will meet in the final for the first time since South Africa won their first title in 1995.
This year, neither country won their pool — New Zealand fell to France in the World Cup opener; South Africa fell to Ireland 15 days later — but each rose to the occasion in the knockout stage.
Springboks do this by the skin of their teeth. They beat France, who opened the World Cup ranked No. 3 in the world, in a 29-28 matchup before making another one-point victory with a low-scoring 16-15 semifinal victory over England.
The place in the Gold Medal Match of the All Blacks is easier. It took a close 28-24 battle with pre-tournament No. 1 Ireland to advance to the quarterfinals, but head coach Ian Foster’s team won a 38-point semifinal blowout against Argentina.
“It’s gonna be tight,” said South African head coach Jacques Nienaber about the final after his team punched its ticket. “[The All Blacks] is in excellent shape. I think if you look at their last games, if you don’t get 30 or 35 points, you don’t get involved.
The end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup will usher in a new era for both teams, with Nienaber and Foster both stepping down as head coaches.
And there’s no better way to go out than with a gold medal in drag.
“Couldn’t have been scripted any better, right? In many ways. For us, from an All Black perspective, South Africa will always be a good opponent,” Foster told New Zealand news service Newshub on Monday. “You have good teams that have a chance to break some history, which is to be the first team to win four times.
“There is a lot at stake. And when they played in the final, it couldn’t have been better.
How to watch the 2023 Rugby World Cup Gold Medal Match: New Zealand v. South Africa
- When: Saturday, Oct. 28
- where: Stade de France — Saint-Denis, France
- Time: 3:00 pm ET
- See: Peacock, CNBC
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