New Zealand v South Africa LIVE: Latest updates from Rugby World Cup final

Stuart Hogg column: New Zealand’s wingers terrify me! They can make the difference in the World Cup final

Last week, Argentina were good; New Zealand were just incredible. They blew them away time and again. I thought that the All Blacks would turn over the French in the first game, and that would then give the hosts a kick up the backside and galvanise them. Whereas that is what has happened to New Zealand. They got thumped by South Africa a couple of weeks before the World Cup, then they were beaten by the French. They had two big defeats against two of the best teams in world rugby and everyone said they weren’t good enough any more. They’ve almost said, “we’ll show you.”

They are a very clever side, New Zealand. They’ll have analysed Argentina and the opportunities against them. You look at Will Jordan’s hat-trick try, an off-the-top-of-the-lineout to Ardie Savea. The tail of the lineout chase Savea, who drops it off on his inside and Jordan runs 90 metres to score a try with a lovely bit of individual brilliance.

They’ll have looked at opportunities all throughout the week. Looking at those opportunities is one thing; being able to execute them under pressure is another. I thought they were clinical in everything they did.

I’m a big, big fan of New Zealand’s wingers. I think Jordan has the all-round ability to be an unbelievable rugby player. I was a bit nervous a few years ago – there were rumours he was Scottish and might be coming across to play full-back. Thankfully he stayed with the All Blacks.

Stuart Hogg: All Blacks wingers can win final, plus my team of the World Cup

In his final Rugby World Cup column for The Independent, Scotland legend Stuart Hogg reveals why All Blacks wing Will Jordan had him worried for his career and names his team of the tournament ahead of the New Zealand v South Africa final in Paris

The bold calls that saved Ian Foster and took All Blacks to brink of World Cup glory

p in the coaches’ box at Ellis Park, Ian Foster exhaled deeply. It was August of last year, and the All Blacks head coach’s job had been hanging in the balance, a run of five defeats in six matches putting Foster in the firing line. The prognosis looked grim, with the grand old home of South African rugby packed to the rafters with 62,000 Springbok fans who would have loved nothing more than for their side to unseat the coach of their great rival.

But Foster’s team saved him, shocking South Africa 35-23 to bring their coach back from the brink. Only New Zealand and Foster himself will know truly how close he was to losing his job, but there is every possibility that defeat in Johannesburg would have spelled a premature end to Foster’s tenure. The players knew what it meant. “We were playing for our coach’s job,” scrum half Aaron Smith admitted afterwards.

Little more than a year later, and Foster is ready to lead New Zealand into a final; there is every chance that on Saturday night, he’ll be a World Cup winner. Such a tag would normally ensure a status as something of a national hero – Foster’s predecessors Graham Henry and Steve Hansen both have knighthoods.

The bold calls that saved Ian Foster and took All Blacks to brink of glory

Known as ‘Foz’ by his New Zealand players, a heroic win in South Africa last year stopped a horrendous run after five losses in six games. Now, as Harry Latham-Coyle details, the 58-year-old stands one win away from joining the illustrious company of Graham Henry and Steve Hansen as World Cup-winning head coaches

Undisputed champions? Why New Zealand v South Africa is more than just the Rugby World Cup final

Rugby’s biggest rivalry will be played out on its grandest stage with a historic, unique achievement on the line. South Africa vs New Zealand. This is what World Cup finals are all about.

It’s the two greatest rugby nations going head to head, with the winners becoming the first country to claim four men’s World Cups. Unlike boxing, rugby doesn’t have the notion of an undisputed champion but if ever there was a match to decide one, Saturday evening in the Stade de France would be it.

As Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick explained 24 hours before the match: “The All Blacks have won the World Cup three times, we have won it three times, so this game is actually bigger than just a World Cup final. Whoever wins is probably going to have bragging rights for the next eight years.”

Undisputed champions? Why New Zealand vs South Africa is the ultimate final

The Rugby World Cup’s undisputed champions will be decided in Paris as South Africa face New Zealand, with Luke Baker telling the legendary story behind the sport’s greatest rivalry

Rugby World Cup final – live

Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of the Rugby World Cup final from the Stade de France. After seven, long, pulsating weeks it all boils down to this: New Zealand take on South Africa for a place in Rugby history. The winner today will become the first nation to win this storied competition on four separate occasions.

Both sides reached the final in different ways; the All Blacks storming past Argentina while the Springboks squeaked past England but, regardless, the stage is set for another classic encounter between these two great rugby nations.

Stay with us for all the build-up ahead of kick-off in Paris!

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