The stage is set. The world number one ranked side and reigning world champions South Africa will defend their title against New Zealand who sit just one place behind them in the world rankings. The venue is the Stade de France. The date is Saturday 28 October and England's Wayne Barnes will set things in motion at 21:00hrs when his whistle kicks off what promises to be an epic contest in Paris. It is a repeat of the 1995 final but this time on neutral soil.
Ellis Park in Johannesburg was the venue for the final on the 24 June 1995 and that date will be long etched in the memory of South Africans. It was the first Rugby World Cup in which the Springboks were allowed to compete having returned to the international stage in 1992 following the fall of apartheid. Both New Zealand, led by Sean Fitzpatrick, and South Africa were unbeaten all the way to the final. As with this year's final an Englishman, Ed Morrison, took charge of the officiating. Joel Stransky's drop goal in extra time was the difference in the end as the host nation beat the All Blacks (15-12) which led to one of the most iconic images in sporting history, Nelson Mandela in his rugby shirt presenting the Webb Ellis trophy to captain Francois Pienaar.
Twenty eight years on at Rugby World Cup 2023 both finalists finished second in their respective pools before successfully navigating the quarter and semi-finals. For New Zealand they brushed aside Ireland (28-24) and Argentina (44-6) respectively to reach their fifth final.
For South Africa they secured their place on Saturday by beating France (29-28) and then they saw off England (16-15) in the semi-final. England now face Argentina in the Bronze medal match in Paris on Friday 27 October, a repeat of the opening Pool D match which saw a 14 man England beat Los Pumas (27-10) in Marseille. Click here to book a place at the Bronze medal match.
Victors in 1987, 2011 and 2015 New Zealand will be looking to take their tally up to four and become the most successful nation at the Rugby World Cup. However, South Africa are also chasing that accolade having lifted the Webb Ellis trophy on three occasions adding to that 1995 win in 2007 and 2019.
With only a few Official Hospitality packages left in Rugby House and Le Village, there is still an opportunity to be part of the final and witness Rugby World Cup history. Click on the link below to book and to view details about both hospitality experiences which come with gold category tickets.