Rugby World Cup

Pieter-Steph du Toit named player of the year

Du Toit was a colossus for the Springboks during the World Cup and dominated the breakdown during the final win over England, helping South Africa secure seven turnovers and proving a menace for the English throughout the match.

He also made 11 tackles and set up fellow player of the year nominee Cheslin Kolbe for the decisive final try in the 32-12 win.

"This is probably one of the best moments of my life," said du Toit.

All Blacks beat Wales 40-17 in third-place play-off

After the loss to England in the semifinal last week, New Zealand ended its World Cup campaign - and Steve Hansen's tenure as head coach - on a positive note with the win in the third-place playoff, extending their 66-year winning streak over Wales to 31 Tests.

Playing with intent and accuracy that had been lacking last weekend, New Zealand scored six tries to two at Tokyo Stadium.

Hansen said the players did very well to pick themselves up for the match.

"There was a lot of external talk about not wanting to play this game.

Aaron Smith ready to stick around for another four years

The Highlanders No 9 will start in Friday night's bronze medal match against Wales in Tokyo.

Smith will be 34 by the time the next World Cup rolls around.

But he said he had taken inspiration from the form of outgoing captain Kieran Read, who is currently 34 himself.

"It doesn't mean I'm going to make it like he did.

"But us halfbacks don't take as many knocks. The only challenge will be if I'm still there mentally and if I'm still quick enough.

Cheslin Kolbe returns for South Africa for Rugby World Cup final

Cheslin Kolbe, who sat out the semi-final with an ankle injury, has recovered in time for his nation’s shot at a third title.

The South Africans will enter the final with history on their side; they’ve never lost a World Cup final.

England, by contrast, fell to South Africa in 2007 – the last time the two teams met in a World Cup.

Erasmus was candid during the week and suggested that the Springboks were unlikely to deviate from the tactics that won them their semi-final with Wales.

Rugby World Cup: All Blacks team to play Wales named

Hansen has made seven personnel changes to the starting side that lost to England last week, with Dane Coles, Shannon Frizell, Sam Cane, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith all named to start against Wales on Friday.

Scott Barrett has been named at lock instead of blindside flanker, while Kieran Read will start at number 8 and captain for his final match.

Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett all retain their positions as well.

England fined 'four-figure' sum for v-shaped formation in response to haka

The Guardian reports England have been fined a four-figure sum for breaching World Rugby regulations, which say opponents must not cross the halfway line while the challenge is being performed. At least six England players could be seen in television coverage breaking that rule.

The Guardian added the fine is less than the one France received in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. They were made to pay NZ$5000 for their v-shaped formation, which also went over the halfway line.

Prince Harry to watch Rugby World Cup final in Japan

The Duke of Sussex, the Patron of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), will watch England take on South Africa. 

It comes after England beat New Zealand 19-7 in the semi-final on Saturday. 

     

Eddie Jones burns Gatland over barbed comment ahead of World Cup final

Gatland was speaking after his team had been beaten 19-16 by South Africa, who now face Jones’s men on Saturday in a repeat of the 2007 showpiece.

Meanwhile, Wales face the All Blacks in the bronze final 24 hours earlier – which was Gatland’s last match as boss.

“Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place play-off?” Jones said at a press conference.

South Africa edge Wales 19-16 to reach final

The South Africans will return to Yokohama next weekend to bid for a third World Cup triumph against an England side who ran defending champions New Zealand out of the tournament with a breathtaking display of rugby on Saturday.

This was the other side of the game, a largely grim arm-wrestle dominated by the boot - there were a total of 81 kicks from hand, effectively one a minute, during the match - and which was appropriately settled by a three-pointer from the kicking tee.

Jones names his top lineup to face All Blacks

That had been his preferred tactic in the pool phase of the tournament, when Ford was outstanding. But he dropped the Leicester man to the bench for the quarter-final win over Australia, against whom Jones said he had been "spectacular" after coming on during the second half.

Manu Tuilagi moves to centre while the pack is the same as against Australia, with the only other change being on the bench where Mark Wilson replaces Lewis Ludlam as back row cover.