SOUTH AFRICA LOOKING FOR A FOURTH WORLD CUP TITLE, FRANCE THEIR FIRST
The Springboks are the current world champions and have shared the most William Webb Ellis trophies with New Zealand, who have also won three of them. South Africa won the World Cup in 1995, 2007, and 2019, defeating the All Blacks in 1995 and twice-host England in 2007 and 2019.
France is the only nation to make it to a World Cup final without taking home the Webb Ellis; they have yet to won rugby’s top honour. Les Bleus made it to the championship games in 1987, 1999, and 2011, although they were defeated in two of the games by the All Blacks in New Zealand (1987, 2011), and by Australia in Wales (1999).
The hosts and the defending champions have only met once previously at the World Cup. The Springboks beat France 19-15 in the 1995 World Cup semi-final in torrential rain at King’s Park in Durban.
RUGBY WORLD CUP IN FRANCE: SOUTH AFRICA HAS AN UNMATCHED RECORD IN PARIS
Over the course of three Rugby World Cups held in France, particularly in Paris, South Africa had an unrivalled record. From their 12 World Cup games played between 1999 and 2023, the Springboks have won 11 of them. Seven of the ten times the Boks have played in Stade de France, they have won.
Four of the five World Cup games played in France’s national stadium have ended in victories for the defending champions. In 2001 and 2005, the Boks fell to France twice, and in the Rugby World Cup of 2023, they lost to Ireland.
In 1999, the Springboks defeated England 44-21 at Stade de France to earn their first Rugby World Cup victory in France, which shared hosting duties with England, Scotland, and Wales. Jannie de Beer’s five second-half drop goals in this game are legendary.
South Africa played and won all seven of their Rugby World Cup 2007 matches in France to lift the Webb Ellis for the second time. The Boks played two Pool A games in Paris, one each at Parc de Princes and Stade de France, before winning their semi-final and final matches at the national ground.
The Springboks’ good form in France continues to this World Cup edition, winning three of their four Pool matches. Jacques Nienaber’s side did, however, lose a first game in Paris when Ireland edged the Boks 13-8 at Stade de France on Saturday, 23 September.