Every four years marks the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one in international rugby.
It’s at the World Cup where all the planning and hard work of the previous four years culminates into the finished product.
But once the curtain closes, it’s so often game over for legends of the game.
In 2019 when South Africa lifted gold in Japan, they said sayonara to legendary prop Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, the smiling assassin hooker Schalk Brits and supreme fetcher Francois Louw, who all retired.
On Saturday, when the Springboks tackle the All Blacks at the Stade France for the rights to be the first team to win the Webb Ellis trophy four times, there will be players who will bid the game adieu on either side of the pitch.
For South Africa, Duane Vermeulen has already announced his intent to retire after this game.
At 37, the No.8 has played 75 Tests to date, making his debut aged 26 in 2012.
Nicknamed Thor, Vermeulen will go down as one of the true hard men of South African rugby.
While Vermeulen will retire, there are some other senior statesmen in the squad that could find themselves on the outskirts of the team at the start of the new cycle.
One of those players is the super-friendly prop Trevor Nyakane.
At 34, Nyakane made his debut for South Africa in 2013 and represented them in a total of 66 Tests before Saturday’s finale.
Another is the oldest Springbok debutant in history, Deon Fourie.
Having only made his debut last year at the age of 35, Fourie will in all likelihood be hungry for more Tests. He has played in 11 to date.
But at 37, this World Cup final is most likely going to be his swansong at international level.
Among the backs, it’s also difficult to see 34-year-old fullback Willie le Roux remaining in the mix when the new cycle starts.
Another 2013 debutant, the Springbok playmaker has played in 92 Tests before Saturday’s game and could be tempted to get to the three-figure mark and play beyond the World Cup.
Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, 33 and with 32 Tests to his name, is another that could be done after this World Cup.
Making his bow in 2014, the Springboks already have some younger guns such as Jaden Hendrikse and Grant Williams playing their trade in SA.
It’s not only the players who will say au revoire, but it will be a final match for head coach Jacques Nienaber as well.
Heading to Ireland where he’ll take charge of Leinster, Nienaber will finally step out of the shadow of director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, but would like to end his tenure in charge of the Springboks on the ultimate high.
As for the Kiwis, they will say goodbye to hooker Dane Coles, locks Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, as well scrumhalf Aaron Smith who will all be retiring from international rugby.
Oh, and their coach Ian Foster has already been replaced by Scott Robertson.
So if the stakes for this final wasn’t high already, these players have got some extra incentive to bring home the bacon.
Now, COME ON BOKKE!