The Springboks successfully Defended their Rugby World Cup crown in Paris on Saturday, beating old foe New Zealand 12-11 in a brutal final at the Stade de France.
Playing for the right to become the first team ever to win the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time, South Africa also became the second team in history - after New Zealand in 2011 and 2015 - to win back-to-back titles.
They pulled it off with an incredible amount of heart - embodied by Man of the Match on the day, Pieter Steph du Toit, who made an unthinkable 14 tackles in the first half alone.
If you thought that was impressive, he didn’t stop and went on to make a further 14 in the second half for a match total of 28.
With New Zealand enjoying the bulk of the possession (60 percent) and territory (53 percent) throughout the match, they forced South Africa into making 209 tackles.
In comparison, the Kiwis made only 92. What’s impressive about South Africa’s defence on the day, was that they had a success rate of 80 percent, with New Zealand making 78 percent of the tackles they attempted.
If ever anyone needed evidence that defence wins you World Cups, this was it.
Still, the Boks had to get points and here the ill-disciplined All Blacks were happy to help.
As early as the third minute, Shannon Frizell was sent to the sin bin for an illegal clean-out on Bongi Mbonambi, which saw the hooker leave the field with a knee injury and replaced by Deon Fourie.
Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard’s penalty conversion went in off the left upright (3-0).
South Africa started with fire and dominated the Kiwis early on - with a big hit by Eben Etzebeth on Richie Mo’Unga sure to be replayed on ads in SA in years to come. Their dominance led to another penalty in the 13th minute for Pollard to double their lead (6-0).
New Zealand were finally on the board in the 17th minute when they won a breakdown penalty for Mo’Unga to make it 6-3.
Three minutes later, Ardea Savea was blown up at a ruck and Pollard made it 9-3 for the Boks to win the crucial first quarter of the match.
Then the moment that gave SA a numerical advantage for the rest of the match, when All Blacks captain Sam Cane was yellow carded for making head contact with Springbok centre Jesse Kriel in the 29th minute.
After the review, Cane’s yellow was upgraded as he became the first ever player to be sent off in a World Cup final.
Still, the Kiwis were determined to win the game and gave it their all.
With both teams struggling to find their jumpers in the lineouts, momentum was hard to build.
South Africa had their moments on attack, but their final grubbers just didn’t bounce their way on the day.
Such was their quest for points that Damian Willemse tried the first of his two attempted drop goals - SA tried four, with Cheslin Kolbe and Pollard also trying - but sank none of them.
It was the Kiwis who struck next, though, and after Kurt-Lee Arendse expertly tackled Rieko Ioane into touch on his way to the tryline, lock Eben Etzebeth was penalised for tracking back slowly to interfere with an All Blacks attack (12-6).
That’s how it stayed until the break.
The Springboks nearly smacked the wind out of the All Blacks’ sails straight after the restart with captain Siya Kolisi making a break and getting tackle within touching distance of the tryline after failing to find Arendse on his inside.
Centre Damian de Allende was then held up in-goal and the All Blacks survived.
Three minutes later, Arendse then got a foot in touch from a Willemse grubber as he sailed over to score in the corner.
Still, no points for the Boks.
Springbok fans then had their hearts in their throats when Kolisi was sin-binned in the 46th minute for a high tackle.
While he was off, the All Blacks thought they’d scored the first try of the match through Aaron Smith, but were called back after Savea knocked on the ball at the lineout earlier in the move.
SA breathed a collective sigh of relief, but when Beauden Barrett sailed over the Bok tryline in the 58th minute after what looked like a certain mark Tele’a knock-on, the mense se borse were warm.
The missed conversion, though, meant SA still had the one-point lead.
With the All Blacks then going for gold and pushing hard, SA birthday boy Kolbe was then sent to the cooler in the 73rd minute for a deliberate knockdown.
With the cameras permie on him, Kolbe couldn’t watch a thrilling end to the match, burying his head under his jersey.
But when the final whistle blew to announce their third-successive one-point win and back-to-back titles, he along with his teammates, could hold their head high for making Mzansi proud once again.