South Africa leave it late to reach final
Ruthless New Zealand hard to stop
All Blacks slender favourites to triumph
New Zealand v South Africa
Live on ITV
Springboks avoid England upset
South Africa and New Zealand collide at the Stade de France on Saturday night in a mouthwatering World Cup final. The two most successful teams in the competition's history will duel for the right to become the first country to win the World Cup for a fourth time.
The Springboks are aiming to clinch back-to-back titles after their triumph in Japan four years ago. South Africa were on the brink of defeat in their semi-final, trailing England by nine points, but their relentless will to win helped them edge through in a dramatic 16-15 victory in Paris.
Owen Farrell's kicking and England's physicality left South Africa floundering for the majority of their semi-final. But the Springboks' depth came to the fore, with their replacements turning the scrum contest in their favour. The towering RG Snyman powered over for a try and a late penalty from replacement fly-half Handre Pollard kept South Africa's World Cup defence intact. Pollard and scrum-half Faf de Klerk have been promoted to the team for the final in the Springboks' most experienced team.
All Blacks peaking for Paris final
New Zealand have responded strongly to their opening defeat to hosts France and the All Blacks approach the tournament decider with confidence after an entertaining run to the final. Their thrilling run included a gripping quarter-final victory over Ireland.
The All Blacks completely outclassed Argentina in their semi-final with New Zealand scoring seven tries in their 44-6 thrashing of the Pumas. Will Jordan scored a hat-trick, taking his tally to eight tries in France. The unstoppable wing is worth backing at 2.56/4 to cross the line in the final and break the record for the most tries scoring at a World Cup.
New Zealand have been the most prolific team at the World Cup, with the All Blacks scoring 48 tries - 18 more than anyone else. Their potent attack is a huge threat and South Africa have scored 21 less than their final opponents. Backing the All Blacks to score more tries than the Springboks at 8/111.73 looks a no-brainer.
South Africa have won three of the last five clashes against New Zealand, including a comprehensive 35-7 win at Twickenham in a World Cup warm-up two months ago. This was their record win over the All Blacks but their opponents had Scott Barrett sent off in the first half.
This final looks extremely closely matched with New Zealand slight favourites at 1.8910/11 and South Africa trading at 2.35/4. The All Blacks have had an extra day's rest after breezing through their semi-final whereas the Springboks were involved in a bruising clash against England.
This should be a huge confrontation and making a case for either team to prevail is easy but siding with them at tight odds does not appeal. Outright selection South Africa are still the marginal preference, with the ruthlessness of coaches Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus giving them an edge.
A 7-1 forward split on the bench can tip the scrum balance in their favour in the second half and the Springboks have come from behind at half-time to win their two knockout matches against France and England. The defending champions just do not know when they are beaten and a bet on New Zealand to lead at half-time and South Africa to win is a generously priced OddsBoost at 15/28.50.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster