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Boks in green and gold in final ... All Blacks, well, all black

The Springboks' Cobus Reinach and Kwagga Smith of South Africa after their 2023 Rugby World Cup semifinal win against England at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.
The Springboks' Cobus Reinach and Kwagga Smith of South Africa after their 2023 Rugby World Cup semifinal win against England at Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Springbok fans can rest easy, their team will be in their traditional green and gold jersey when they take on the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final at Stade de France on Saturday.

As for the All Blacks, well, they'll be in their customary black.

The Springboks were pressed into wearing their away jerseys in their pool matches against Scotland in Marseille and Ireland in Paris. They wore their opinion-dividing hyper jade jersey against Scotland and a white jersey against Ireland.

The Boks were forced into their official away jersey as part of World Rugby's drive to make the game more accessible. In this case it is for people suffering colour vision deficiency (CVD), or colour blindness as it is more commonly known.

In Friday's bronze final Argentina will be pressed into a jersey change against England. They will wear a navy blue jersey with diagonal white stripe. England will be in their traditional white.

Apart from their jerseys, what will also remain unchanged in Saturday's final is the way the Springboks and the All Blacks will climb into each other.

Both teams are this week doing their fine-tuning outside Paris. The Boks are back in sleepy Presles on the golf resort they stayed at earlier in the campaign more than 40km north of the French capital.

The All Blacks, meanwhile, are out to the south west on an estate known as Paris Country Club.

It is equally challenging to reach via public transport and it is easy to see why. Their golf resort is adjacent to a pristine horse racing track. In that neck of the woods dogs are off the leash and the ducks run scared.

The All Blacks, unlike the on-edge Boks during media briefings, are taking it all in their stride. Jason Ryan, their forwards coach, was asked a wide range of questions on Tuesday. One was potentially tricky but he negotiated it with aplomb.

“Describe Rassie Erasmus in three words,” a member of the media demanded.

In three words? I don't know. Passionate, authentic. I haven't got another one. That'll do. I haven't thought about Rassie at all to be honest.”

Asked whether he expects mind games from Erasmus and whether that would have an impact on proceedings on Saturday the straight-shooting Ryan said: “Not sure and no.”

Erasmus did not make his customary appearance at the Bok media briefing on Monday and it is not clear whether he will make an appearance before Saturday's final.

If the Boks are trying to keep their discipline off the field, Ryan spoke of the importance to maintain it on the field on Saturday.

Given how the Springboks have progressed through the knock-out rounds as well as their pool match against Ireland, Saturday's clash will likely be determined by tight margins.

Accuracy is a big part of discipline,” reminded Ryan. “Often you talk about discipline but you've got to be accurate. Discipline can mean that sometimes you are a little bit passive as well. This contest is going to be a title fight.

It's going to be huge and accuracy and momentum shifts are a big part of it. Momentum shifts will swing and they can swing really quickly, the scoreboard can change quickly.

“Both teams can score and get momentum so being accurate around the park is quite an important one.”