Savea motivated to go one better in 2027
World Rugby's Player of the Year, Ardie Savea, has a World Cup silver medal to go with his 2019 bronze medal, but the 2023 final loss to South Africa has already motivated him to go for gold in Australia's tournament in 2027.
After heading off South Africa's Eben Etzebeth, France's Antoine Dupont and Ireland's Bundee Aki, a fellow New Zealander, to claim the Player of the Year award, Savea said, "It's put the fire again in my belly to rectify it.
"I've experienced this twice now, 2019 and 2023 and being a leader in this team, it's not a nice feeling."
Savea joined Richie McCaw (3), Dan Carter (3), Brodie Retallick, Beauden Barrett (2) and Keiran Read as winners of the award.
Savea said after the losing experience the night before receiving his award that he was honoured and blessed to receive it.
Etzebeth said he was happy to receive team awards that took nothing away from Savea's win because he had been exceptional.
Savea was joined by lock Scott Barrett, first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga and wing Will Jordan in World Rugby's Dream Team of the Year.
While South Africa's Cup final win allowed it to strengthen its ranking as No1 side in the world, the All Blacks slipped to third, behind Ireland.
The top 10 are: 1. South Africa 94.54, 2. Ireland 90.57, 3. New Zealand 89.80, 4. France 87.81, 5. England 85.46, 6. Scotland 83.43, 7. Argentina 80.68, 8. Wales 80.64, 9. Australia 77.48, 10. Fiji 76.38.
Final statistics for the World Cup identified the role of defence in the tournament.
The All Blacks scored the most points, 336, 98 more than second-placed France. They also scored the most tries with 49, 19 more than second-equal sides Ireland and France. The All Blacks kicked the most conversions 35, 10 more than second-placed Ireland, and they made the most offloads 58, three more than second-placed Scotland. They also made 88 clean breaks, 33 more than second-placed France.
But South Africa headed the tackle count with 974, 100 more than second-placed England and 110 more than the All Blacks.
Will Jordan scored the most tries in the tournament with eight, while Ardie Savea made the most runs with 82.
New Zealand and Namibia were the only sides to receive two red cards.
South Africa is in no hurry to name a replacement for outgoing World Cup champion coach Jacques Nienaber, who is to join Ireland club Leinster.
Rassie Erasmus, the director of rugby, will fill the role until a new appointment is made. He is contracted to South Africa Rugby until 2025.
Retiring No8 Duane Vermeulen, 37, is reportedly eyeing a role as Nienaber's replacement as a specialised defence coach.