The Springboks’ hooker was unable to continue after Shannon Frizell unintentionally landed on Mbonambi’s leg during a tackle, resulting in a yellow card for Frizell. Referee Wayne Barnes consulted the TMO, considering the possibility of upgrading the card to a red if the action was deemed deliberate. Fortunately for Frizell, it was retained as a yellow card since he had not intentionally targeted Mbonambi’s leg.
In Mbonambi’s absence, Deon Fourie filled in as a substitute hooker. This highlighted South Africa’s risky decision not to have enough backup in that position. However, Mbonambi was officially replaced tactically, leaving room for a potential return later in the match, despite his evident knee injury.
This incident had similarities to the final four years ago when Mbonambi was also replaced due to injury after just 20 minutes.
New Zealand and South Africa have a longstanding rivalry in rugby, and they are meeting in the World Cup final for the second time. Both teams have previously won the Webb Ellis Trophy three times, making the winner of this match the most successful nation in the tournament’s history.
The All Blacks were slight favorites heading into the rematch of the 1995 final, having convincingly defeated Argentina in the previous round. In contrast, South Africa had a tough battle against England that went down to the wire.
As the first half progressed, All Blacks captain Sam Cane was sent off for a dangerous tackle on South African player Jesse Kriel. This granted the Springboks a 12-6 lead and a one-man advantage going into halftime.
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