The two nations have been playing test rugby against each other since 1921, when New Zealand emerged victorious from the first encounter in Dunedin 13-5. Up until 1996, the All Blacks had never won a series on South African soil, while the Springboks had claimed their first series in New Zealand in 1937.
Across the 105 tests, the All Blacks have won 62, the Springboks 39 and four matches have been drawn.
At Rugby World Cups, the two have played five times – New Zealand winning three and South Africa two. Only once before have they met in a World Cup final, in 1995 in which South Africa were the victors to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time. The last time the two played each other at a World Cup was the opening match of the 2019 tournament in Japan, the All Blacks won 23-13. At World Cups, the points tally stands at All Blacks 102 to South Africa 77.
Twelve series have been played with an even split of victories at five each; two series have been drawn.
The All Blacks’ heaviest defeat against the Springboks came in their most recent encounter this year at Twickenham with the score 35-7, in contrast, their biggest margin of victory came in 2017 with a 57-0 thumping.
New Zealand have scored 2185 points against their old foe, South Africa 1728.
Winning streaks for either team over the other are a rare occurrence. The Springboks held a 19-year streak of six matches between 1937 and 1956 while the All Blacks held an eight-match streak from 2001-2004 for their longest periods of dominance in the tie.
At neutral venues, New Zealand have won four and South Africa three – the last of these was at Twickenham on the eve of the World Cup in which the Springboks dominated. There is little to separate the sides when they play in neutral territory in terms of matches won or points scored, the total points are locked at 145 apiece.
Dan Carter has the most points scored in the contest with 221, with Andrew Mehrtens in second on 209. Beauden Barrett (174) and Handré Pollard (109) are third and fourth respectively for total points scored in matches between the two nations and are the only two players in the top 15 who will feature in Sunday’s final.
Christian Cullen scored 10 tries against South Africa, the most for either team against the other. Following him are Joe Rokocoko (9) and Bryan Habana (8) for New Zealand and South Africa respectively.
How to follow the World Cup final action
When: 8am, Sunday
Follow live updates: nzherald.co.nz
Listen to commentary: join Elliott Smith on Newstalk ZB, Gold Sport and iHeartRadio, or catch the ACC on iHeartRadio or Hauraki.
Get full coverage of the Rugby World Cup.
Will Toogood is an Online Sports Editor for the NZ Herald. He has previously worked for Newstalk ZB’s digital team and at Waiheke’s Gulf News, covering sport and events.