The balance of power in world rugby has shifted from New Zealand to South Africa, following the Springboks' exhilarating World Cup final victory last night, according to former England international Stuart Barnes.
Ther Boks' 32-12 victory against England in Yokohama has drawn them level with the All Blacks with three World Cup triumphs apiece.
According to Barnes, who represented England in ten tests between 1984 and 1993, the Springboks - whose two other successes came in 1995 and 2007 - now hold bragging rights over the All Blacks.
"It's intriguing today, isn't it? We always talk about New Zealand and they are the great rugby nation of the modern times but South Africa have succeeded them as the great World Cup team right now," Barnes told Fox Sports, before reminding everyone that the Springboks were banned from playing in the first two tournaments (in 1987 and 1991) due to Apartheid.
"Because they've matched New Zealand with three wins but South Africa, you have to recall, didn't play in '87 and '91 when they were banned from the tournament.
"They've won three World Cups in seven attempts.
"It's an astonishing effort."
The All Blacks do still boast the best winning percentage in World Cup rugby with 49 victories from 56 matches (87.5 per cent), followed by South Africa (83.7 per cent), Australia (79.2 per cent), and England (72 per cent).