While all countries will have to wait another four years for the scrap over world dominance the interim will be dominated by another contest between the reigning world champions and the British & Irish Lions.
What the 32-12 win over England has achieved is seeing the world champions set to face another Lions challenge two years after their success. That happened when South Africa won the Cup in 2007 and when New Zealand won in 2015.
But in the meantime, some British media reaction was:
Stephen Jones: The Sunday Times
"Fate is cruel, so too international rugby. It was a beautiful day in Yokohama, with burgeoning England expectations adding to the warmth. But it all ended in the cool and dark of ultimate failure, the bitter dashing of those dreams of bounding up onto the platform. The pain was obvious. Maro Itoje was one of several who did their best not to let Sir Bill Beaumont drape the runners-up medal around his neck.
"But no scrum, no World Cup, no glory. England's scrummage, which lost poor Kyle Sinckler to concussion after three minutes, was mercilessly thrashed and conceded seven penalties. As usual, the retreat at scrum time becomes a pernicious rout through every other phase of play. England's composure left them, along with the go-forward. They were never truly in it."
Robert Kitson: The Observer
"In the end it felt as if it was written in the stars. Every 12 years South Africa have an unerring habit of winning World Cups and they have done so again, following up their triumphs of 1995 and 2007 with another prodigious display of power and might. In some ways this was an even more special achievement, certainly for anyone who has ever dreamed of a black Springbok captain lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.
"The image of Siya Kolisi hoisting the golden trophy into the clear Japanese night sky is set to become as treasured a picture as that of Nelson Mandela congratulating Francois Pienaar in Johannesburg 24 years ago, transcending such minor details as the scoreline and the sense of English disappointment. There are inspirational stories of hope overcoming colossal odds and then, above all else, there is the tale of Kolisi, the sport-loving boy from the townships of Port Elizabeth who has conquered the world."
Mick Cleary: The Sunday Telegraph
"Billy Vunipola and Joe Marler stood apart from their team-mates, watching and wondering. A week before they had been the spearhead of the defiant England response to the haka. Now they were mere onlookers as South Africa danced their jigs in jubilant huddles. To the victors go the showtunes as well as the silverware. To the losers go the befuddlement and desolation. England travelled along quite a spectrum in a week, from certainty to doubt, from joy to despair.
"It is a journey that will stay with them throughout their careers, a spur to future improvement perhaps or, as Eddie Jones put it, 'kicking stones for the next four years', a painful exercise. Perhaps a spell in sackcloth and ashes would not be amiss. Or, alternatively, a pat on the back, a reminder of self that England had achieved their best return in a World Cup for 12 years. It just did not feel their way."
Sir Clive Woodward: The Mail on Sunday
"There should be no recriminations over England's defeat and performance yesterday, only lessons learned and a heartfelt acknowledgement of South Africa's superiority on the day. The Boks were quite superb.
"This has been an excellent England campaign and they reached new heights against New Zealand last week but sport is a great leveller. At the elite level, if you get one aspect of your game wrong for a period of time you are gone. There is no way back, and that's what happened yesterday.
"England were out-scrummaged throughout the first half and for periods of the second. Not only were they marched back but they conceded five scrum penalties. You can't win a game of Test rugby if you set-piece is being dominated to such an extent, especially as the lineout was also creaking badly."
Nick Cain: The Rugby Paper
"Well, it didn't to the script and will have left England fans devastated.
"But South Africa have never deviated from playing iron fist in an iron glove and yesterday in Yokohama it won them the World Cup for the third time in their history.
"It was a landmark, too, because it was the first time they have become world championship under a black captain, and Siya Kolisi and his squad earned the glory because of the way they outplayed an England team which was revealed to have shot their bolt when beating New Zealand in the semifinals."