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Take 4 bows world champs

Springboks became the first team in the world to win four rugby world cups after their 12-11 victory over rivals All Blacks in France on Saturday. The team has dedicated the victory to South Africans. They are expected to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday where supporters can get a first sight of their heroes with the trophy. The official trophy tour will kick off in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Soweto on Thursday, and then move on to Cape Town on Friday, Durban on Saturday, and conclude in East London next week Sunday. Picture: Jairus Mmutle /GCIS

Springboks became the first team in the world to win four rugby world cups after their 12-11 victory over rivals All Blacks in France on Saturday. The team has dedicated the victory to South Africans. They are expected to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday where supporters can get a first sight of their heroes with the trophy. The official trophy tour will kick off in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Soweto on Thursday, and then move on to Cape Town on Friday, Durban on Saturday, and conclude in East London next week Sunday. Picture: Jairus Mmutle /GCIS

Published Oct 30, 2023

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This one is for you South Africa.

That is the refrain from the Springbok team that has put smiles on faces this Monday morning following a 12-11 defeat of the All Blacks that left nerves jangling before an eruption of joy across the country.

Captain Siya Kolisi and his merry men touch down at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg at 11am on Tuesday where thousands are expected to meet the warriors who have made the Boks the most successful team in World Cup history by winning an unprecedented four titles.

Outgoing Bok coach Jacques Nieaber encapsulated the sentiment of players and fans alike when he said: “Relief is probably the first word that comes to mind. Before kick-off, all of us felt ‘we can’t mess this up’.”

Nienaber, who is leaving the Boks to take up a position at the Irish province Leinster, added: “This is for our fans and South Africa. I wish I could show you the amount of messages we have received about what was going on in South Africa.

“We have had 62 million people united. We had communities putting up big screens in malls for people who can’t afford television,” the coach said with tears in his eyes.

“People have bought green T-shirts for everyone. We felt every single bit of energy they gave us and in the last three games, all one-point victories. That is what drove us. We did not want to let South Africa down.”

Nienaber said the Boks embraced the fact that they could put smiles on the faces of struggling South Africans.

"There are not a lot of things going right in our country,and we have the privilege to be able to do what we love and inspire people in life, not just sports people.” Kolisi, who enjoys the honour of leading a team to back-to-back World Cup titles, says he will remain humble because he will never forget his township roots.

"Where I come from I never dreamed I would be here today,” the captain said.

“We come from different walks of life.

I had my own goals and ambitions. I want to look after my family, I want to give back to my community. You need to come and see South Africa to understand. When we come together nothing can stop us, not just in sport but also in life."

The Boks had to win the World Cup the hard way after finding themselves in the Pool of Death. They had to beat four of the five top-five-ranked nations in the world to defend their title, and for three play-off matches in a row they won by one-point margins.

Even Player of the Match Pieter-Steph du Toit is at a loss to describe how his team finds a way to win when the odds are stacked against them.

“We’re a team that loves drama I suppose,” he said when receiving the Man of the Match award.

Ox Nche, the Boks’ famous cake muncher, put it more poignantly: “The one thing we spoke about as a team was 'What does it mean to you, and do you really think it's worth it?’ I guess the answer was in the way we played on the field because guys were willing to give everything to be there.

“That was basically our chat: if you think it's worth it then go out and show everyone in South Africa that it's worth it.”

Cape Times