CAPE TOWN – In the year Nelson Mandela would have celebrated his centennial birthday, his famous Madiba Magic surely shone down on South African sporting teams at the weekend.
Sports fans all around Mzansi were cheering on raucously after the Springboks, the Proteas women and the Bok Sevens teams achieved a treble of victories over arch-rivals England, while the illustrious Comrades Marathon was won by two South Africans, Bongumusa Mthembu and Ann Ashworth.
The icing on the cake, though, was the Blitzboks stealing the World Rugby Sevens Series championship from under the noses of Fiji by beating England 24-14 in the final in Paris last night.
This meant that the Blitzboks retained their World Series title.
After a couple of glum seasons that have seen the Springboks fall down to seventh position in the world rugby rankings, the Boks roared back after facing a 24-3 deficit to claim an unforgettable come-from-behind 42-39 victory at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The win had even greater significance due to new Springbok captain Siya Kolisi - the first black African to lead the Boks - running out in the very same No 6 jersey Madiba famously wore on that unforgettable day when Francois Pienaar’s Boks lifted the golden World Cup trophy back in 1995.
Bok wings Sibusiso Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi delivered masterclass performances on debut, with Nkosi scoring a brace of tries, while Dyantyi scored a try as well.
“It is a huge honour to score on my debut. Yes, I do (remember every part of the game). With a burning chest it is hard to forget, it’s tough playing at altitude,” Nkosi said.
The Madiba spirit stretched all the way through to the West Midlands of England, where Dane van Niekerk’s Proteas team avenged last year’s heart-breaking ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final defeat to the hosts.
The revelry continued closer to home at the Comrades, where Mthembu completed a hat-trick of victories after previously winning in 2014 and 2017.
Mthembu won in a time of 5hr 26.35min and is now only behind Comrades “king” Bruce Fordyce on the all-time South African winners list.
IOL Sport Staff