Siya Kolisi’s RWC winners were named 'Team of the Year' at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday night

Springboks named Laureus World Sports Awards 'Team of the Year'

By Ashfak Mohamed in Berlin Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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BERLIN –The Springboks have done it again! After conquering the rugby arena by winning the World Cup in Japan last November, Siya Kolisi’s side were chosen as the Team of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday night.

The 2019 Boks follow in the footsteps of the class of 2007, who also won the World Cup and claimed the Laureus award in 2008. The only other rugby outfits to have been chosen are England in 2004 and the All Blacks in 2016.

South Africa faced tough competition on the night at the Verti Music Hall from Liverpool, who had won the Champions League, Formula One winners Mercedes, the US Women’s Football team, and two from basketball: the Toronto Raptors and Spain’s men’s national side.

The Boks beat England 32-12 in the World Cup final in Yokohama on November 2 last year, and it was made all the more memorable when Kolisi lifted the Webb Ellis Cup, as he was the first black Springbok captain.

It was also the most diverse Bok team at the World Cup, with the likes of Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe and Lukhanyo Am playing starring roles, and the skipper said the triumph transcended the sport of rugby itself.

“Coach Rassie’s speech on the final is on social media, and he asked us to play for hope for the country, and he never asked us to do that (before). But that day, he knew that was exactly what the country needed,” Kolisi said.

“And the videos that we saw during the week (of the final) was amazing – people watching rugby at malls, in the taverns. For the final, they put up big screens for homeless people to watch rugby. So, it was more than just rugby for us.

“When we ran out there, we knew that the full weight of South Africa was on our shoulders. We thought we were playing at Twickenham, as it was just white at the stadium – everybody was wearing the white (England) jerseys!

“So, since ’95, rugby has just been a huge part of South African history, and we work hard every day just to make sure that we support the people. We are not going to win everything, but (set the example) by how hard you work and off the field…”

The other South African nomination on the night, swimmer Natalie du Toit, lost out on the Best Sporting Moment of the last 20 years to Sachin Tendulkar, who was finally part of a victorious Indian team at the 2011 Cricket World Cup in his sixth tournament.

The two major individual awards saw American gymnast Simone Biles claiming the Sportswoman of the Year, while for the first time in the history of the event, the Sportsman of the Year was shared by Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona football star Lionel Messi of Argentina, with the Laureus Academy votes finishing tied.

Natalie Du Toit pictured here in 2008 was nominated in the category: Best Sporting Moment of the last 20 years  Photo: Claro Cortes IV / Reuters
Natalie Du Toit pictured here in 2008 was nominated in the category: Best Sporting Moment of the last 20 years Photo: Claro Cortes IV / Reuters

All the Laureus World Sports Awards Winners

Sportsman of the Year: 

Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi

Sportswoman of the Year: 

Simone Biles

Team of the Year: 

South Africa Men’s Rugby Team

Breakthrough of the Year: 

Egan Bernal

Comeback of the Year: 

Sophia Flörsch

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: 

Oksana Masters

Action Sportsperson of the Year: 

Chloe Kim

Best Sporting Moment: 

‘Carried on the shoulders of a nation’ – Sachin Tendulkar

Lifetime Achievement Award: 

Dirk Nowitzki

Academy Exceptional Achievement Award: 

Spanish Basketball Federation

Sport for Good Award: 

South Bronx United

@ashfakmohamed

 

IOL Sport

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