Springboks named Laureus World Sports Awards 'Team of the Year'
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…”
WATCH: Rachel Kolisi speaks about the @Springboks' 'incredible' @rugbyworldcup triumph, their nomination for the @LaureusSport Team of the Year and her hubby @SiyaKolisi_Bear 🏉🇿🇦 @IOLsport @IOL @IOL_Lifestyle @Laureus_sa #Laureus20 #SportUnitesUs pic.twitter.com/xxNUVJsXZu— Ashfak Mohamed (@ashfakmohamed) February 17, 2020
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.
All the Laureus World Sports Awards Winners
Sportsman of the Year:
Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi
Sportswoman of the Year:
Team of the Year:
South Africa Men’s Rugby Team
Breakthrough of the Year:
Comeback of the Year:
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability:
Action Sportsperson of the Year:
Best Sporting Moment:
‘Carried on the shoulders of a nation’ – Sachin Tendulkar
Lifetime Achievement Award:
Academy Exceptional Achievement Award:
Spanish Basketball Federation
Sport for Good Award:
South Bronx United@ashfakmohamed