Video: Ashfak Mohamed/IOLSport

VIDEO: Springbok Francois Louw’s hilarious Rugby World Cup Final memories

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Feb 20, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – You would think that, with a 32-12 lead and just five minutes to go, the Springboks were quite confident that they had the Rugby World Cup title wrapped up against England in last November’s final in Yokohama.

It had come after Cheslin Kolbe’s magical try, and Duane Vermeulen had been announced as the Man of the Match.

But then, there was a small spanner in the works. A few minutes later, the television feed showed how ‘SOUTH AFRICA’ was being engraved into the base of the Webb Ellis Cup, and the Boks almost didn’t know what to do.

They hesitated before stepping forward for a scrum, after England captain Owen Farrell kicked a 22-metre drop-out straight into touch.

Substitute flank Francois Louw – someone who is usually quite reserved when on media duty – took up the story with great hilarity in Berlin this week, after the Boks were crowned the Laureus Team of the Year…

Francois Louw and his partner at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed/IOLSport
Francois Louw and his wife Sarah at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed/IOLSport

“Playing in a final, five minutes to go. Sitting down for a scrum. For some or other bizarre reason, the camera pans on the man engraving South Africa on to the trophy – with five minutes to go! We’re looking up at the big screen, the England boys are looking up at the big screen, and we still have five minutes to go. Well, are we going to set down for the scrum or what! Quite a surreal moment,” recalled the 34-year-old former Stormers stalwart, who retired from Test rugby after the final, having earned 76 Springbok caps.

Louw, who is still turning out for English club Bath, saluted Cheslin Kolbe – who was also in Berlin – for his stunning try, adding that the Boks could not quite believe that they were going to join the classes of 1995 and 2007.

We did it! The Springboks representatives at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed /IOLSport
We did it! The Springboks representatives at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed /IOLSport

“In all seriousness, the boys put in a hard shift in the first half. I was fortunate enough to come on in the second half and be on the field when the final whistle went,” he said.

“Crazy, crazy times. Cheslin obviously showing a bit of individual brilliance, scoring that last try – untouchable! Joe Marler didn’t sniff him; (Owen) Farrell, didn’t sniff him. Fantastic individual (Kolbe) – plies his trade at number 10 as well now… Coach, there’s one for the (to which Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber replied: ‘7-1 split!)…

“Wonderful memories. We make fun of the moments, but it was a very intense build-up, a very intense game, and to be there towards the end and see it unfolding – to think back to some of the moments you guys mentioned, like 1995 and 2007, you see the guys celebrating post final whistle.

“Being on the field, you think ‘This is actually going to happen to us now’. (And you think) ‘Don’t let it slip, don’t let it slip’, those sort of images go through your mind, those sort of actions. And of course, to pull it off was phenomenal for us.”

The Springboks captain Siya Kolisi speaks at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed /IOLSport
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and his teammates at the Laureus Awards in Berlin. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed /IOLSport
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