It wasn’t lost on followers of the game that South Africa’s two World Cup final tries were scored by players wearing the No 11 and 14 jerseys.
Chester Williams, in the 1995 World Cup knockout round, owned the Bok No 11 jersey and defended like a trojan against All Black right wing Jeff Wilson. James Small, who wore the No 14 Bok jersey in South Africa’s first international match back from sporting isolation in 1992, was as heroic in handling the physical presence of the-then man-child Jonah Lomu in the 1995 final.
The Boks, winners of the 1995 World Cup against New Zealand 15-12 and the 2007 World Cup against England 15-6, had never scored a try in a World Cup final. It took 66 minutes in Tokyo on Saturday for Springbok left wing Makazole Mapimpi to finally honour the famed Bok No 11 jersey with a try. Less than 10 minutes later, Cheslin Kolbe did a similar thing for those who have worn the No 14 jersey.
Wings are traditionally the finishers in rugby, and at the 2019 World Cup, Mapimpi and Kolbe would score six and three respectively.