South Africa defied the odds to lift the coveted Webb Ellis Cup, following an easy victory against fancied England in the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Underdogs South Africa, disregarding the pundits’ prediction of certain defeat at the hands of England, outplayed the Roses to win the 2019 World Rugby Cup trophy 32-12 in Yokohama, Japan on Saturday, 2 November 2019.
The Springboks, with their number one fan, President Cyril Ramaphosa cheering from the stands, led England 12-6 at half time.
When the final whistle blew at the 32-12 score line, Boks captain, Siya Kolisi, squatted on the ground to wipe away his tears of joy as teammates surrounded him and pulled him to his feet. It was a monumental feat as Kolisi made history as the first black captain to lead the Springboks win the World Cup,
Speaking after the match, Kolisi said: “It is really special, and it was more than just a game for us. We are really grateful to have our families here. All I want to do is to inspire my kids and every other kid in South Africa. I never dreamt of a day like this at all. When I was a kid all I was thinking about was where I would be getting my next meal.”
South African coach, Rassie Erasmus, said that he felt weird.
“I didn’t think two years ago we could realistically do it. But six months ago, I began to, and four weeks ago I really did.
“I am so proud of the players and my country. We stand together, we really believed it and I am proud to be South African. Our challenge now is to make South African rugby strong for the next six or seven years. I will make this my mission to make this a springboard to take it the right way.”
South Africa’s 2007 World Cup-winning captain, John Smit, had this to say: “I’m not sure you can put it in to words. For us in South Africa, it means so much more than just a team of 23.
“To 57 million people who are in a brand-new South Africa, for a team that used to represent segregation and now represents unity to be led by a black African man for the first time, is more significant than anyone could imagine.”
Ramaphosa, who flew to Japan on Friday, 1 November 2019, to encourage the team in person, was seen at Yokohama Stadium lifting the trophy and drenched in flying champagne from the happy players who flooded the victory stand with the bubbly beverage.
The victory overshadowed the deep racial divide in the country as South Africans of all races got together to celebrate a monumental sporting achievement.
This was South Africa’s third Rugby World Cup trophy, following victories in 1995 and 2007.
The past few years have, however, seen mounting racial tensions amid deep-seated inequality and a faltering economy. However, all that did not seem to matter on Saturday, 2 November 2019.
It was time for celebrations and all the sharp divides of race and class were forgotten, albeit momentarily.