Citizen reporter
2 minute read
7 Nov 2019
9:35 am

IN PICS: Ramaphosa hails ‘first diverse team’ to win Rugby World Cup for SA

Citizen reporter

The Springboks stopped at the Union Buildings to kick off a five-day trophy parade, which will end in Cape Town on Monday.

Springboks coach Johan 'Rassie’ Erasmus right) and captain Siya Kolisi (left) hand over the Rugby World Cup trophy to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings on Thursday, November 7. Picture: Jacques Nelles.

There was a jovial mood and a large crowd as the Springboks made a stop at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday morning, along with the Web Ellis trophy they brought back from Japan, where they became rugby world champions for the third time.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi was met with a hero’s welcome, handing the trophy over to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who hailed the national rugby team as the first truly diverse one to win the tournament for SA.

“Everything that can contribute to nation-building [and] social cohesion must be utilised by all of us as South Africans,” the president said.

Ramaphosa noted that there were “2.5 billion people watching the match for 80 minutes”, and said the team put South Africa on the world map.

He explained that while both he and the team were nervous at times, the victory did not surprise him.

“I saw victory written all over their eyes,” he said.

“When I was in Yokohama and went to meet them, they allowed me the rare moment [to] say a few words. Before I did… I asked some of them how they were feeling. Siya was feeling nervous.”

He then admitted that he too was nervous at certain points during the game.

Ultimately, however, the team “went out to war and they won and brought the trophy back to South Africa where it belongs”.

President of South African Rugby Mark Alexander also spoke, saying the World Cup victory was a tribute to the “spirit of Mandela”, which has “never been more true”.

The Springboks stopped at the Union Buildings to kick off a five-day trophy parade, which will end in Cape Town on Monday.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Pics by Jacques Nelles)

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