It has been a full 365 days since this country erupted in joyous celebration following the Springboks’ winning of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Tears were shed and fists bumped after the dominant display by the Boks against England in the final in Yokohama. The national rugby team players become instant heroes, winning against the odds and uniting the country once again – just as the teams of Francois Pienaar and John Smit did in 1995 and 2007.
This time it was Siya Kolisi, the country’s first black captain, who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup high above his head.
Under the guidance of Rassie Erasmus and a passionate and focused coaching team, the Boks were the first team to arrive in Japan – to acclimatise – and the last to leave. Erasmus had asked the players and coaches to sacrifice a little bit of themselves in the hope of winning the World Cup to give the people in South Africa something to smile about, to be happy about.
And they delivered.
It was a well-executed tournament-run by the Boks, with most plans and ideas coming off, and heroes made and lives changed forever.
Sadly, the world being hit by the coronavirus has meant Erasmus and new coach Jacques Nienaber have not been able to kick on with the team in 2020. The Boks have not played a match since that final in Japan and will only play again in 2021.
But today we can still remember and celebrate what Kolisi and his charges did a year ago. And boy, is it worth celebrating.
Throughout today on this platform, you’ll be able to catch up on the Boks’ Japanese journey with some insightful pieces produced by our sports writers, ranging from why SA Rugby were hell-bent on getting Erasmus back in South Africa to take charge of the national team, to the “master-plan” that gave the Boks their edge, to the highlights of the team’s run in the tournament.
Enjoy. Bokke, bokke, bokke!