VIDEO: Siya's Bok legends give hope to battered South Africa
REACTION: South Africa faces many challenges – including load-shedding and a decaying infrastructure.
However, the Siya Kolisi and his Springbok team gave hope to a country and its people with their back-to-back World Cup titles.
Both captain Kolisi and coach Jacques Nienaber spoke of what their epic 12-11 win over New Zealand meant for the country – a title that makes them the most successful team in the game – having lifted the Webb Ellis Cup a record fourth time.
Even though their goal was always the 2023 title and 2019 was a ‘bonus’, they both repeatedly spoke about playing for a ‘greater cause’ – the people of the country.
“What brings us together is our country,” an animated Kolisi said in the post-match reaction – with the golden trophy proudly displayed in front of him.
“We played for the Springbok and then South Africa,” he added.
“That’s what drives us.
“You need to be a South African to understand it.
“It is a beautiful country with a lot of problems.
“However, once we come together for a common goal, nothing can stop usa.”
Nienaber was just as animated in his reaction.
“Relief is probably the first word that comes to mind,” the coach said.
He spoke about the ‘special group of players’ they have worked with.
“As a management and leadership group we always thought ‘we can’t mess this up’.
“From 2018 we thought we had the ability to win the 2023 World Cup.
“[The World Cup win in] 2019 was probably something that hopped on along the way, but it is relief for the players, they were good enough to do that.
“This is for our fans and for South Africa.
(Continue below …)
“I wish I could show you the amount of messages we have received and what is going on in South Africa.
“We have 62 million people united, opening up communities to allow people to watch, an entrance fee of whatever they wanted to donate.
“People have bought green T-shirts for everyone.
“We felt every single bit of energy they gave us and in the last three games, all one-point victories, that drove us.”
Kolisi said that in 2019 the country was ‘hopeful’ of a win.
“What transpired afterwards was the belief in this team,” the skipper said, adding that he would not change the script.
“There is not a lot of things going right in our country and we have the privilege to be able to do what we love and inspire people in life, not just sports people.
“Where I come from I couldn’t dream I could be here today,” he said of Saturday’s win in Paris.
“We come from different walks of life.
“I had my own goals and ambitions.
“I want to look after my family, I want to give back to my community.”