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Tue 5 Nov 2019 | 05:06

First Boks arrive home

First Boks arrive home
Tue 5 Nov 2019 | 05:06
First Boks arrive home

BREAKING NEWS: The first batch of the victorious Springboks arrived back in South Africa on Tuesday.

Thousands of South Africans screamed with joy, danced and sang at OR Tambo airport near Johannesburg, as they welcome home their heroes.

The triumphant team arrives on a series of flights on Tuesday and Wednesday – with captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus among those to arrive later on Tuesday.

The first batch of players included, amongst others, Pieter-Steph du Toit, voted World Rugby Player of the Year two days ago, Duane Vermeulen, Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi.

From Thursday to Monday, open-top bus tours will take the country’s sporting heroes through Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Thousands are expected to line streets in each city and honour the Springboks, who rewrote the history books by winning the four-yearly global competition a record-equalling third time.

They became the first team to lift the World Cup despite a loss – 13-23 to New Zealand in the pool phase – and the first to win the Rugby Championship and the World Cup in the same year.

Given no more than a 50/50 chance by most of beating England in the Final last Saturday, the Springboks took an early stranglehold and two late tries completed a decisive 32-12 victory.

Thousands of fans go crazy as a group of World Cup-winning Springboks arrive at OR Tambo International Airport.

Posted by on Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A carnival atmosphere enveloped the normally sedate international arrivals section of the airport as Du Toit, De Klerk and some teammates and coaches received deafening applause.

Black and white, male and female, young, middle-aged and old, low-income earners and the wealthy all descended on the airport east of Johannesburg to salute their heroes.

Many wore replica green and gold shirts and waved national flags as they celebrated the rugby triumph which was all the sweeter after poor recent results by the national football and cricket teams.

Rosharon Morgan, a 34-year-old from western Johannesburg, said she closed the family engineering business for the day in order to welcome the Springboks.

“I’m here because the Springboks are the pride of the nation,” she said.

“I was listening to the speeches of [captain] Siya Kolisi and [coach] Rassie Erasmus and they were along the lines of uniting us and giving us hope.

“Right now there is a lot of euphoria in the county, but what we need to do is turn that into tangible changes. The problem is that we are not working toward [racial] unity.

“There are still many issues that need to be addressed such as racial and economic inequalities. We cannot overlook them.”

Moemedi Mashiolane, 45, works in the security industry and took advantage of free train transport to join the celebrations.

“I came here because this is Nelson Mandela’s legacy – this is what he would have wanted,” he said.

“Rugby has united us. Where I come from rugby is a sport played by white people but today it has united us.

“We want white people to know that we want to be part of rugby and they must allow us to play the game.”

Mashiolane said he loved the speech Kolisi made about unity as it uplifted his spirits.

“He knows about our lives as black people and I hope politicians learn from that. They must not think we are stupid – we can see they are trying to divide us.”

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