‘We did our best. We deserve it’
Bok supporters treated to a heart-stopping spectacle
The Springboks are expected to arrive in the country on Tuesday before kicking off their trophy tour celebrations at four cities later this week.
The tour will start on Thursday in Pretoria before moving to Johannesburg and concluding at FNB Stadium. This will be followed by Cape Town on Friday and Durban on Saturday. East London will have the last taste of the victory tour on Sunday. Siya Kolisi's hometown, Gqeberha, and Bloemfontein will have theirs next year. The route for each tour has been prepared with respective authorities, including the police. The route maps and times will be published on SA Rugby’s social media accounts.
SA has been in jubilant mood since the Boks snatched a back-to-back Rugby World Cup win following their nail-biting 12-11 victory over old foes New Zealand in the 2023 final in Paris on Saturday night.
The Boks’ record fourth World Cup victory from the eight tournaments they have played was won the hard way, and with no shortage of good fortune. But that has made the victory even sweeter for supporters.
“”I think in the last World Cup (in 2019) we were quite ignorant about the game but this time we are all united. Black or white, we were all here just for one goal – to see the Springboks win,” said Sandile NTU, a supporter watching the final at Johannesburg’s Nelson Mandela Square.
“It was a very close one. We did our best. We deserve it. I think SA obviously had the power over New Zealand in the game.”
Springbok captain Kolisi has become the second man in history to lift the World Cup twice, following New Zealand’s Richie McCaw.
“Siya Kolisi did this for us,” said supporter Tshidiso Mnisi.
“Everyone in the squad did it for us. We are together. We are proud as South Africans.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was in Paris for the final, had said he would consider a public holiday if the Springboks lifted the trophy.
His spokesperson posted on Twitter yesterday that there wouldn’t be a public holiday as it would clash with the beginning of Matric exams.
Ramaphosa hailed the achievement of the team in the wake of their win.
"‘Stronger Together’ is a belief that came to life for Springbok supporters all around our country and continent, and the world,” he said in a statement.
“Siya Kolisi and the 2023 World Cup champions have gifted us an extraordinary and inspiring national achievement that lifts our hearts and hoists our flag even higher.”
Springbok supporters who came out in numbers were turned away from the Durban International Conference Centre (ICC) after it reached its full capacity two hours before kickoff.
Dressed in their Springboks T-shirts and other regalia, disappointed supporters had to find alternatives to watch the final.
“I’m so disappointed. The poster said gates open at 6pm, and by 7pm it was already full. But I understand that it’s the biggest game and I’ll have to find another spot as there are many around Durban. The problem with other venues is that they are open cast,” said a Sipho Majozi as he marched on to find another spot.
Other viewing spots included the Hollywoodbets Greyville racecourse and the Moses Mabhida People’s Park.
With heavy downpours, hundreds of fans braved the chilly conditions and packed the Hollywoodbets Greyville racecourse.
While some were visibly anxious throughout the game, others sang throughout the nail-biting encounter. After the final whistle, it was a party all around for Boks supporters.
One of the supporters, Thuli Mabuza, expressed her excitement: “I don’t know what to say, I really have no words. This is amazing and New Zealand are so strong, but I guess we were stronger. I think I need to see my doctor after this so he can check my blood pressure and everything. This was nerve-wracking and I’m so happy that we emerged victorious.”
Fireworks could also be seen around Durban.
Mall of Africa in Johannesburg was also packed to capacity three hours before kickoff.
Fans donned their green and gold jerseys, and some even brought green chairs to witness history repeat itself. During the game, there were mixed emotions and some with their hands on their head in the last eight minutes almost tasting victory.
Sowetan witnessed one woman weeping as she saw the Springboks triumph on the big screen while others jumped and sang in celebration.
Hazelwood, a suburb in Pretoria, was painted green and gold as young and old came together to watch the game. Businesses, including restaurants and hotels, closed four streets, setting up a big screen for a venue that accommodated hundreds of people.
Fans could be heard shouting “Go Bokke! Go Bokke!” during the game.
Local entrepreneurs also took the opportunity to boost their businesses by selling biltong and plates that were paired with customers' preferred beverages. Before the game, some fans were treated to some Amapiano dance challenges.
“I recently fell in love with rugby and I watched every game the Springbok played during the World Cup. I was confident that they would bring the cup home but at some point I was panicking,” said supporter Oratile Kekana.
Additional reporting — Reuters
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