With the melting pot of different cultures in the Springbok team, Captain Siya Kolisi has attributed winning the 2023 Rugby World Cup to the champions working together in pursuit of inspiring the nation.
Addressing a media briefing upon their arrival at OR Tambo International Airport from France, Kolisi thanked South Africans for supporting the team during the tournament and dedicated the win to people who want to achieve their dreams regardless of their circumstances.
“We wanted to make sure that this win was for the people of South Africa because of the diversity in our team. We all come from different walks of life and different races. This trophy is for people who come from tough circumstances and disadvantaged areas… who want to make something out of their lives. This is for you because we also come from those environments. We want people to get a reference point to see how they can make it from their situation. It is also for people who come from rich homes,” Kolisi said on Tuesday.
The national team was welcomed at the airport by scores of jubilant South Africans donning the Springbok colours with hopes of getting a glimpse of the world champions. This is after they triumphed over New Zealand in the final match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament, beating New Zealand 12-11 on Saturday to lift the Webb Ellis Cup once more.
“As a team we had to learn [to work together]. We knew our cultures were different and that comes with differences amongst ourselves. We had a coaching staff who knew how to align us as a group; who knew how to put us together so we can focus towards a common goal, which was the Springboks and the people of South Africa.
“Our coaches taught us about taking care of each other and reminded us about our painful past, which some people have not healed from. We speak about it honestly amongst our team and talk about transformation. It is important to talk about healing from our past. We need to know the way forward; how do get better as South Africa,” he said.
Kolisi said transformation is about people changing internally; understanding each other’s cultures and taking care of each other.
“I know this win is going to inspire the country but it will not change people’s circumstances. For us as players, it will give us a platform that can open opportunities through the work that we do with our foundations,” he said.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa said the victory paid homage to President Nelson Mandela who had the vision that sport has the ability to unite.
“Your performance both on and off the field has represented you well as ambassadors of the country of our dreams, united as defined in the preamble of our Constitution,” he said.
South Africans will get the opportunity to see the 2023 Rugby World Cup trophy in person when the Springboks embark on a four-day tour from Thursday.
The tour has been meticulously planned to convey the team’s appreciation and proudly showcase the trophy as it embarks on another four-year journey in South Africa.
The tour will start in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto – concluding at FNB Stadium – on Thursday, 2 November. It will then continue in Cape Town (Friday, 3 November) and Durban (Saturday, 4 November) before concluding in the Eastern Cape (East London) on Sunday, 5 November.
“The locations have been selected for population size in the first three instances and because of the Eastern Cape’s rugby significance in the fourth. Satellite tours to Bloemfontein, Nelson Mandela Bay and other centres will be scheduled for 2024. Such tours following the 2019 victory had to be abandoned because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The route for each tour has been prepared in consultation with the respective local authorities and the South African Police Service,” SA Rugby said on Sunday.
Route maps and timings will be published at www.springboks.rugby and on SA Rugby’s social media channels and by local authorities.
Source: South African Government News Agency