The Springboks have through their victory in the 2019 Rugby World Cup united South Africa, says Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
“The most important lesson we can take from our Springboks is that … they were single-minded and their unity was unity of purpose. They affected people off the field which [are the] 57 million people in South Africa,” said the Minister.
Their win covered the country with glory and brought the nation closer to each other as South Africans.
The national heroes thumped fellow finalists England 32-12 to grab the coveted title of Rugby World Cup winners on Saturday.
The national team, along with Captain Siya Kolisi and Coach Rassie Erasmus, touched down at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday evening where throngs of South Africans dressed in green and gold, carrying the National Flag and singing and blowing vuvuzelas had gathered to welcome them home.
The Minister, addressing the media as the Springboks arrived back in the country, said this moment should be a firm base to unite in confronting the challenges faced by the country, such as unemployment.
“Let’s ensure that we build our country, let this not be a momentary win but forever we build on it to confront the challenges of gender-based violence,” Mthethwa said.
Kolisi said the team won because they had been motivated to win.
“The people also gave us another reason to fight hard… we knew what was going on at home and it reminded us we have the privilege of giving hope to the people,” he said.
Kolisi encouraged young children in rural areas to work hard towards achieving their dreams and not allow people to tell them that their dreams are impossible.
“Anything can be overcome with opportunity and hard work. When I was younger I trained every single day. I was preparing myself for the opportunity just in case it came and when it came I was ready,” he said.
Erasmus said the team trained hard for the World Cup and the team was determined to win the Webb Ellis Cup for South Africa.
“After the first All Black test match which we lost… I felt we had a terrible week leading into that game with New Zealand.
“After that we sat down and discussed what pressure meant for us. We asked ourselves how we can be nervous when there’s so many other things that we can be nervous about…pressure in South Africa is not what people in New Zealand experience, it’s different in England, it’s different in France - when we play we shouldn’t play under pressure,” Erasmus said. - SAnews.gov.za