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The five-day long party across seven cities to celebrate the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup victory has finally ended. Some players will finally spend time at home before club and franchise pre-season commitments start again. Cheslin Kolbe has a couple of days at home before he returns to his French club Toulouse. After his World Cup heroics, his stature will be somewhat different when he next plays in the French Top 14 or Heineken Champions Cup. The World Cup parades were simply spectacular as South Africans celebrated one of the country’s greatest sporting achievements. There were memorable moments – from the sheer, unadulterated joy on the faces of people across the gender, racial, economic and age divide to the bra thrown up to Makezole Mapimpi to sign. There was Faf de Klerk standing up on the Springbok bus and dropping his shorts to show off his now famous underpants/swimming costume in the colours of the flag and Archbishop Desmond Tutu asking to see the famous apparel when the team paid him a visit. For most people who braved the traffic congestion and crowds, a few precious minutes was all they needed to see their warriors in the flesh holding up the Webb Ellis Cup as the bus inched past. The image that summed it all up was that of a young black schoolboy from Helpmekaar Kollege in Braamfontein. A generation ago, he wouldn’t have been able to attend the school which was a bastion of Afrikanerdom, not unlike rugby itself. The images were captured for EWN Sport by videographer Thomas Holder as the youngster was looking up at the Springbok bus as it passed his school. He had thrown his rugby ball to Siya Kolisi, who was signing his ball. The young man is in tears. As he waits for his captain to throw the ball back down, he wipes tears from his eyes with his blazer sleeve. He puts his hands together and mouths his thanks as he catches his precious signed ball. Again the tears stream down his face and he wipes them with his hand and with the lapels of his blazer. He is oblivious of the camera and of the crowd around him. He gazes up at the bus at his heroes. He may appear sad, but you just know that is not his emotion. Actually he is bursting with joy. – David O’Sullivan
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi thanked South Africans from all walks of life for coming out in their hundreds of thousands to congratulate the Boks on winning the Rugby World Cup in the last week.
The Springboks arrived home from Japan on Tuesday and visited Pretoria, Johannesburg, Soweto, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town with a Trophy Tour victory parade in the last five days.
An exhausted but immensely proud Kolisi thanked his fellow South Africans for the amazing support shown to the Springboks since they were crowned RWC champions in Tokyo on Saturday, 2 November.
“The last week has probably been one of the best of my life and I speak on behalf of all my team-mates and management when I say that the support we’ve received has been nothing but remarkable and unbelievable,” said Kolisi.
“The celebrations in Tokyo, with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Prince Harry in attendance, were very special, but nothing could prepare us for what was waiting back here in South Africa.
“From our arrival at OR Tambo International Airport last Tuesday, the reception with President Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings, meeting and greeting our loyal sponsors, and receptions by local government around the country, it’s been a fantastic and whirlwind week.
“But we won the Webb Ellis Cup for ordinary South Africans and to be able to present the trophy to them, has been phenomenal.”
🗣 Kolisi: "We won the Webb Ellis Cup for ordinary South Africans and to be able to present the trophy to them, has been phenomenal.”
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 11, 2019
The team travelled from the Union Buildings through Hatfield in Pretoria, across the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, up Vilakazi Street in Soweto, past the Durban City Hall, through Mdantsane, Zwide, New Brighton, Despatch and Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, and finished Cape Town on Monday as the Trophy Tour wound its way across South Africa.
SA Rugby apologised for route changes in Durban and Port Elizabeth, which meant some supporters did not see the Springbok parade.
Last-minute congestion and other logistical complications led local authorities to change the planned route of the Springbok bus in Durban on Friday, and through some of the northern areas of PE on Sunday.
Read also: Siya Kolisi, a captain for change
“To the supporters in Durban and Port Elizabeth who we missed on the routes, we’re as disappointed as you, but unfortunately the last-minute route changes advised by local authorities were unavoidable,” said Mr Mark Alexander, SA Rugby president.
“The same applies to the many other areas in South Africa we could not reach on this Trophy Tour. Our objective was to reach the maximum number of South Africans taking the constraints of time and geography into consideration, and unfortunately it was simply impossible to cover the whole country.”
SA Rugby are planning smaller trophy visits to other South African provinces, but no timelines are currently available.
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