Cyril hosts Boks at Union Build­ings

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Mahlatse Mphahlele

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and al­most the en­tire cab­i­net re­ceived the all-con­quer­ing Spring­boks at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria on Thurs­day.

The Boks, who are on a na­tion­wide tour to cel­e­brate their sen­sa­tional vic­tory in the Rugby World Cup fi­nal against Eng­land in Yoko­hama on Sat­ur­day, pre­sented the pres­i­dent with the Webb El­lis Cup.

Af­ter Pre­to­ria, the world cham­pi­ons went to Jo­han­nes­burg and Soweto.

They will visit Dur­ban on Fri­day, East Lon­don on Sat­ur­day and Port El­iz­a­beth on Sun­day amid an out­pour­ing of pa­tri­otic pride that is rem­i­nis­cent of the eupho­ria that greeted

SA’s his­toric vic­tory over the All Blacks in the fi­nal at El­lis Park in 1995.

The visit to the Bay will in­clude New Brighton, Kwaza­khele, Zwide, Mother­well and Uiten­hage, with a fi­nal stop at Greenacres.

The vic­tory tour ends in Cape Town on Mon­day.

At the Union Build­ings, Ramaphosa was joined by se­nior gov­ern­ment fig­ures in­clud­ing Nathi Mthethwa‚ Bheki Cele‚ Zizi Kodwa‚ Jack­son Mthembu, No­siviwe MapisaNqak­ula, Nkosazana DlaminiZum­a‚ Mmamoloko Kubay­iNgubane‚ Thoko Didiza and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Cap­tain Siya Kolisi‚ coach Rassie Eras­mus and his Boks ar­rived at the Union Build­ings at about 8.30am to present the tro­phy to the pres­i­dent.

They were met with loud cheers from the crowd that braved the swel­ter­ing early morn­ing heat in the cap­i­tal.

Ramaphosa‚ who was with the team in Yoko­hama for the fi­nal‚ thanked the Spring­boks for their gal­lant ef­forts in win­ning their third World Cup.

“Th­ese are our war­riors who went out to war and brought back the tro­phy‚” the pres­i­dent said.

“We sent them out to rep­re­sent the coun­try and they did so with ex­cel­lence.

“The coun­try thanks you and we are very proud of you.”

Kolisi again thanked South Africans for their sup­port dur­ing the show­case in Japan.

“We are proud to be here to present the tro­phy to you, Mr Pres­i­dent, and we thank you for the sup­port‚ and the min­is­ter of sport Nathi Mthethwa‚” Kolisi said.

“We are also happy to present the tro­phy to our loyal fans who backed us all the way dur­ing the tour­na­ment. “This is for you.”

It was a spe­cial day for Christo­pher Ncube, 38, who woke up in the early hours at his home in Alexan­dra, Jo­han­nes­burg, to pre­pare for work.

Ncube had been se­lected to drive the open bus car­ry­ing the Boks on their tro­phy tour.

“I was a bit ner­vous and left my place pray­ing that there should be no mis­takes to­day.

“I was over the moon when

I saw the team walk­ing into my bus,” he said.

“I felt like a celebrity.” The fa­ther of two has been with Eyethu Events as a bus driver for a month.

“To­day is one of my mem­o­rable days, I even got to see Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa face to face.

“I have never [per­son­ally] seen him be­fore, I al­ways see him on TV,” Ncube said.

The Jo­han­nes­burg part of the tro­phy tour started at Help­mekaar Kol­lege in Park­town.

The Boks ar­rived to loud cheers from Help­mekaar pupils, who formed a guard of hon­our to wel­come them.

The pupils took off their school hats as Kolisi lifted up the tro­phy.

Pic­ture: MIKE HUTCH­INGS/ REUTERS

A NA­TION’S PRIDE: Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert and Duane Ver­meulen dur­ing the Webb El­lis Cup Tro­phy Tour in Pre­to­ria

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