Cyril hosts Boks at Union Buildings
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.
A NATION’S PRIDE: Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert and Duane Vermeulen during the Webb Ellis Cup Trophy Tour in Pretoria