Kolisi thanks cheer­ing fans Streets lined to get peek at cup

The Star Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SAKHILE ND­LAZI sakhile.nd­[email protected]

THE af­ter-ef­fects of Ty­phoon Faxai, which hit Ja­pan two months ago, were felt when the Spring­boks’ tro­phy tour hit Gaut­eng yesterday.

The ground was shak­ing as ador­ing Joburg and Pre­to­ria fans filled the streets to cheer the Rugby World Cup heroes as they showed off the glit­ter­ing gold Webb El­lis Cup on pa­rade.

Through a sea of green and gold, the bus car­ry­ing the 2019 Rugby World Cup cham­pi­ons snaked its way through the streets in a vic­tory pa­rade like none other.

First stop was with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria, just af­ter 8am.

The crowd cheered when the pres­i­dent ar­rived on the makeshift stage to meet the team led by coach Rassie Eras­mus.

Sev­eral gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, in­clud­ing Bheki Cele, Pa­tri­cia de Lille and Pravin Gord­han, were present as well as SA Rugby Union of­fi­cials.

“The Spring­boks have made us proud and have even made his­tory. They are the only team to have won the Webb El­lis Cup on three dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents – Africa, Europe and Asia,” said Ramaphosa.

“I must con­fess, though, that dur­ing the match I did have feel­ings of ner­vous­ness. When they scored their first try I had gone to the gents be­cause of my own ner­vous­ness.

“When I came back, I found that we had scored a try and then (there was) a sec­ond try.

“This was the first time that we have had tries in a fi­nal. We must ap­plaud our team for do­ing that.”

Ramaphosa was pre­sented with the Webb El­lis Cup by Eras­mus and cap­tain Siya Kolisi.

Kolisi then paid trib­ute to the coach and the mul­ti­tudes of fans across the world who ral­lied be­hind the South African team against Eng­land at the week­end.

Kolisi was over­come by emo­tions as he thanked the 16th mem­ber of the team – the fans. “We re­ally couldn’t have done it with­out them. We saw the videos and pic­tures on so­cial me­dia when we were in Ja­pan; it was in­spir­ing.”

The play­ers were driven along the streets, which were lined with learn­ers and grown-ups alike, in an open-top bus as they showed off their re­spec­tive sil­ver­ware.

They inched through the city, past Lof­tus Vers­feld Sta­dium, parts of Hat­field and Sun­ny­side and Church Square be­fore mak­ing a fi­nal stop at Tsh­wane House on Madiba Street, where they met up with mayor Stevens Mok­galapa.

The vic­tory bus then pro­ceeded to the Joburg CBD through Braam­fontein to more ec­static cheers from fans and ended the jour­ney in Soweto.

Thou­sands of fans lined the streets to greet the cham­pi­ons. They hooted, took photos and videos, posed for self­ies and mar­velled at the tro­phy and play­ers.

Play­ers openly showed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the many sup­port­ers who cheered them on.

Apart from Kolisi, other play­ers who proved pop­u­lar among the fans were Maka­zole Mapimpi and Faf De Klerk.

While most were ju­bi­lant and beamed with joy that the Spring­boks lifted the Webb El­lis for the third time, oth­ers were over­come by emo­tions and shed tears of joy.

Pub­lic ser­vants, petrol at­ten­dants, learn­ers, of­fice work­ers and res­i­dents alike come out to see the bus es­corted by the SA Rugby Union (Saru) and po­lice.

With the streets tightly packed, some brave fans clam­bered on to rooftops to get a bet­ter view and salute their heroes.

The buzz was more elec­tri­fy­ing when they ar­rived at Tsh­wane House to an even big­ger re­cep­tion, where loud mu­sic was play­ing cou­pled with a vi­brant au­di­ence.

And if you thought you could get your hands on the tro­phy? Think again.

Saru said it had ap­pointed a spe­cial per­son to man­age the move­ment of the tro­phy dur­ing the pa­rade. Only win­ning squad mem­bers and au­tho­rised per­son­nel are al­lowed to touch it, and with the ex­cep­tion of the play­ers, all other au­tho­rised peo­ple are re­quired to wear gloves for the du­ra­tion of the five-day tour and be­yond.

Saru also said it had taken out in­sur­ance on the Webb El­lis Cup to the value of about R570 000.

From the cap­i­tal, the Bok­branded bus trav­elled to Joburg and Soweto.

To­mor­row, the Bokke will be in Dur­ban, fol­lowed by stops in East Lon­don on Satur­day, Port Elizabeth on Sun­day and Cape Town on Mon­day.

SKIP­PER Siya Kolisi proudly shows off the Web El­lis tro­phy to sup­port­ers as the Bok war­riors bus inches through the Joburg CBD. | DIMPHO MAJA African News Agency (ANA)

A LARGE crowd of fans con­verged on the Union Build­ings to catch a glimpse of their heroes. | OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

SUP­PORT­ERS cheer as the cham­pi­ons pa­rade at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto. | ITUME­LENG ENGLISH African News Agency (ANA)

| BON­GANI SHILUBANE African News Agency (ANA)

SUP­PORT­ERS cheer the cham­pi­ons at Church Square, Pre­to­ria.

| OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

SUP­PORT­ERS danced while wait­ing for the Spring­boks dur­ing their Webb El­lis Cup tour at Church Square, Pre­to­ria.

| OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

CAP­TAIN Siya Kolisi at Tsh­wane House.

| SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI African News Agency (ANA).

THE Joburg streets showed the Bokke their love.

African News Agency (ANA)

KOLISI holds up the Webb El­lis Cup for the fans to see. | NHLANHLA PHILLIPS

SPRING­BOK play­ers dur­ing the bus pa­rade at FNB Bank City. |

African News Agency (ANA)

‘AMABOKOBOK­O’ pa­rade the Cup through Joburg streets. | SIMPHIWE MBOKAZI

NOKUTHULA MBATHA African News Agency (ANA) | OUPA MOKOENA African News Agency (ANA)

SIYA Kolisi in Pre­to­ria.

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