Faf de Klerk says the Springboks started to believe that the World Cup title was in the bag after Makazole Mapimpi scored late in the second half. JON CARDINELLI in Tokyo reports.
Mapimpi scored for the Boks in the 67th minute of the World Cup final at the Yokohama Stadium on Saturday. The try marked a turning point in the game and all but clinched the title for South Africa.
Afterwards, De Klerk described the wing’s break and score as the moment when the Boks started to believe that the title was theirs to lose.
‘Mapimpi’s try was probably that moment,’ said the Bok scrumhalf. ‘We knew it wasn’t over just yet, only that it was likely.
‘I’m overjoyed by this achievement,’ he added. ‘It means a lot to South Africa and we really wanted to play for the country.
‘What we got from them over the past few days was immense. Schools, businesses … the messages that came in non-stop. We knew that there were a lot of people backing us and we owed it to them to give it everything.’
One to remember! pic.twitter.com/2L4pOYYOvm
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) November 2, 2019
De Klerk credited the leadership group and the team as a whole for holding its nerve in a high-pressure game. England, by contrast, failed to perform in the big moments.
‘There are so many cool heads in our group and I think that was the difference,’ he said. ‘There was a lot of belief in our plan and what we can achieve. To see it all pan out in a final is amazing.
‘We grew a lot after that loss to the All Blacks in the first game. That maturity shone through at the end.’
The Boks came in for a lot of criticism over the course of the campaign for their tactics. Ultimately, they scored two tries and 32 to points en route to clinching their first World Cup title since 2007.
‘We said from the start that we want to play a game that can win finals. We showed that tonight,’ said De Klerk.
‘We got scoreboard pressure on them. England tried to play from their own half and our defence was absolutely outstanding.
When you see the forwards knocking the opposition back every time if really gives the backs confidence. They were outstanding.’
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