Siya Kolisi says the Springboks witnessed a “united nation” during their four-day World Cup trophy tour, thanking South Africans for turning out in their numbers.
The Springboks embarked on a tour with the Webb Ellis Cup through Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban, and East London since Thursday where thousands of people lined the streets to welcome the back-to-back World Cup champions.
“As a Springbok team we wanted to give South African people hope, but those who welcomed us back at OR Tambo International Airport from France, and all along the trophy tour routes and airports, gave us hope and inspired us to keep showing that regardless of your upbringing, race, religion and background, you can achieve anything,” said Kolisi, after the tour came to an end on Monday.
“We said before the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand that were playing for the 60 million plus people in South Africa, and the support we witnessed first-hand on the trophy tour in the last few days was breathtaking.
“It was special to see the scenes when we arrived home after the 2019 World Cup, but this welcome was something else.
“We said we wanted to help build the nation through rugby, and with tens of thousands of people from all walks of life in all four provinces running next to the bus and cheering us on, we witnessed a united nation, and we hope we can continue to see this in society as well.”
Kolisi added: “The Springboks may only return to the field next year again, but what we took from the last few days will continue to drive us as a team.
“Once again, we wish we could have visited every province and every community, but we have to return to our clubs, so it was not possible. We know, however, that in every province, we would have received the exact same support and passion.
“Thank you, South Africa. We love you.”
Photo: WIKUS DE WET / AFP