Bongi Mbonambi has praised Siya Kolisi’s leadership in the wake of the Springboks’ World Cup final triumph. JON CARDINELLI in Tokyo reports.
The Boks beat England 32-12 in the World Cup final to claim the title for the first time since 2007. There was a particularly significant moment after the game where Kolisi – South Africa’s first black African captain – lifted the Webb Ellis Cup.
Kolisi overcame incredible odds to become a professional rugby player. Born in Zwide, a township outside Port Elizabeth, he rose above his circumstances to secure a contract with the Stormers.
There are several other players in the current squad who come from similar backgrounds. In the wake of the big win in Yokohama, Mbonambi reflected on what this said about the team.
‘Coach Rassie made the point earlier in the week. We all have stories to tell. We’ve all had challenging periods in our lives. Most of the guys in this team almost gave up on their dreams,’ Mbonambi said.
‘I’m very chuffed for Siya. He’s a great leader on and off the field. He’s gone through a lot himself. Credit to him for staying in the fight and never giving up. He could have given up years ago.’
Mbonambi said that the Bok coach has played an instrumental role in the team’s rise over the past two years, and in the development of Kolisi.
‘Credit to Rassie for putting his trust in him. You can see how the whole nation reacted to that appointment, and how they have reacted to this team’s achievement. We can’t wait to get back and celebrate with our loved ones at home.
‘This World Cup win is something that will give people hope,’ he said with a smile as he glanced down at the winners’ medal around his neck.
‘We saw what the impact was on the country in 1995 and 2007, and we’re expecting a similar thing now.’
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