‘We love you South Africa’: Siya Kolisi pride after Rugby World Cup win over England

South African captain Siya Kolisi holds the Webb Ellis Cup aloft with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa after South Africa defeated England to win the Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama. (AP)
Updated 02 November 2019

‘We love you South Africa’: Siya Kolisi pride after Rugby World Cup win over England

  • Kolisi first black captain in the Springboks’ 128-year rugby history
  • Captain thanked the South African people for their support

YOKOHAMA: Siya Kolisi grabbed the Webb Ellis Cup with his big hands, gave it a kiss and hoisted it high as fireworks exploded and his teammates — black and white — rejoiced behind him.
A blowout victory in the Rugby World Cup final for the Springboks.
Yet another transcendent moment for post-apartheid South Africa.
Led by the first black captain in the Springboks’ 128-year rugby history, South Africa’s multiracial squad swept to a record-tying third World Cup title by overpowering England in a 32-12 victory on Saturday.
“We have so many problems in our country,” the 28-year-old Kolisi said. “A team like this — we come from different backgrounds, different races — came together with one goal.”
Among the post-match celebrations was the poignant sight of Kolisi being joined on the winner’s podium by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was wearing a Springboks jersey with No. 6 on the back — the number worn by the captain.
It evoked memories of South Africa’s first World Cup triumph in 1995 and Nelson Mandela — the country’s president at the time — wearing the No. 6 jersey as he handed the World Cup trophy to captain and backrower Francois Pienaar.
Kolisi thanked the South African people on the farms, in the taverns, in the townships and in the streets.
“We love you, South Africa,” an emotional Kolisi said, “and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.”
Kolisi was shaking with adrenalin as he belted out the national anthem before kickoff in Yokohama and was then at the heart of a massive effort by the Boks forward, who brutalized England with their traditional power at the set piece to seize control of the game. He made more tackles than anyone other than two teammates and one Englishman.
The England forward were driven backward at the scrum. Their passing was sloppy. The kicks were wrong. What happened to the team that outclassed two-time defending champion New Zealand in the semifinals?
Yet, at 18-12 with 20 minutes left, the final was still up for grabs.
Then the Springboks opened up, showing the other side of their game and scoring tries out wide through wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe.
Mapimpi kicked ahead from the left wing and was on hand to receive a pass from center Lukhanyo Am to race over near the posts in the 67th minute.
Kolbe’s try was even better, the small right winger scampering down the touch line before stepping inside England captain Owen Farrell and running through unchecked in the 74th.
The celebrations could start early for the South African fans inside the International Stadium and those back home, on a special night for a country still trying to fully emerge from the apartheid era.
“We had the privilege of giving people hope,” South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said , “not the burden.”
And Erasmus saved some special words for his captain.
“It is easy to talk about going through hard times and struggling to get opportunities,” Erasmus said, “but it is tough when there are days when you didn’t have food or couldn’t go to school or didn’t have shoes to wear.
“When you sit down and think about it, there was a stage when Siya didn’t have food to eat. Yes, that is the captain and he led South Africa to hold this Cup.”
It was 24 years ago when the Springboks won the title, a year after Mandela became president in a democratic election after decades of racial segregation and his own imprisonment for 27 years.
Twelve years later, they won it again — also against England — and it has been another 12-year gap to their third.
While the All Blacks have also won the biggest prize in rugby three times, they have played in all nine editions of the World Cup. South Africa has only played in the tournament seven times, having been barred from the 1987 and ‘91 tournaments as part of sporting sanctions during the apartheid era.
It is three wins from three finals for the Springboks, who finally scored a try in a title match and had 22 points from flyhalf Handre Pollard. Frans Steyn, who was 20 when he played in all seven games as the Boks won in 2007, went on late as a replacement and now has won two World Cup titles for South Africa.
England never led in the final — all of its points came through penalties by Owen Farrell — and barely got near South Africa’s tryline. England’s players slumped to the ground at the final whistle, lock Maro Itoje hurling his scrum cap.
Maybe they did play their final last weekend, as some of their fans feared. Maybe beating Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in a span of three weekends was just too much to ask.
Coach Eddie Jones, an Australian brought in after the wreckage of the 2015 World Cup that England hosted but didn’t even get out of the pool stage, got the team to the top of the rankings — his first aim after taking charge.
But he couldn’t deliver a second title for England, after the class of 2003. Jones was also on the losing end in ‘03 as Australia’s coach in a final decided by a dropped goal in extra time.
“I thought they executed their plan brilliantly,” England flyhalf George Ford said of the Boks. “They just did a job on us.”


Man City crush Arsenal, Spurs grab late win at Wolves

Updated 7 min 30 sec ago

Man City crush Arsenal, Spurs grab late win at Wolves

  • Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and teed up Raheem Sterling for City’s other goal as Arsenal crumbled to another humiliating home defeat
  • Victory saw City close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool back to 14 points

LONDON: Manchester City got back on track as the Premier League champions swept to a 3-0 win against woeful Arsenal, while Tottenham maintained their revival under Jose Mourinho with a dramatic 2-1 victory at Wolves on Sunday.
City’s masterclass in north London and Jan Vertonghen’s last-gasp winner for Tottenham shared the spotlight on a day when Manchester United’s teenage striker Mason Greenwood rescued a 1-1 draw against Everton.
Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and teed up Raheem Sterling for City’s other goal as Arsenal crumbled to another humiliating home defeat.
Victory sees City close the gap on runaway leaders Liverpool back to 14 points and edge to within four of second-placed Leicester, who they host next weekend.
Arsenal, on the other hand, remain ninth on the back of just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions.
City struck in the second minute when Gabriel Jesus’s low cross picked out De Bruyne to fire into the roof of the net.
Pep Guardiola’s men had been ruthlessly cut apart on the counter-attack in losing to Manchester United last weekend.
But the visitors doubled their lead just 15 minutes in with De Bruyne the creator as he carried the ball forward before squaring for Sterling to slot home his 16th goal of the season.
De Bruyne showed his superior quality to any other player on the pitch again five minutes before half-time as this time he curled into the bottom corner from outside the box.
At Molineux, Mourinho’s men had to dig deep against in-form Wolves to inflict the hosts’ first league defeat in 12 games.
Adama Traore’s spectacular strike had canceled out Tottenham winger Lucas Moura’s early opener before Vertonghen stooped to guide home Christan Eriksen’s corner in stoppage-time.
Spurs can now move into the top four before Christmas if they beat Chelsea at home next weekend and Mourinho has his sights of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
“We went about a year without winning a Premier League game away and we’ve managed two in a short amount of time,” Mourinho added.
“Now we are not looking to the bottom of table, we’re looking higher up. This game is a special game because the opponent is a special opponent.”
United are one point behind Tottenham in sixth place after the momentum from their impressive recent run stalled in the Everton draw.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell behind to Victor Lindelof’s controversial first half own-goal after United’s appeals for a foul on David de Gea were ignored by VAR.
“It was a clear foul but there’s no point me complaining. It (VAR) will be better next year. They’ll have to look at it,” Solskjaer said.
But Greenwood, introduced in the second half, underlined his vast potential with a clinical strike 13 minutes from full-time.
The 18-year-old is the third youngest player to score a Premier League goal at Old Trafford after former United forward Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.
Bradford-born Greenwood, a product of United’s youth academy, now has seven goals in his breakthrough season after netting twice in his previous appearance against Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday.
It was fitting that Greenwood scored in the 4,000th senior match in succession in which at least one youth graduate was represented in United’s first-team or matchday squad, an extraordinary record stretching back over nine decades.
For Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s caretaker manager, this spirited performance built on the momentum from last weekend’s win over Chelsea.
But Ferguson, a popular club legend, insisted he isn’t the right man to lead the Toffees in the long-term.
“I think it’s buying them a bit of time until they can get the right man in. That’s what a couple of results does, so we can make that process more diligent,” he said.