‘Warrior’ Springboks parade World Cup through streets of Soweto

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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi holds up the Web Ellis trophy as the World Cup winning team parades through the streets of Soweto. (AFP)
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Captain Siya Kolisi holds up the Webb Ellis trophy as rugby fans surround the bus carrying the South African Springbok rugby players during a victory parade in Soweto. (AP Photo)
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The Springboks parade through the streets of Johannesburg with the Web Ellis trophy. (AFP)
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Springbok supporters cheer as the South African Rugby team parade through the streets of Pretoria. (AFP)
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Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, left, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa with the Web Ellis trophy, in Pretoria. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

‘Warrior’ Springboks parade World Cup through streets of Soweto

  • The Springboks’ 32-12 victory against England in Japan has been greeted with joy in South Africa, where rugby was once the preserve of the white minority population
  • Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, held the Webb Ellis trophy aloft aboard an open-top bus emblazoned with Rugby World Cup Champions

SOWETO, South Africa: World Cup winners South Africa began their homecoming tour on Thursday with a victory parade steeped in symbolism through the streets of Soweto, the township near Johannesburg where they were once reviled.
The Springboks’ 32-12 victory against England in Japan has been greeted with joy in South Africa, where rugby was once the preserve of the white minority population.
Thousands of South Africans came out to cheer the national team that three decades ago was viewed as a symbol of white aggression as black nationalists fought the brutality of the apartheid regime.
Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, held the Webb Ellis trophy aloft aboard an open-top bus emblazoned with “Rugby World Cup Champions.”
“Sport is the real tool that can bring all people together,” Vusi Cele told AFP, watching his “heroes” parade before him.
“We have all races here today,” the out-of-work 42-year-old added.
“If we can support each other through sport, nothing will stand in front of us. We are together as one for ever and ever.”
Another Soweto resident, Elizabeth, aged 80, said: “Today we are one. There is no hatred. I pray it will stay like that.”
Soweto is the home of two of south Africa’s biggest football clubs — (Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates). It was also the former home of Nelson Mandela.
Earlier the victorious Springboks — bar one notable exception — had been to Pretoria where President Cyril Ramaphosa joked he was less popular than Kolisi.
After welcoming the team to Union Buildings, Ramaphosa thanked “our warriors” on behalf of a grateful nation and reflected on the huge popularity of Kolisi.
“They’ve been at war, they won and they brought the World Cup back to South Africa where it belongs,” the president said.
“They put us on the world map. We thank them for the impact that this victory has had in our country ... you’ve lifted the spirit in many people in our country.
“It’s good we don’t have an election, I would have to compete with Siya Kolisi ... (he) could have been the president.”
The one man missing from the first day of the parade was Handre Pollard, the fly-half who contributed 22 of South Africa’s 32 points in last Saturday’s final in Yokohama.
Pollard had to watch the celebrations from his hospital bed where he is being treated for a fractured eye socket sustained in the win over England.
The 25-year-old posted a picture on social media of himself with a badly swollen left eye socket and an oxygen tube attached to his nose.
“The reception from the public was unbelievable. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine so many South Africans would turn up on a working day to greet the team.”
After Soweto, the Springboks’ homecoming tour will take in Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, with the final leg in Cape Town on Monday.


Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

Updated 50 min 30 sec ago

Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

  • The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion tackles Dakar
  • Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place

JEDDAH: Fernando Alonso continued his preparations for his Dakar Rally debut in Saudi Arabia by taking third place in AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally and secure his inaugural rally podium finish in the process this week.
The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso takes the wheel for Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020, the Middle East’s first-ever edition of Dakar Rally, which is hosted by the kingdom from 5 to 17 January.
“It was an ideal preparation for Dakar as we discovered new terrain that we will come across again at Dakar,” Alonso said.
“It is a great feeling to finish third and get the first rally podium in my life. The fact that it happened here in Saudi Arabia at this time gives us a lot of confidence going into Dakar,” Alonso added.
Starting in AlUla and extending over 765km before the finale in Neom, AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally was contested across four stages over five days, and the former Formula 1 champion said it was an “excellent training” for him on a similar terrain and in close weather conditions to what would be expected at Dakar.
Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally, while compatriot Yasir Seaidan finished second, with Alonso rounding off the podium places.
Alonso, who made his desert rally debut in Morocco last month, was co-driven by five-time Dakar bike winner Marc Coma, and the Spanish duo will be together again at Dakar Saudi Arabia as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
The 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 champion got his campaign at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally underway to a good start on Day 1 before taking the pace up a notch on the second and third days to set his team up for a podium finish on the last day. “We continue with our plan and preparations, step by step and adapting as fast as we can,” Alonso said of his plans ahead of Dakar.
Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will consist of 12 stages, allowing pilots coming from across six continents to discover Saudi Arabia’s rich past, live its modernized present, and meet its future as they race through the Kingdom.
The pilots will kick off Rally Dakar from Jeddah, the bride of the Red Sea, through to Neom, a fully sustainable city of the future, then pass by the historical sites of Riyadh to face the Empty Quarter, a huge desert of unbroken sand, to end in Qiddiya, a future entertainment, sports and cultural destination.
A criminal investigation was been launched after an armed man intercepted a vehicle taking part in the rally.