South Africa are Rugby World Cup champions for 2019 after bullying England into submission in Yokohama.
The Springboks came into the game as underdogs following England’s dismantling of the All Blacks last Saturday. Indeed, it was the All Blacks who inflicted a ten-point defeat on South Africa in Yokohama in their opening match of the campaign back in late September.
Following that defeat, not many expected the Rassie Erasmus led outfit to make a stamp on the tournament with many feeling that the pressure had already got to them.
However, Erasmus put it all into perspective following their epic 32-12 victory claiming that rugby is a privilege rather than pressure and that pressure in South Africa is having a loved one taken from you.
“It was my first World Cup as a coach and the first All Blacks game was a great test ground for us handling pressure. We were terrible that week, we were tense and it was a terrible build up and that taught us how to handle the quarter-final and semi.
“In South Africa, it (pressure) is not having a job, having a close relative who is murdered. Rugby should not create pressure, it should create hope. We have a privilege, not a burden.
“Hope is when you play well and people watch the game and have a nice brai (barbecue) and watch the game and no matter of political or religious difference, for those 80 minutes, you agree when you usually disagree. That is our privilege and that was the way we tackled it.”
Rassie Erasmus left his role as Director of Rugby with Munster to coach his country’s side and a little under two years later, South Africa have won the World Cup.
A proud Erasmus claimed the goal was always to win the tournament and he knew it was possible because as South Africans, they never give up.
“For us, we decided long before the Rugby Championship, we wouldn’t call it sacrifice, but we needed to be 20 weeks together to have a chance as we were so far behind the other teams.
“We saw it as a massive honour to try and win it. This is week 19 and week 20 was always the trophy tour in South Africa. We are proud. We know luck was involved and a lot of people said we would not make it but South Africans never give up.”
Following the sensational win, which will come as a huge lift in a nation facing a lot of civil unrest, a lot of praise has been heaped on South Africa’s sensational captain Siya Kolisi, the nation’s first black captain.
Erasmus singled out their inspirational leader who has come through the hardship of not having food to eat before becoming a World Cup-winning captain.
“We had a good chat yesterday when we did the jersey presentation for the 50th test match. It is easy to talk about going through hard times and struggling to get opportunities 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 and, yes, that is the captain and he led South Africa to hold this Cup and that is what Siya is.”