South Africa captain Siya Kolisi sought out the England players at full-time of the Rugby World Cup final to offer his commiserations.
Kolisi led the Springboks to a dominant 32-12 win over England in the Yokohama Stadium in a match they controlled from start to finish. Makazole Mapimpi became the first player to score a try for South Africa in a World Cup final. Cheslin Kolbe then sealed the victory, and his country’s third Rugby World Cup crown, with a brilliant try after 74 minutes.
At full-time, Kolisi displayed great sportsmanship by offering his commiserations to the defeated England players.
Kolisi then gave a powerful interview. The South Africa captain spoke about the challenges facing his country and his hope that this victory would unite the nation. Kolisi grew up in poverty in a township and is the first black man to captain the Springboks.
“I’m so grateful for everything this team has been through, we’ve faced a lot of challenges but the people of South Africa got in behind us and we are so grateful.
“We have so many problems in our country, but to have a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races but we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it.
“I really hope we’ve shown South Africa that we can pull together to achieve something.
“Since I’ve been alive, I have never seen South Africa like this. In 1995, we saw what the World Cup did for us. Now, with all the challenges, the coach came and told us at the last game, ‘we’re not playing for us anymore, we’re playing for everyone back home’.
“Since I have been alive I have never seen South Africa like this. With all the challenges we have, the coach said to us that we are not playing for ourselves any more, we are playing for the people back home – that is what we wanted to do today.
“We appreciate all the support – people in the taverns, in the shebeens, farms, homeless people – there were screens there – and people in the rural areas. Thank you so much, we appreciate the support.
“We love you South Africa and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.”