Rugby: euphoria in South Africa after the Springboks’ victory in the World Cup final

They climbed onto the tables to remind us that they are on top of the world

Rugby: euphoria in South Africa after the Springboks’ victory in the World Cup final

They climbed onto the tables to remind us that they are on top of the world. At the final whistle of the tense World Cup final, seeing South Africa win over New Zealand (12-11) on Saturday October 28, the 2,000 supporters gathered in the fan zone of the Pirates Club, a bar in Johannesburg, raised their glasses to the sky and rained liters of beer on the crowd like raging gods. On a pedestal, they highlighted the gap that now separates them from the competition. “It’s our fourth cup, no one ever has that man, I don’t have the words,” stammers one of them, Siyabonga. “Have you ever seen a team play this well in the fucking world? “, asks Chris, looking stunned. This man with blond hair, his voice almost gone, seeks to convert the lost sheep. “Springbok rugby is nothing short of a cult. It’s a cult of winning, and you need to join it! »

It took a divinity, a spirit or a genius to allow South Africa to get through this competition by accumulating narrow victories and for the supporters to continue to believe in their Springboks. “It was very indecisive but we held on to the spirit of South Africa,” Johnny sums up with a shout. “After having robbed the English and outwitted the French”, the South Africans could no longer count “on their fairy godmother”, however, warned the journalist Lungani Zama a few hours before the kick-off of the final. If it is not luck, then it must be seen as a mentality. “It’s completely crazy, it shows what a good team they are, how they work together,” corrects Wynand Claasen, former captain of the Springboks in the 1980s.

As if in mimicry, the South Africans gathered in the fan zone hugged each other when the final whistle blew. They had just suffered together for over 80 minutes. Awkward hugs felt like scrums. “Frankly, South Africa is going through a complicated time, we have lots of problems, but this is something that brings us together. I’m very proud to be South African at the moment,” enthuses Chloé, 20, her forearms painted in the colors of South Africa. “It’s an accomplishment for our country, it brings us together at a time of uncertainty, at a time when we need it,” confirms Jason, drawing on his vape and staring into space.

Captain Siya Kolisi adored

Depressed by a feeling of being downgraded linked to the deterioration of the country's infrastructure, corruption, crime or the electricity crisis, South Africans will have to face daily life again. Behind the Springboks, they no longer fear anything or anyone. The haka of the New Zealanders was only a whisper covered by the hubbub of an audience seated since the early hours of the afternoon, elbow to elbow and drunk with beers and brandy-cola.

The inaudible war cry of the All Blacks was answered by homemade chants in praise of the South African stadium gods. The name of Siya Kolisi, the adored captain, is used on the theme of Seven Nation Army, the Zombie song by the Cranberries adapted to the name of Rassie, the director of South African rugby. “I’m so happy because they play for the country, we love them so much. They’re such a special team,” says Izalda, standing on a table to watch the trophy pass from hand to hand on the images on the giant screen. Enter President Cyril Ramaphosa, who traveled to Paris to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy for a second time – better than former presidents Nelson Mandela in 1995 or Thabo Mbeki in 2007.

South Africans celebrating carefreely have a thought for the head of state. What if he learned a lesson from this victory? “The South African rugby plan could be adapted for South Africa. The right people, in the right positions. A leader like Rassie is the key to success,” says Brendan Fogarty, rugby coach for the Vusa rugby academy near Cape Town. Because after the World Cup, its victory and its hangover, the South Africans will have to face again. So a ministerial reshuffle is improvised by Chris, the man who compares rugby to a cult. It is obviously a demigod that he would appeal to. “Siya president! Siya vice president! Siya Minister of Sports”.