S. Africans pin high hope on national team for Rugby World Cup championship
A roadside hawker sets up shop selling South African and English rugby flags in Johannesburg, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 on the eve of the final of the world cup rugby tournament in Japan. [Photo: AP]
South Africans on Friday joined President Cyril Ramaphosa's call to mobilize behind Springboks, their national team, which is poised to face England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final in Japan.
The Springboks have made the nation immensely proud and is now just one game away from lifting the William Webb-Ellis trophy for the third time.
The team beat New Zealand on home soil in 1995 and also triumphed against England in Paris in 2007.
On Saturday at 11 am South African time, the Springboks will take on England again.
Many South Africans have anticipated Springboks to repeat the historic victories.
Ramaphosa has arrived in Tokyo, Japan where he will lead the nation's support for the Springboks.
Before leaving his country on Thursday, Ramaphosa, wearing Springboks' green and gold jersey, called on South Africans to don the same dress with pride on Saturday.
At exactly 13h00 on Saturday, South Africans should "pause for a moment of silence, and those in their cars blow their horns and make the Springboks feel our presence," Ramaphosa said.
"I'm going to meet our rugby team and I'm looking forward to going to see them in their camp and give them a lot of encouragement from 57 million South Africans who are standing behind them," the president said.
"South Africa's moment has arrived," he said.
Siya Kolisi, who leads the national team, said, "We know how much rugby means to our country and what it has done in the past."
"I'm really proud of the way we have performed as a team and it would be a huge moment for us to lift the trophy. Huge for the team, huge for the country," Kolisi said.
Kolisi is the first black Springbok captain has added to international media fascination with the team.
Kolisi said his team was prepared for the challenge and looking forward to the unique experience.
The Springboks will be carrying South Africa's hopes and aspirations when they enter the Yokohama Stadium in Tokyo, in their quest to win the Rugby World Cup, Parliament said.
"We wish to assure captain Siya Kolisi and the whole team of our national unity in support of their efforts to conquer the world of rugby and bring home the coveted Web Ellis Cup for the third time," said a parliamentary statement joinly issued by Thandi Modise, Speaker of the National Assembly, or Lower House, and Amos Masondo, chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, or Upper House.
South Africans cherish the team's resilience, fierceness, unity and strength, which has seen it conquering some of the greatest challenges to inspire South Africa and world, and to position itself on the verge of yet another world glory, the statement said.
South Africa reached the Rugby World Cup final after overcoming Wales 19-16 in Yokohama five days ago.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is being held in Japan from September 20 to November 2, the first time the tournament being held in Asia and outside the traditional Tier 1 rugby nations.