Siya Kolisi was left “humbled and overawed” by the incredible reception South Africa received on their return from winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Springboks made their way home on Tuesday and arrived to remarkable scenes at a Johannesburg airport, where thousands of fans gathered to celebrate their triumph.
It was a lot for captain Kolisi to take in and he thanked the nation for getting behind his side, who claimed glory by thrashing England 32-12 in the final.
“In Japan, we got a glimpse of the support back home, but this reception is something else – we can’t begin to thank everyone for backing us throughout this journey,” said Kolisi.
“We did this for all South Africans – ordinary people who work tirelessly all day long to care for their families and friends and ultimately make our wonderful country an even better place.
That special moment pic.twitter.com/lzlVyBjaKE
— Springboks (@Springboks) November 5, 2019
“Winning the World Cup on foreign soil was very special – and arriving home to this wonderful support is the cherry on top. We are tired but grateful, humbled and overawed – thank you.”
Head coach Rassie Erasmus, who won the tactical battle of wits against opposite number Eddie Jones in Yokohama, echoed Kolisi’s sentiments ahead of a trophy tour that begins in Gauteng on Thursday.
“We brought the Webb Ellis Cup home for all South Africans and we really wish we could go everywhere to thank our supporters, but unfortunately logistics and time constraints doesn’t allow for that to happen this time,” said Erasmus.
“I would like to agree with Siya – the support here at the airport made all the hard work and sacrifices over the last two months worth it. Thank you to everyone who came out to greet us.”