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28th Oct 2023

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that” – Siya Kolisi makes incredible speech after World Cup triumph

Patrick McCarry

Siya Kolisi

“This time, people were expecting.”

Siya Kolisi sprinted onto the Stade de France pitch as the final whistle sounded, confirming the Springboks had retained their World Cup title.

Kolisi matched the great Richie McCaw in becoming on the second man to captain his country to successive World Cup triumphs. Ever since they were pipped by Ireland in the pool stages, the Boks have been on a mission. They knew they could not slip again. It was tight, but they simply would not be beaten again.

After defeating New Zealand 12-11 in a tense final, in Paris, Kolisi delivered two incredible post-match – one to the world feed, and the second to ITV. Speaking to Jill Douglas, on ITV, with an arm draped around one of his rugby heroes, Bryan Habana, Kolisi declared:

“We were hoping at the last World Cup, trying to get the Springbok name back. This time, people were expecting.”

“There is so much that is wrong in our country,” he added. “We are the last line of defence… there is so much division in our country but this team shows what people of different colours and backgrounds can do when they work together.

“Look what 1995 [and South Africa’s very first World Cup win] did for sport in our country. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that, and the people that came before me. The people that made it possible for people of my colour to play.”

Faf de Klerk, who had a fine game in the 9 jersey, echoed the comments of his captain. He said, “Hopefully this shows what unity and team-work can do… if we can come together like this, it can be a better country, and be a better world.”

Siya Kolisi

Siya Kolisi on South African spirit

Asked how it felt to win back-to-back World Cups, Siya Kolisi admitted, “There are no ways I can explain it.

“I want to give credit to the All Blacks. They took us to the end, they took us to a dark place. It shows what kind of team they are, to fight with a man down from early in the game. They put us under so much pressure. Credit to my boys too for the fight. I am just grateful we could pull it off.”

On how his team managed to win, Kolisi simply stated, “We had to.

“We lost our hooker [Bongi Mbonambi] in the early part of the game and we had to adjust to that. They put a lot of pressure on our lineouts but somehow we found a way.

“People who are not from South Africa don’t understand what it means for our country. It is not just about the game. Our country goes through such a lot. We are just grateful that we can be here. I want to tell the people of South Africa ‘thank you so much’. This team just shows what you can do. As soon as we work together, all is possible, no matter in what sphere – in the field, in offices, it shows what we can do. I am grateful for this team, I am so proud of it.”

South Africa have now contested eight World Cup tournaments since returning to the international fold, after the end of the Apartheid regime. They have won four of them.


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