“For the whole of South Africa, it is an honor to be able to play for you.”
This is how Springbok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, player of the match in Saturday night’s World Cup Rugby final, summed up the feeling of the entire national team after their record victory.
“I know when we go back home there will be a warm welcome for us. I want to thank everyone who supported us.
“It is an honor and a privilege to play for this team. The last three games have been quite tough. We played each as a final and each was (won) by one point. We are very satisfied with the victory.”
The Bok center Damian de Allende described the winning feeling as “incredible”.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet – it was a tough test match. The last three games have been quite difficult for us mentally, emotionally as well as physically. One point every game, but we got through it.”
“It’s an unreal feeling to have a special group of guys like this,” said Ox Nche. According to him, the Boks showed their resilience in three very tough games. “In South Africa, this is what we are made of. When you think we’re on the downhill road, that’s when we come out and shock you and show you that we can achieve anything.”
Jesse Kriel said the final was exactly what he expected it to be.
“The guys dug in again and fought hard. As a South African, as a Springbok, you always believe you will win. You don’t doubt. Winning is a mindset, something we train for and that belief came through again.”
“It’s more relief than happiness at the moment,” said Handré Pollard. “It may take a few days or even weeks to realize what we have accomplished.”
Pollard added that the wet conditions in Paris played a big part in how the match turned out. “The weather was definitely interesting. In the first half we played a kicking game and put them under pressure. Then there were cards flying everywhere.”
Fourie, the oldest member of the squad who had to play almost the entire game after an early injury to starting tackler Bongi Mbonambi, contributed to 21 of the Boks’ more than 200 tackles.
“It was tough on the body, some cramps and all that stuff. But at the end of the day we have the medal around our neck which is all that counts.”
Damian Willemse echoed the sentiments shared by the entire team. “We do this for the people of South Africa. We do it for each other. We do it for our families. People don’t really have the money, but they came here to support us.
“I’m really proud of everyone who put their bodies on the line and gave their all. That’s what we have to do to win a World Cup. It’s really special to be a part of it. I’m just very proud to be a South African.”