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Rassie Erasmus delivered a moving and emotional speech in the wake of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup win, describing the “privilege”, not the burden, of providing hope and unity to a nation that continues to bear the scars of its divided past.
The Springboks saved their best performance of the tournament until last to blow away favourites England in Saturday’s final, winning 32-12 in Yokohama.
South Africa dominated proceedings throughout and never looked like relinquishing their lead after pulling ahead in the early stages of the match. After Handre Pollard’s composed kicking placed the side in the ascent, late tries from wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe made sure of the win.
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Against a backdrop of continuing racial tensions and inequality in South Africa, the Springboks’ latest victory in the competition – one spearheaded by Siya Kolisi, the country’s first black captain – marks another defining moment for the post-apartheid nation.
As he reflected upon what South Africa had achieved, and how they had handled the weight of expectation hanging over them ahead of the tournament, Erasmus offered a touching insight into how his men had drawn inspiration from their backgrounds and the lives of their fans to turn the notion of “pressure” on its head.
“[Before the tournament] We started talking about what is pressure,” said Erasmus. “In South Africa pressure is not having a job. Pressure is
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