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(YOKOHAMA, Japan) — Siya Kolisi grabbed the Webb Ellis Cup, gave it a kiss and hoisted it high as fireworks exploded and his teammates — black and white — rejoiced behind him.
A blowout victory in the Rugby World Cup final for the Springboks.
Yet another transcendent moment for post-apartheid South Africa.
Led by the first black captain in the Springboks’ 128-year rugby history, South Africa’s multiracial squad swept to a record-tying third World Cup title by overpowering England in a 32-12 victory on Saturday.
“We have so many problems in our country,” the 28-year-old Kolisi said. “A team like this — we come from different backgrounds, different races — came together with one goal.”
Among the post-match celebrations was the poignant sight of Kolisi being joined on the winner’s podium by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was wearing a Springboks jersey with No. 6 on the back — the number worn by the captain.
It evoked memories of South Africa’s first World Cup triumph in 1995 and Nelson Mandela — the country’s president at the time — wearing the No. 6 jersey as he handed the World Cup trophy to captain and backrower Francois Pienaar.
Kolisi thanked the South African people on the farms, in the taverns, in the townships and in the streets.
“We love you, South Africa,” an emotional Kolisi said, “and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.”
Kolisi was shaking with adrenalin as he belted out the national anthem before kickoff in Yokohama and was then at the heart of a massive effort by the Boks forwards, who brutalized England with their traditional power at the set piece to seize control of the game. He made m
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