World champion Springboks hope victory will inspire nation

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YOKOHAMA –South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus expressed hope that his team’s victory in the Rugby World Cup final against England on Saturday can inspire his nation, but dismissed the notion that the Springboks were under pressure at the tournament.

“In South Africa, pressure is not having a job,” Erasmus said after the Springboks had beaten England 32-12 at International Stadium Yokohama to claim the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time, following victories in 1995 and 2007. “Pressure is one of your close relatives being murdered. In South Africa, there are a lot of problems, and we started talking about that.

“Rugby shouldn’t be something that creates pressure on you. Rugby should be something that creates hope. So we started talking about how we’ve got a privilege of giving people hope, not a burden of giving people hope.”

South Africa's head coach Rassie Erasmus lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match against England at the International Stadium Yokohama in the city on Saturday. | AFP-JIJI
South Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match against England at the International Stadium Yokohama in the city on Saturday. | AFP-JIJI

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi lifted the trophy after 22 points from the boot of standoff Handre Pollard and late tries from wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe took the Springboks past England, creating an instantly iconic image to sit alongside Nelson Mandela’s handing of the cup to then-skipper Francois Pienaar in 1995.

Kolisi became the Springboks’ first-ever black captain when Erasmus appointed him in May last year, but the 28-year-old was quick to praise the contribution of his teammates, coach and supporters after creating a new piece of history on Saturday.

“I can’t explain what I was feeling, but to see the joy in my teammates’ faces was the best thing for me,” said Kolisi. “I know how hard we’ve worked and how hard the coaches have worked. We’re really just grateful. The way we played, we wanted to say thank you to our coach, who has come in and changed a lot.

“We know how many people didn’t give us a chance, but we had to believe in each other as a team and the people around us. He kept

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