If ever there was a demonstration of why sport is so much more than what goes down on the field, Siya Kolisi’s speech after winning the Rugby World Cup was it.
The South African star, the first black man to captain the Sprinboks, became the first black man to hoist the Webb Ellis trophy as leader of the winning team.
Kolisi’s dedicated the victory to the people of South Africa, thanking them for their support throughout and openly hoping it might spark greater things for the country.
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“We have so many problems in our country but a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races but we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it,” he said after the match.
“I really hope we’ve done that for South Africa. Just shows that we can pull together if we want to achieve something.
#Springboks captain Siya Kolisi:— James Nalton (@JDNalton) November 2, 2019
“We appreciate all the support. People in the taverns, in the shebeens, farms, homeless people and people in the rural areas. We love you South Africa and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.” 🇿🇦 #RWC19 pic.twitter.com/ZBuRBke6Ek
“Since I’ve been alive, I’ve never seen South Africa like this.
“That’s what we wanted to do today and we really appreciate all the support.
“People in the taverns, people in farms and homeless people and people in rural areas. Thank you so much; we appreciate all the support.
“We love you South Africa, and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.”
Kolisi’s words resonated around the rugby world, with many fans praising him for his openness.
So many rugby experts on here now 🤦♂️ I thought England were fantastic in this tournament, just one bad day at the office, it can happen. Siya Kolisi seems like an absolute diamond of a human so good for him and South Africa 👍🏼— Jamie Chestney (@JamieChestney) November 2, 2019
Everything I’ve read and seen about him today has made me cry. That just finished me. Incredible, inspiring, glorious man. #SiyaKolisi— Liz Jarvis (@LizJarvisUK) November 2, 2019
Fantastic speech, from a great captain!— Dan Rosewarne (@RosewarneDan) November 2, 2019
Siya Kolisi is an example of Mandela's unifying spirit! https://t.co/CqyO62iNmV
England dragged for ‘childish’ act
The English rugby team has been roundly criticised on social media in the wake of their Rugby World Cup final loss to South Africa, after players took off their runners-up medals shortly after they were presented.
Accusations of poor sportsmanship came from all corners as several players removed their medals, with flanker Maro Itoje refusing to put the medal on his neck at all.
Kyle Sinckler, who was ruled out of the game just three minutes into the first half after a sickening collision, allowed the medal to be placed around his neck before immediately removing it.