Give Springboks a hero’s welcome, government urges

South Africa's flanker Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans will put their economic woes to one side this week to come together and celebrate the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan with a series of parades around the country.

Government is urging South Africans to come out in their numbers and give the Springboks a hero’s welcome as they arrive home on Tuesday afternoon.

“The #StrongerTogether team has shown all South Africans that by working together we can overcome any challenge,” government said in a statement.

The triumphant team arrives on a series of flights during Tuesday and Wednesday with captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus expected to be among the first to land.

From Thursday to Monday, open-top bus tours will take the country’s sporting heroes through Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Thousands are expected to line streets in each city and honour the Springboks, who rewrote the history books by winning the four-yearly global competition a record-equaling third time.

President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged the positivity of the Springboks’ successful campaign in a digital message, lauding the feel-good atmosphere created by the national team.

“At a time when South Africa is experiencing profound challenges, we have rallied around the victory in Japan,” he said.

“The outpouring of support for the Springboks on the road to the final once again showed the immense potential of sport to unite us as a people.

“Saturday was a triumphant day as it confirmed what we are as a nation, firm in its resolve to find unity in its diversity, as exemplified in our national rugby team.”

– Additional reporting AFP