You can call them the Springboks, Amabokoboko or the Bokke! South Africa have shown true grit and determination to bring home the William Web Ellis trophy once more at rugby’s biggest world stage. This marks the fourth time our boys in green and gold have claimed the Rugby World Cup title. Setting themselves, and our country apart as the only team to have achieved this feat.
How did we even get here? The Springboks, although current world champions at the time, were not favorites for the tournament. To drive a little belief and hope in the Bokke – Betway even offered fans up to R1,000 risk-free should they bet on the Springboks to win the event. We all expected the northern hemisphere powerhouses Ireland and home favorites France to dominate the tournament. So, what happened?
SPRINGBOKS SURVIVE THE GROUP OF DEATH
First things first, World Rugby would do well to revise their current plan surrounding selections for the group stage matches at the next World Cup. The outdated rankings pitted both Ireland, Scotland and South Africa against each other in one of the toughest groups in history. Despite a hard-fought loss to Ireland, South Africa proved itself and proceeded into the knockouts.
This period did not come without drama though. The loss of Malcom Marx and Makazole Mapimipi were massive blows and required the rest of the team to step up and prove themselves.
A TOURNAMENT OF INCHES
I’m sure if we could find a mirror into South Africa’s past three weeks, we’d see fans go grey, visibly age and lose literal years of their life to stress. All due to watching South Africa sneak past France and England by a single point each to make it to the World Cup final.
We fans were lucky to witness never-to-be-repeated World Cup Rugby moments during the knockout stages. Cheslin Kolbe’s lightning-fast charge down against France, Damien Willemse and the infamous scrum mark, Own Farrell’s terrifying drop goal and so many more memorable, nail-biting moments. In the end though, it was the old rivals that came head-to-head – South Africa versus New Zealand.
A RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL TO REMEMBER
South Africa clattered into the New Zealand line to kick-off the Rugby World Cup final and dominated the first half, racking up 12 points off the immaculate boot of Handre Pollard. Outside of this performance, the match was pure chaos, held together as best as possible by referee Wayne Barnes. We saw Sam Cane go off for a red card for a high-tackle with head contact against Jesse Kriel, with 3 other players sin-binned during the game including both the SA captain Siya Kolisi and Cheslin Kolbe.
During the second half New Zealand, with 14 men, fought back tooth and nail and had every South African fan covering their eyes at home as Beauden Barrett scored the only try in the game in the Boks left corner – setting up a tense closing 20 minutes.
It was not to be however, let down by a few missed kicks off the boot, New Zealand were unable to come back against South Africa, who in a strange twist of fate, made it another 1-point win to close out the tournament.
After the celebrations and the iconic photos of the SA squad lifting the trophy, after watching Cheslin cry and Trevor Nyakane dance for joy, we got to hear Siya’s words. “People who are not from South Africa don’t understand what it means for our country. It is not just about the game. Our country goes through such a lot,” he said. “I want to tell the people of South Africa, ‘Thank you so much’. This team just shows what you can do.”
WE’LL BE CELEBRATING FOR THE NEXT 4 YEARS
In the end, SA fans have been celebrating into the week. We greeted our heroes at OR Tambo with innumerable fans welcoming them, and Betway paid out a massive R21.9 million to fans who knew in their heart-of-hearts that we’d be bringing the trophy home. Below is how Betway Users bet on the Springboks as well as who they backed to win the World Cup with Outright Bets:
This Rugby World Cup journey has reignited a passion for the sport across the country, and we’re all excited to track the South African teams as they clash in the URC. We’re excited to see where our Springbok heroes all go after a well-earned break. If you’re as excited as we are about the future of rugby, make sure to bet on the action at www.betway.co.za