Photo Essay: 2019 Rugby World Cup

#StandTogether – South Africa ignited in celebration following the Bok RWC win

By Yanga Sibembe 2 November 2019

South African fans celebrate Cheslin Kolbe’s try in the Rugby World Cup Final against England at the Pirates Sports and Rugby Club in Greenside. (Photo: Yanga Sibembe)

From Khayelitsha to Roodepoort to Pretoria to Japan, South Africans from all walks of life came out in their numbers to support the Springboks in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. And with 57 million South Africans willing the Boks to bring the Webb Ellis Cup home, the boys did not disappoint, beating England 32-12.

The raw action may have taken place in Japan, but back home in South Africa, a tide of euphoria washed through the country as the Springboks emerged as 32-12 victors against England in the Rugby World Cup final at the Yokohama Stadium.

Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts the Webb Ellis Cup following his team’s victory against England in the Rugby World Cup 2019 final between England and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on 2 November 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images)
An excited fan sits on the edge of his seat during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final. He watched the game at the Hope Exchange in Cape Town where screens were set up for the homeless. (Photo: Sandisiwe Shoba)

Today, the atmosphere and the people have been absolutely brilliant. We’ve got it. We’re bringing it home. No one was sure we could do it, but we’re bringing it home.”

These were the words of an elated, somewhat tipsy 52-year-old Alan King.

He was one of hundreds of people who gathered at the Pirates Sports and Rugby Club in Greenside, which at times resembled a volcano spewing green lava.

A South African fan cheers during the  Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa played in Japan, on a big-screen broadcast in a Bellville, Cape Town shopping centre.  (Photo: EPA-EFE / STR)
Rugby supporters came out in numbers to watch the Rugby World Cup 2019 final at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)

There were three seismic eruptions felt around Greenside during the 80 minutes that the game was played.

The first happened from the 29th minute to the 34th minute when the South African tryline was under siege from England.

Each tackle by a Springbok player to fend off the English was met by massive cheers. There was a thunderous roar as South Africa defended their territory, although they conceded a penalty in process.

Springboks supporters climb on top of a law enforcement bakkie in Long Street, Cape Town as they celebrate South Africa’s win in the Rugby World Cup on 2 November 2019. (Photo: Anso Thom)
The Boks had some support from home at the Yokohama International Stadium before the Rugby World Cup 2019 final between England and South Africa. (Photo: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images)

But three England points from the resultant kick at goals seemed like a small dent, and the Bok supporters remained happy.

Then there was a sustained tremor that lasted for about three minutes.

It began when Owen Farrell missed a penalty in the 54th minute, when it seemed as if the momentum might be swinging England’s way.

Springbok supporters celebrate during the Rugby World Cup 2019 final at Nelson Mandela Square, Johannesburg. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)
Some were overcome with emotion at the final whistle. (Photo: EPA-EFE / STR)

Then right after that sequence, Makazole Mapimpi won an aerial duel. Another reverberation.

In the 57th minute, the magical boot of Handre Pollard put the Springboks nine points clear, the score reading 18-9.

However, the volcano spewed green lava throughout the club when Mapimpi touched down for a try after some great interplay with Lukhanyo Am.

South African fans watch the final at a bar in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. (Photo: EPA-EFE / STR)
Vusi Mngomezulu, right, met Nic Meyers at Bossa Pub and Grill before the match. Mngomezulu says the Springboks did something more than winning the trophy — they brought people together. ‘It just proves that as a nation we can be one,’ Mngomezulu said. ‘I gained a friend during the game.’ (Photo: Chanel Retief)

That’s when South Africans knew that their third Rugby World Cup was in the bag. Beer rained from the sky, people screamed until they were hoarse, there were a few tears rolling down cheeks and sounds of Shosholoza rang out. It was a great display of passion.

A Springbok fan wears a makaraba at the Pirates Sports and Rugby Club in Greenside, Joburg. (Photo: Yanga Sibembe)
People gather on Long Street, Cape Town, to celebrate South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup. (Photo: Anso Thom)

I’m pretty excited that we won, I’m not going to lie. I never thought it was going to happen. It was pretty touch and go for a while. I think it’s good.

We haven’t won anything, sporting-wise, in a long time. So, I think it’s nice that we’ve got something positive to think of in a time that’s quite negative” said 25-year-old Mpho Aphane, who was watching the match with her friends.

Rugby supporters celebrate at Nelson Mandela Square. (Photo: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images)
Fans at Zwide Stadium, Port Elizabeth during the final. (Photo: Estelle Ellis)
Bok supporters celebrate at Zwide Stadium. (Photo: Estelle Ellis)

Yusuke Kurioka, a 37-year-old Japanese living in South Africa, told Daily Maverick that despite being Japanese, he had supported South Africa throughout the tournament. He said even when the Boks played against Japan, he was rooting for his adopted country.

Supporters gather on the balcony of Beerhouse on Long Street, Cape Town, after the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup 2019. (Photo: Anso Thom)
The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, centre left, and Japanese Crown Prince Akishino, centre right, look on during the Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the Yokohama stadium. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Frank Robichon)

Said 43-year-old Jane Hunt:

I remember where was I was during the 1995 World Cup, I remember where I was for every World Cup since, and today is the best. I’m over the moon and this is amazing. I even got my Australian husband to wear a Springbok rugby jersey today, so I’m very happy.”

Cheslin Kolbe of South Africa with his daughter Kylah, after the final. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Franck Robichon)
Springbok and England players react after the Rugby World Cup final . (Photo: EPA-EFE / Franck Robichon)
South African captain Siya Kolisi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hold the cup as the team celebrates winning the Rugby World Cup final. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Mark R Cristino)

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