Sport

RWC 2023 HOMECOMING

Capetonians throng the streets to celebrate Springboks in victory parade

Capetonians throng the streets to celebrate Springboks in victory parade
The Springboks arrive at the Grand Parade in Cape Town for the second leg of their Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour on 3 November 2023. The Springboks beat New Zealand in the final on Saturday, 28 October, winning their fourth Rugby World Cup. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

There was barely room to breathe as thousands of Springbok supporters filled the streets of Cape Town to welcome the Rugby World Cup champions on Friday.

The Cape Town leg of the Springboks’ four-day trophy tour saw thousands of passionate fans flock to the streets of the central business district.

The Springbok team, along with management and backroom staff, gathered outside the City Hall where they were greeted by a horde of fans dressed in Springbok regalia, waving South African flags and holding posters declaring their love for the players. 

Springboks in Cape Town

Springbok backline coach Mzwandile Stick, captain Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel on the Springbok bus as it makes its way around Cape Town on November 2023. (Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

“It’s an awesome feeling to be part of the experience. I never thought I’d ever be a world champion but here I am today,” said Springbok flyhalf Manie Libbok, who is still in the infancy of his national team career with just 14 caps. 

Libbok lives in Cape Town and has taken part in a trophy tour in the city before when the Stormers won the United Rugby Championship. However, that turnout pales in comparison against the jubilant and vibrant crowd out in their masses omn Friday. 

“It’s nice to see all the people coming out here today. It hits deep in my heart. [Cape Town] is a place close to my heart. The faithful always support us,” Libbok said.

“It’s awesome to see all the people; we just want to thank them for their support throughout the World Cup. It definitely gave us a massive strength.”

Another local Stormers player, Damian Willemse, who wore his match-day attire for five days after the World Cup final, changed for the tour in Cape Town.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere here in Cape Town; it’s so great to be back home. The welcome we received in South Africa, especially here, has been over the top and we really appreciate it,” said the 25-year-old, who was also part of the Boks’ 2019 World Cup winning campaign.

“The kit’s done now. It got too stinky for me, I just couldn’t wear it anymore. The celebrations were epic last night so this morning I woke up and said the kit has got to go.”

Capetonian welcome

Crowds throng the Springbok bus in Darling Street in CapeTown’s CBD during the team’s Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour on 3 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

Thousands of fans who gathered at the City Hall before 8am, waiting for the Boks’ arrival at 11am, were treated to incredible performances by DJ Ready D, Bravo Le Roux, Amy Jones, PJ Powers and many more.

The iconic PJ Powers, opened up proceedings with a rendition of the national anthem as the national team, including scrumhalf Faf de Klerk wearing his now-famous South African flag Speedo, arrived on stage. 

Cape Town Executive Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, presented hooker Bongi Mbonambi with a green T-shirt with the words “wenkant” printed on it — a tongue-in-cheek gesture given the happenings of the Rugby World Cup semifinal clash against England.

Spectators followed in their droves as the tour bus made its way down Adderley Street, Wale Street, Long Street, Buitensingel and Loop Street in the CBD.

Pride in the Springboks

Springboks in Cape Town

One of the thousands of fans who gathered in Cape Town to cheer the Springboks.(Photo: Kyra Wilkinson)

Warren Botha, from Mitchells Plain, who has been a rugby fanatic for more than 20 years, said he had attended Cape Town parades before to celebrate previous trophy tours.

“I am here with my brother Randall. We’ve been at the parade before celebrating the past World Cups. This means more than just a trophy to me and my family. I haven’t felt such a togetherness in years,” he said. 

He said he believed his fellow South Africans all shared the same feeling. “I am so proud of this nation and the players that worked so hard at the tournament to ignite unity and pride within all citizens of this country,” he said.

“There is no place I’d want to be more than being here in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape. This win has made the whole country celebrate glory and unforgettable experiences. 

“I can’t believe I have lived another four years to see the Springboks lift yet another trophy.”

An ecstatic Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews, who is a former Springbok prop himself, said the city was beaming with pride to host the world champions. “I am one of 60 million South Africans that are standing here full of pride, just how the team conducted themselves on and off the field. Not just for the past four weeks but the past four years in preparation for the tournament.” 

“The City of Cape Town of course is one of the event capitals in the African continent, and this trophy parade highlights what we can do, who we are, our diversity and the amazing infrastructure. This is a continuation of our commitment to support the sports sector.” DM

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