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South Africa beat England to win the Rugby World Cup
South Africa beat England to win the Rugby World Cup
South Africa coach Jake White hailed the World Cup win as a massive boost for the Rainbow Nation.

The Springboks edged England 15-6 with four penalties from Percy Montgomery and one from Francois Steyn to two from England's Jonny Wilkinson.

"It's important for our country and I think everyone back home is rejoicing," said White. "It's unbelievable.

"To see the president of our country sitting on the players' shoulders, it doesn't get much better than that."

South Africa also won the World Cup on home soil in 1995, when the then president Nelson Mandela wore the number six shirt of captain Francois Pienaar, and White said he hoped this victory would play a similar part in uniting his country.

I hope this creates a scenario that binds everyone together and we start forgetting about counting numbers and colours

Springbok captain John Smit

"People ask why we take the World Cup so seriously. It's much bigger than any other event, what it did to us as a nation," he said.

"We've now won a World Cup away from home. We had our president sitting in the changing room. He was saying how proud he was of being a South African."

Springbok skipper John Smit added: "We have had the responsibility of carrying the hopes of a nation on our shoulders and now we have a team that is taking the trophy back home to the nation.

South Africa president Thabo Mbeki celebrates in Paris
South Africa president Thabo Mbeki celebrates in Paris

"I certainly hope that being able to lift this cup and take it back home can create a scenario that everyone binds together and we start forgetting about counting numbers and colours."

Smit was also keen to dedicate the win to the long-suffering South Africa fans.

"This is for all of you. Thank you very much for all your support, even in bad times," he said.

"I'm sitting here and trying not to cry. It's a feeling you can't put into words.

"Twelve years ago, I sat watching the final at Ellis Park and wondered whether it was possible to do it again. Dreams come true.

"It was a colossal game, but to be able to win a World Cup, I think I'll only realise in a couple of days' time."

People talk about pride, passion and teamwork, and England have proved they will not go out without a fight

South Africa coach Jake White

White said England deserved credit even for reaching the final in Paris, following their 36-0 mauling by his side in the group stages.

"I think it would be wrong not to compliment England," he added.

"People wrote them off. People talk about pride, passion and teamwork, and they have proved they will not go out without a fight.

"They gave everything they had, but winning back-to-back World Cups is always difficult.

"It just shows how important defence is. They were a bit unlucky not to get a try but we showed a bit of attitude on the line.

"We were defending so well and we never really felt that they were asking questions of our line.

606: DEBATE
Flabby Alonso

"When we were two scores ahead and we turned their line-out over, we knew they would have to chase it. We slowed the game down and we have learned that over the past four years."

Lock Victor Matfield, who won the man-of-the-match award for an outstanding display in the line-out, hailed an emotional victory.

"This is awesome. We worked for four years for this. We knew we were going to have to take it to England up front," he said.

"The emotions are greater than I ever thought. I can't wait to get back home. I can't wait to see all the South Africans."

Star winger Bryan Habana was unconcerned about failing to add to his tally of tries in a tight match.

"I just wanted to help the team effort," he said.

"Everyone in the squad made a contribution from number one to number 30. Every player who's represented the country in the last four years made a contribution.

"(The 1995 victory) planted the seed that made me want to be a part of this great game."

  • Veteran Springbok prop Os du Randt, 35, the only survivor in the side from the victorious 1995 team, confirmed his retirement after the game. Du Randt bowed out with 80 caps to his name.

    "I don't remember the first one, it's too long ago," he said, "but I'm still enjoying this one. It's definitely good to win.

    "I think all the guys put the hard work in and it's just great to be out here."

  • SEE ALSO
    England 6-15 South Africa
    20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    Ashton proud of defeated England
    20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union
    World Cup final photos
    20 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union


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