And another one! The Springboks have done it again, taking our breath away in spectacular fashion and reminding us all of their all-time great status by, this time, bagging the prestigious Laureus Team of the Year Award at a ceremony in Berlin on Monday.
The Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks pipped an illustrious list of top international sporting teams to lift the award in the German capital. It is the second time the Springboks have won the Laureus accolade, with John Smit’s 2007 Rugby World Cup team awarded the prize following their then-passage to the top of world rugby.
The other teams in contention for the team prize were Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool team, who are the reigning Champions League champions; the US Women’s Football Team, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup winners and Mercedes-AMG Petronas, after they won the Formula One constructors’ title at the back of incredible season in 2019.
Rounding up the competition on the night was the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian team to claim the NBA Championship, and the Spanish Men’s Basketball team, who last year claimed the FIBA Basketball World Cup. But it was the Springboks who would be immortalised on the night, as they were on that evening in Yokohama, Japan when they lifted the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time in history.
Captain Siya Kolisi, led six of his team’s members on stage to receive the accolade, and again took the opportunity to applaud South Africa and its diverse communities, which backed the Boks from game one all the way to the final. In a post-awards speech, Kolisi spoke volumes of the impact of sport in South Africa and noted that it had the ability to change the world.
We inspired a lot of kids to live their dreams. Now a kid from the township, who can’t afford school shoes, who walks to school and doesn’t eat each and every single day, can stand here and be a Rugby World Cup-winning captain,” said Kolisi in his moving speech.
“…We [the team] came together because of the game that we love, rugby. We came together because we had one goal, and we fought so hard for each other because our country at the time was going through such a difficult period, with gender-based violence and xenophobia. And our main goal was to make sure that we come together and do the best that we can in the sport that we love, and we gave everything that we could.”