WATCH | 'Play your hearts out' - Ramaphosa speaks to Springboks in Japan ahead of RWC Final

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the Springboks in Japan.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the Springboks in Japan.

“Go Bokke!”

This was the message President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the Springbok team in Japan ahead of their final match against England on Saturday at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

On Friday, Ramaphosa was seen kitted out in a number 6 jersey, to mirror that of captain Siya Kolisi, as he boarded a plane headed to Japan to support the Springboks.

The president shared a video on Twitter of himself addressing the team.

He assured the Bokke they had no reason to be nervous.

“This is a moment to look back on and say ‘wow’. You have travelled an unbelievable journey to get to the final. Many did not believe you would get to where you are, to the final. Many did not believe you would get to this moment of destiny,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that the team’s performance during the tournament had boosted morale in South Africa.

“You have lifted the entire country. You have lifted everyone … and now we want you to do your very best … Go out there and just be yourselves. Forget nervousness and just know that we expect for you to give your everything – for yourself and for your country,” he said.

“The country is waiting for you. Everyone at home is behind you.”

Ramaphosa also joked about how even members of parliament had been able to set aside their political differences in support of the team. On Thursday, Ramaphosa also wished the Springboks well before he answered questions in the National Assembly.

In his address to the team, Ramaphosa added that South Africa had been lucky to have the opportunity to “lift the Webb Ellis” three times. The team won the previous two finals in which they competed - in 1995 against the All Blacks and 2007 against England. 

“We are really, really proud of you. You’ve put our country on the world map. This is the moment you’ve created for us and we thank you for what you’ve done … Go out on that pitch and play your hearts out. Play the best game you ever have. Anything else is just a bonus.”

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