World Cup win a victory and motivation for young boys back in EC - Makazole Mapimpi

Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi is congratulated by Lukhanyo Am after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019.
Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi is congratulated by Lukhanyo Am after scoring a try during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019.
Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

Makazole Mapimpi, the first South African to score a try in a Rugby World Cup final, says the win is a huge victory and motivation for the youth of the Eastern Cape, especially his home village, Tsholomnqa. 

Mapimpi was speaking during a media briefing after landing at OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday afternoon. 

When asked how he felt after scoring the first try, the 29-year-old said: "It's amazing. I couldn't believe it all night."

Mapimpi thanked South Africa for rallying behind the team during the tournament, saying it was because of this support they were able to come home as world champions.

"There are young boys who saw what happened. I also couldn't believe that I would make it in the Springboks team and World Cup, but it was a blessing [that I made it]," the emotional winger said. 

He also thanked his family for supporting him throughout his career.

Right wing Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the second try in the final, said crossing the white line was not as easy as it looked.

He added it was exciting to win and the team was looking forward to celebrating the Webb Ellis Cup with the rest of South Africa. 

"Thank you so much for the support. We really appreciate [it] as a team and just to come back to South Africa to celebrate this moment with each and every person is humbling.

"We are back in South Africa and we all here to celebrate this moment with each and every person no matter where [they are]," Kolbe said. He added while the World Cup was now over, a lot of hard work still needed to be done for future games.

Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the victory had brought back confidence in South Africa, adding people should use it to fight and deal with all the challenges the country was facing. 

"It wasn't just rugby matches and the final, it was what they were doing to unite all of us and they did. South Africans are united. Let's use our being champions to further deal with challenges we are faced with so that our people benefit from it."

Mthethwa also called on South Africans to not be distracted by anyone spewing division in the country but should instead focus on unity and building the nation together. 

He added he had always been hopeful that the Boks would bring the trophy back home, saying he saw this in the way they were united while playing.

"When I watched them, I saw that each of them were playing for each other so that at the end, they could win the World Cup and that is exactly what they did." 

Mthethwa said other national sporting codes could learn a lot from coach Rassie Erasmus who led the team to victory.

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