C’est magnifique, Springboks!

Bok captain John Smit (File)
Bok captain John Smit (File)
Cape Town - Since the euphoria of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks had to travel on some rough roads before realising that the Parisian streets were paved with gold in 2007.

WIN: Tickets to watch the Springboks!

Following the 1995 triumph the Boks came painstakingly close to reaching only their second final in the global showpiece when they were beaten by eventual champions Australia in the semi-final at Twickenham at the 1999 edition.

The next four years, however, proved to be the most trying as they fell into a steady decline which culminated in their poorest showing at the World Cup.

Where they had gone unbeaten during the pool stages in their two previous campaigns, they suffered a defeat to England before they got knocked out by New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

Like all South African supporters, Vodacom, the Official Telecoms Partner to the Springboks continued its loyal support for the national side.

It is always darkest before the dawn, and the appointment of Jake White as the Springbok coach ushered in a new era for the green and gold.

With inspiring captain John Smit leading a talented group of players into battle, the Springboks made an encouraging start of White's tenure by clinching the 2004 Tri-Nations.

Three years later the Boks were welcomed to Paris where the Eiffel Tower was lit up in green and gold, perhaps a sign of the good fortune that lay ahead.

The Springboks went unbeaten in the group stages which included a 36-0 demolition of England before they defeated Fiji and Argentina in the quarter and semi-final respectively.

It seemed predestined for the Springboks to face the defending champions England in the final in the French capital.

While the English were looking for revenge following their severe defeat during the group stages, the Springboks were defiant on the night.

It was the South Africans that were proclaimed as the C’est magnifique Springboks as they reclaimed the title with a 15-6 victory to become the second nation after Australia, to be crowned double world champions.

Twelve years since the memorable scenes of a jubilant president Nelson Mandela celebrating that famous World Cup victory, scenes from Paris saw President Thabo Mbeki wearing a replica of captain John Smit's jersey, hand over the Webb Ellis Cup to the victorious skipper.

To further emphasise South Africa's status as rugby's dominant force, the Springboks were named IRB Team of the Year and Jake White won the IRB Coach of the Year award, while wing Bryan Habana was crowned the IRB Player of the Year for 2007.

Vodacom are proud to say we were there to see the Springboks through tough times which made the celebrations even sweeter!
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