Stormers star Damian Willemse cut a visibly convivial figure on Friday as he, together with his teammates celebrated winning the United Rugby Championship (URC) with the people of Cape Town.
Willemse, who has played over 50 times for the Stormers, emerged as an elixir in the midfield, establishing himself as sturdy, hard-working No 12.
The 24-year-old, like several of his teammates had to put the bubbly on hold as focus shifted to national obligations with the Springboks.
That hasn't taken away that winning feeling from the eclectic back.
"It's amazing [winning the title]," Willemse said on Friday, wearing a broad smile.
"We knew how much this win would mean, not only for us but for the people of Cape Town. And the rugby community.
"We've worked hard during the year and we knew we could get here."
A visibly chuffed Damian Willemse holds court outside the Cape Town City Hall. He’s all smiles as he recalls a season in which he ripped the rugby script apart & found himself settled as the 12 the Stormers never knew they needed. @Sport24news pic.twitter.com/Nyn5bJyPEm— Kamva Somdyala (@kamva_somdyala) June 24, 2022
The Paul Roos schooled Willemse boasts three major gold medals: a World Cup, British & Irish Lions series and now a URC.
When asked about his achievements at his age, his answer demonstrated the fact that he subscribes to the notion that teamwork makes the dream work.
"It's not only about me; it's a team sport. I'm just happy for the coaches and my teammates. I'm lucky to be playing with championship players and I'm really blessed in that regard, and I'm looking forward to going further with this team."
As things stand, Willemse will now have a key role to play for the Springboks as they ramp up preparations for the arduous Test season ahead.
"I'm looking forward to the international season. It's going to be a step-up from domestic rugby, so I'm going to have to work hard. I'm excited for the Tests," he said.