For the first time since 2007, South Africa welcomed the Rugby World Cup trophy on its territory. The Springboks returned home on Tuesday.
The OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg had been filled with a huge crowd long before the national heroes started to arrive. The fans had first greeted a group that included Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies, then the second group with Pieter-Steph du Toit and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot arrived. Captain Siya Kolisi and Coach Rassie Erasmus had landed shorty after 7pm and were met with even bigger enthusiasm thanks to the Webb-Ellis Cup held aloft.
Apart from their victory in the World Cup, the Springboks won the title of the ‘Team of the Year’. Erasmus was named the ‘Coach of the Year’, and Pieter-Steph du Toit – the ‘Player of the Year’.
Tomorrow, the team is to start a country-wide celebratory tour with a parade including stops in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Soweto. They will then head to Durban, East London, and Port Elizabeth with Cape Town listed as the final destination.