TOKYO, Japan, 2 November 2019 – The Springboks 32-12 victory against England today to clinch the 2019 Rugby World Cup trophy in Japan will inspire millions on the African continent.
Commenting on the teams’ success, Khaled Babbou, President of Rugby Africa, congratulated the South African Rugby Union (SARU), saying that; “The Springboks have risen to the top of World Rugby Men’s Rankings and that brings Africa back on the map of the top world rugby teams. Millions of young kids will be inspired. The enthusiastic fan base in South Africa created a vibrant Rugby festival. This is a great signal and will surely provide a boosting dynamic for South Africa and its African co-unions. Through consistency, fair play and great teamwork, the dedication and professionalism of each team member, the Springboks showed greatest rugby moments. Congratulations, SARU, and we can’t wait to see the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.”
The Boks, lifted the William Webb-Ellis trophy for a record matching 3rd time, a remarkable feat only previously achieved by New Zealand.
The African rugby community were glued to their television sets for the game – highlighting a love affair with the sport that continues to grow. The popularity of rugby on the continent is thriving and more people are taking up the game than ever before.
According to APO Group Founder and Chairman Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, player registration rates in Africa rose 66% in 2017 against a global average of 27% – with the women’s game and schools rugby seeing a particular boost in participation numbers all over Africa. APO Group’s report ‘The Incredible Rise of African Rugby’ provides further key facts and figures on how the game has developed.
Speaking from Cape Town, where he watched the final with the Springbok Supporters’ Club at the city’s official Boktown venue, Quay Four, Pompigne-Mognard said the whole of the African rugby community is behind the Springboks: “This game represents a huge moment, not just for South Africa, but for everyone in Africa who loves rugby. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and an African team winning the final helps to cement the great progress made by Rugby Africa in developing the game at a grassroots level across the continent. The Springboks win is a victory for the whole of Africa.”
APO Group became the Official Sponsor of Rugby Africa in 2017 with the goal of promoting African rugby on the continent and internationally, to support the rapid growth of the sport. Earlier this year, the two organizations extended the partnership until 2024.
On the political front, John Steenhuisen, the Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader, said that this World Cup win has come at a time when South Africa is at the edge of the precipice —a nation reeling from deep divisions and in desperate need of a renewed sense of togetherness.
“The 2019 Rugby World Cup has been a highly anticipated event for South Africans and we thank the team for once again reminding the nation that we are, indeed, #StrongerTogether and of our shared commitment to building a united and diverse South Africa.
“The Boks have reinvigorated and revived our collective pride for our young nation and have shown us what can be achieved when we all pull together to attain a common goal,” said Steenhuisen.
70,000 Rugby fans at Japans’ Yokohamahe International Stadium roared in approval as the Webb Ellis Trophy was delivered onto the pitch by the New Land Rover Defender.
Joined by a TV audience of over 90 million, the Defender – an icon reimagined for the 21st century – was the perfect accompaniment to the celebrations that followed a dramatic final. With its distinctive silhouette, no one was in doubt that this was the New Land Rover Defender.
Retired New Zealand rugby union player, Richie McCaw proudly held the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft out of the roof of the New Defender before handing it over to World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“It was a huge honour to be a part of the celebrations here in Japan tonight. I would like to congratulate South Africa on their win. Being in this iconic New Land Rover Defender, in front of the crowds and carrying the Webb Ellis Trophy was something I will never forget. Throughout this tournament, the South Africa side have shown they are unstoppable, incomparable, tough and, crucially, capable of great things – all qualities shared with this fantastic New Defender,” said McCaw.
The trophy delivery moment capped a successful partnership between Rugby World Cup and Land Rover, celebrating the grass-roots rugby through the ‘What makes rugby, rugby’ campaign. It included 96 Land Rover mascots from the global rugby community meeting their heroes.