South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and thousands of other rugby fans braved the early morning chill to celebrate the exploits of their national team, the Springboks.
The team visited the president at the Union Buildings in Pretoria before kicking off its national trophy tour.
Led by captain Siya Kolisi, the team clinched a hard-fought 12-11 win over New Zealand in October at the World Rugby Finals in France and lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time.
Ramaphosa said the team members were national heroes for the resounding victory at the Stade de France.
“Never in the history of the Rugby World Cup has any team lifted the trophy on four occasions, until now. In doing so, you have lifted the spirits of an entire nation and filled us with pride,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa further acknowledged that the Springboks had united the country during the eight weeks the tournament was held.
The government’s platform X account reports that Ramaphosa also recognised Kolisi for overcoming significant obstacles to enter the record books.
“You never dreamed you would become a professional rugby player or end up captaining the national team. You are a testament to the power of a dream.”
The Springboks’ trophy tour includes stops in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, before wrapping things up in East London.