South Africa's Cup win all about hope in their country

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Coach Rassie Erasmus said the side had to go through a mental shift after they lost to the All Blacks in their first game of the tournament.

 

"The first All Black game was a great test run for us in terms of handling pressure," he said.

 

"We were terrible in that week in terms of talking about things and getting tense – it was a terrible build up that told us a lot about how to play the playoffs.

 

"We were quite honest with one another about that. We started to talk a lot about what is pressure.

 

"In South Africa, pressure is not having a job, or if one of your close relatives is murdered.

 

"In South Africa there are a lot of problems, which is pressure," Erasmus said.

 

The side started talking about things like that.

 

"Rugby shouldn't be something that creates pressure; it should be something that creates hope. We have a privilege of giving hope – it's not a burden," he said.

 

"Hope is when you play well on Saturday and people watch the game and have a nice braaivleis and feel good afterwards.

 

"No matter if you've got political differences or religious differences or whatever; for those 80 minutes you agree with a lot of things you might disagree on," he said.

 

They had believed that was not a burden, it was a privilege and when you understood that it became a hell of a privilege to try and fix the wrongs.

 

Captain Siya Kolisi said the joy on the faces of his teammates when he lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy was what would stay in his memory because he knew how hard everyone in the camp had worked.

 

"The way we played was because we wanted to say thank you to our coach who came in and changed a lot – on the way that we saw rugby – and I'm really grateful that we could do this for him and the coaching staff and everyone in the management," he said.

 

Support from South Africa had also been significant and had played a role in the win.

 

 

"The videos they sent of people coming together, it was really beautiful for us to see.

 

Kolisi added that some straight talking by Erasmus at their first meeting at the start of the 2018 season had also been a factor.

 

"He said we were getting quite a lot of money and doing lots of things off the field, but we didn't make rugby the main thing.

 

"He told us straight; it has to change, the shift has to come, rugby is more important; the Springboks are more important than our personal goals and as soon as the team does well good things will come," he said.

 

People in South Africa were using their hard-earned pay to come and watch them play and wanted to see the Springboks giving of their best.

 

"Understanding that was the change of mindset and we started working hard; a lot of us got off social media to make sure we put our hearts and souls into it and we challenged each other," Kolisi said.

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