Springboks’ Nelson Mandela Bay trophy tour

World Rugby Coach of the Year award winner Rassie Erasmus of South Africa (R) and Team of the Year award winner Siya Kolisi of South Africa (L) pose with the trophies following the World Rugby Awards 2019 ceremony in Tokyo on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)
World Rugby Coach of the Year award winner Rassie Erasmus of South Africa (R) and Team of the Year award winner Siya Kolisi of South Africa (L) pose with the trophies following the World Rugby Awards 2019 ceremony in Tokyo on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)
Image: KAZUHIRO NOGI

Make a noise for our boys!

That is the call from EP rugby general manager Thando Manana to Nelson Mandela Bay residents when the victorious Springboks bring the Webb Ellis Cup to the area on Sunday as part of a countrywide tour.

SA Rugby Union spokesperson Andy Colquhoun has confirmed that the Boks — who convincingly trounced England in a nail-biting 32-12 Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama on Saturday — will be visiting the Bay.

The team, captained by our  own Siya Kolisi, will spend five days  touring SA to allow excited Bok supporters a glimpse of the coveted trophy. . 

They arrive in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night and will visit New Brighton, Kwazakhele, Zwide, Motherwell and Uitenhage, with the final stop at Greenacres on Sunday.

“I am imagining it entering New Brighton and the biggest noise would be in Zwide, where people see Siya as not only a captain but a unifier,” Manana said.

“Most especially for the township children, who will have the memory of Siya lifting the trophy for a lifetime.” 

Manana said that for him, Saturday’s win was by far the most exciting of the Springboks’ three World Cup wins.

“This one talks about many things.

“It talks about a leader who grabbed opportunities and everyone supported them  — black, white, coloured and Indian,” he said.

Jokingly, Manana said: “It’s a Sunday [when the team will be here], it’s a church day — but I see [the] church [service]  being a little shorter that day.

“It’s [Bok tour] not a long itinerary, but it gives people a chance to see that trophy, not just on their 55- inch screens.

“The Springboks have enjoyed a lot of support, especially in this part of the world.

“I'm excited to know the cup will sleep here on Saturday night.

“I would encourage residents to give their support and remember [assistant coach Mzwandile] Stick is also from Port Elizabeth and [coach] Rassie [Erasmus] is from Despatch.

“Who would have thought the World-Cup-winning coach would come from a little town called Despatch?

“And Siya’s story is a movie waiting to be written. We should be making a noise,” he said.

The unifier Manana talks of was evident over the weekend, with Kolisi making reference to it on more than one occasion.

Kolisi, who in 2018 became the first black Test skipper of the team after 127 years of whites captaining the Boks, said racial unity sparked the success in Yokohama, Japan.

“We have so many problems in our country and this team comes from different backgrounds, different races, but we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it,” he said.

“I really hope we’ve done that for SA. It just shows that we can pull together if we want to achieve something.”

Kolisi said the Springboks had received countless messages from home as the nation rallied behind the team.

“Since I’ve been alive, I’ve never seen SA like this,” he said.

“Thank you so much. We love you SA and we can achieve anything if we work together as one.”

The trophy tour starts in Pretoria on Thursday, and moves to Johannesburg and Soweto, then on to Durban on Friday, East London on Saturday and finally Cape Town on Monday.

Port Elizabeth resident Craig Smith, 22, of Rowallan Park, said he was very proud of the Boks and they had deserved the win.

“I am excited about seeing them here in Port Elizabeth and will try to get a photo with them and the cup,” he said.

For Conrad Prins, 28, of Gelvandale, the highlight of the Bok tour will be the chance residents get to interact with their heroes.

“I was hoping New Zealand would have played against the Boks, but we won and that is awesome.

“I am happy they [Boks] will be here so that we can show them our support and see them in real life.”

It is no easy task taking care of the precious trophy, with numerous rules attached as to who can touch the trophy and how it will be safeguarded.

For example, only the squad and authorised officials may touch it.

And while the team can touch it with their bare hands, others handling the trophy must wear gloves.

SA Rugby will also insure the trophy for ₤30,000 (about R583,000) and it will be accompanied by security guards whenever it is in public.

It must be safely locked away in a safe at night. — Additional reporting AFP

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