The curse that has been weighing so heavily on Springbok rugby for years has finally been lifted when Siya Kolisi and his teammates took the field against England at Ellis Park on Saturday.
In a cruel reminder of our past and differences in appearances and how we deal with it now, our nation’s rugby was torn to pieces once again a few weeks ago after the Ashwin Willemse-Nick Mallett-Naas Botha incident.
But before healing can truly take place, you have to be aware of the problem and you have to address it.
And with the plaster being ripped off by that incident, things could either have turned out good or bad
Luckily, England came to OUR shores and the only way we could defeat them was by standing together and truly uniting.
Entering this match, the Springbok rugby team was led by its first ever captain of colour.
The best thing about it is that he is the best man for the job – no other reason.
Then coach Rassie Erasmus announced a team that better reflects the demographics of this country. Best thing about that? Every single player that was chosen deserved to be there.
So as these guys prepped for what turned out to be one of the best Test matches in the South Africa I know – and I watched the 1995 final at the same venue – they were undoubtedly nervous.
There was something bigger to play for. There was something bigger happening than South Africa facing England at Ellis Park.
And that’s why I believe they struggled in the first quarter of the match.
The moment was perhaps too big for them.
But as they calmed down and remembered what they stand for and what they represent, they bounced back to win a match they probably would have lost in the past.
The courage that was on display – especially from klein Faf de Klerk after being hit late almost every single time he let go of the ball - the will to win, the character they showed was a character that is one with all South Africans.
We never quit. We want to win. And we want to be happy. But we need each other to do so and this Springbok team is a reminder of that.
Hats off to everyone involved.
PS: They will still lose, but these Boks are playing a bigger game than what is evident on the pitch.