Siya Kolisi believes South Africa‘s Rugby World Cup victory shows the country that anything can be achieved if “we work together as one”.
Kolisi, the first black captain of the Springboks, lifted the Webb Ellis Cup after his side secured a 32-12 victory over England.
After the game, the flanker thanked fans for all their support and hopes his side’s efforts have inspired the nation.
“I am grateful for everything the team has been through, we have faced a lot of challenges but the people of South Africa have got behind us,” Kolisi told the host broadcaster at the conclusion of the final.
“We are so grateful for the people of South Africa. We have so many problems in our country.
“But with a team like this, we come from different backgrounds, different races and we came together with one goal and we wanted to achieve it. I really hope we have done that for South Africa.”
It is the third time South Africa have lifted the World Cup, winning the tournament previously in 2007 and, famously, 1995.
However, Kolisi says he has never seen his country like this before.
“I have never seen South Africa like this. Obviously, in 1995 what the World Cup did for us, and now, with all the challenges we have.
“The coach [Rassie Erasmus] came to us we are not playing for ourselves any more we are playing for the people back home. That’s what we wanted to do today.
“We love you South Africa. We can achieve anything if we work together as one.”