Ramaphosa salutes Boks

JOHANNESBURG. — South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has tweeted his congratulations to the Springboks following their historic victory over the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship in Wellington, New Zealand, on Saturday.

Rassie Erasmus’ Boks beat their fiercest rivals 36-34 for their first win in New Zealand since 2009.

Ramaphosa wrote: “A job very well done by our Springboks for the fierce fight and victory against the tough All Blacks. The determination you demonstrated today, away from home, is beyond fulfilling. Our team showed true character from start to finish. Continue to fly the flag, you make us proud.”

The win also kept alive the Boks hopes of a first ever Rugby Championship victory after they closed the gap to six points with two matches to play.

The Boks welcome the Wallabies to Port Elizabeth on September 29 for their next match, and will face the All Blacks in Pretoria a week later.

Meanwhile, when the final whistle blew at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, South Africa had beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time since 2009.

It was a statistic that had haunted the Springboks for nearly a decade, but after a monumental defensive effort, the Boks finally have one over the “old foe”.

It was also coach Erasmus’ first match against the All Blacks as Bok coach, and he has already achieved something that Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee could not achieve during their respective tenures.

The last Springbok coach to win in New Zealand before Saturday’s result was Peter de Villiers – who won in Hamilton in 2009 and Dunedin in 2008 – and beat the All Blacks in five of 11 matches in total.

At the end of Saturday’s epic encounter, De Villiers, who is now the coach of the Zimbabwe national team, congratulated the Bok class of 2018.

De Villiers congratulated Kolisi, adding that”this is a great day I share with you as I know the feeling of victory in New Zealand”.

De Villiers coached the Boks between 2008 to 2011 when the team was knocked out of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in New Zealand by Australia in his final match in charge.

And New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen says the All Blacks will learn from Saturday’s shock Rugby Championship loss to South Africa and will become a better team because of it.

While many hailed the Springboks’ victory as a positive result for world rugby, denting the All Blacks’ aura of invincibility ahead of next year’s World Cup, Hansen said the loss could make his team harder to beat in future.

South Africa entered the match as underdogs, having lost their last two matches in the Rugby Championships and their last six tests against New Zealand. The 36-34 win was their first in New Zealand in nine years.

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