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Key quotes from Cyril Ramaphosa’s Union Buildings address to the Springboks

'You have lifted the spirit of the country'

08 November 2019 - 10:03 By Unathi Nkanjeni

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday welcomed the Rugby World Cup winners to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The visit by the national team marked the start of the Springboks' national tour with the Webb Ellis Cup.

Here key quotes from Ramaphosa’s address

Shaking like a leaf

“Before the match, I went to meet the team and say a few words. Before I did so, I asked them how they were feeling. [Springboks' captain] Siya [Kolisi] said he was nervous, [coach] Rassie [Erasmus] said he was shaking like a leaf, and many other players said they had nerves but I knew they were lying to me.”

Victory in their eyes

“They were telling me lies because as I shook their hands and looked at them, I just saw victory written all over their eyes. They are true champions, and with this victory, we are the first team to win the Rugby World Cup in three continents — Africa, Europe and Asia. No others have done this.”


“We were going into that match as underdogs. Everybody thought the English team would win. It was good that we went into that match as underdogs, when everybody undermines us and didn’t think we would win.”

Contributing to nation-building

“Everything that can contribute to nation-building and social cohesion must be utilised by all of us as South Africans. They’ve been at war, they won and they brought the world cup back to SA where it belongs.”

Siya Kolisi as president 

“What I am pleased about is that we are not about to hold an election. If we were about to hold an election, I have no doubt  the entire rugby team would be in parliament and in cabinet. Kolisi would have been the president and Erasmus would be the minister of finance.”

Lifting the spirit of the country

“You have helped unite the country and you have lifted the spirit of the country. Thank you for having done so. You have consolidated the unity of the nation and we want to savour this moment. We thank you for being the catalyst to ensure we can continue to build our nation.”