The accolades keep coming for the Springboks – South Africa’s Men’s Rugby Team – named World Team of the Year at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin after winning Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
Led by their first black captain Siya Kolisi, the Springboks beat England in the final to win their third Rugby World Cup, a feat only matched by the All Blacks.
It was a massively symbolic win for South Africa which brought together all the communities in the country.
Kolisi’s team became the third Springbok side to win the World Cup following the 1995 and 2007 vintages and they joined the All Blacks as three-time winners of the Webb Ellis Cup.
It’s the second time the Boks have picked up the prestigious Laureus gong in the 20-year history of the awards, which has grown into the “Oscars” of sports thanks to the endorsement of Nelson Mandela as the first patron of the event.
The 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok team was honoured with the same award at the 2008 Laureus ceremony.
The 2020 Laureus win though, had more resonance as Siya Kolisi took to the stage in Berlin to accept the award from fellow South African and Laureus founder Johann Rupert
The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports along with sporting achievements throughout the year. It was established in 1999 by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation founding patrons Daimler and Richemont and supported by its global partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen.
The awards support the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which supports over 100 community projects in around 40 countries.
The other massively symbolic South African rugby story can be seen in the film Invictus that tells the inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country.
Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa’s underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match.
This was the first in which South Africa was readmitted to international competition after an apartheid-era boycott.