What a historic Rugby World Cup it was, the first World Cup to be hosted on the Asian continent.
World Rugby took a gamble hosting the World Cup in Asia and it paid off with Japan becoming welcoming hosts and embracing the rugby culture.
This was also the first time matches had been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions caused by typhoon Hagibis. Despite these challenges many have said that it was the most well organised Rugby World Cup to date.
Now that the dust has settled, let us reflect on what the Springboks have achieved on the global stage and at Rugby World Cup 2019.
What do the numbers tell us?
1 – The world champion Springboks finished Rugby World Cup 2019 as world number 1 and also topped off their campaign by scoring the most points, 262 in total in the tournament.
2 – The number of Rugby World Cup winner’s medals won by veteran Frans Steyn. Os du Randt is the only other Springbok to receive 2 winners’ medals.
3 – The number of Rugby World Cup titles won by the Springboks which is equal with the All Blacks.
4 – The number of offloads made by the Springboks in the Final, even though England created three times as many offloads, the Springboks made their offloads count.
5 – The Springboks have reached the Semi Finals or further on 5 occasions out of 7 Rugby World Cups that they have competed in.
6 – The shirt number worn by inspirational Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. What a symbolic moment it was when Kolisi became the first black South African captain to hoist the Rugby World Cup trophy just as number 6 Francois Pienaar had done when the Springboks won their first title in 1995.
7 – The number worn by Pieter Steph du Toit, this year’s World Rugby Player of the Year. Du Toit was an absolute machine during the World Cup making 61 tackles, the most by a Springbok player.
8 – The number of substitutes on match day that were used by the Springboks to great effect throughout the World Cup. They became well known as the “bomb squad”.
– Another mention must go to eighth man Duane Vermuelen who was the Man of the Match in the Rugby World Cup final.
9 – The Springboks utilised their 3 scrum halves to great affect during the World Cup. Faf de Klerk was the go to scrum half during the Rugby World Cup however; Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach were brilliant impact players when they were on the field, with Reinach even managing to score the quickest hat trick of tries in a Rugby World Cup.
10 – Handre Pollard, SA’s fly half ensured that the scoreboard kept ticking over on his way to scoring the most points at the Rugby World Cup, 69 points in total which consisted of the most penalties at 16 and 9 conversions and 1 drop goal.
11 – Winger and try scoring magnate Makazole Mapimpi finished with 6 tries in the Rugby World Cup, the most by a Springbok. Mapimpi became the first Springbok player to score a try in a Rugby World Cup final.
12 – South Africa has won the Rugby World Cup every 12 years since 1995.
13 – Outside centre Lukhanyo Am, the general in the backlines defensive structures was integral in creating the first Springbok try in the final.
14 – Elton Jantjies took 14 conversions, the most for a Springbok at this year’s Rugby World Cup; this is an incredible stat considering that he only played 2 matches.
– Another mention must go to winger Cheslin Kolbe whom was one of South Africa’s most exciting players at the World Cup. He ended his campaign with 3 tries and was also nominated for World Rugby’s Player of the Year.
15 – The number 15 goes to all 15 Springbok players on the pitch at any given time during the Rugby World Cup whom contributed to their successful campaign including the impacting “bomb squad” players.
Included in this group are also coach Rassie Erasmus and his coaching staff. The Springboks embraced their #StrongerTogether mentality throughout their campaign; this is why they succeeded against all odds considering where they were 2 years ago.