CapRugby World Winners South Africa. [Rugby World Cup.com]tion

It was tight. Too close to call. A rugby World Cup final that provided the most fitting of conclusions. Countless superlatives could have been used to describe it.

No one had ever won four men’s Rugby World Cup titles. But South Africa, The Springboks, Amabokoboko, did it. 12-11 was the final score and with that, the Africans just became the most dominant rugby nation on earth, for the time being. Arguably? maybe.

It has been a series of narrow victories in all three knockout games for Springboks. One-point wins over France and England in the previous two rounds was enough to see the South Africans through, but being the utilitarians they are, the end justified the means.

True masters of ending on the right side of small margins. What mattered most was the what, not how.

It was always going to be thunderous. These two fiercely rivals have been playing rugby union against each other for more than a century, but some games are bigger than others. And this was one of them. The ultimate platform where every player dreams to be.

With the Webb Ellis Cup to play for and a four-year bragging rights that come with victory at this stage, surely, there wasn’t going to be any room for blinking, errors or regrets.

The players knew it. The fans felt it. You could see it in the faces of the South African players as they belted out their national anthem; 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika (Lord, Bless Africa)'. The hunger was telling.…the eyes of the All Blacks meant business. The expectant skies made it more intense.

Millions of fans took vantage positions, just to follow the 80-minute affair. Thousands of miles away from the Stade de France, venue of the World Cup, Kenyans too, didn't want to be left out of the party.

Inside Msupa Lounge in Githurai 45, veteran reggae DJ Edwin Muyera, aka ‘King Tubbs’ of King Lion Sounds couldn’t hide his loyalty. His heart was obviously with the All Blacks. Everything he wore, was black. Shoes: black, socks: black, track: black, tshirt: black; sweater: black and he carried a black backpack…A black Saturday night indeed.

He knew and pontificated so, that New Zealand would be crowned champions, for a historic fourth time. They weren’t. With Pieter-Steph du Toit’s astonishing performance from start to finish, Muyera could only watch albeit from the corner of his eyes.

For the entire 80 minutes, the poor man hardly touched his tea. Tremble in his hands was quite evident. He was torn between playing his reggae tunes, following the game or dashing for fictitious bathroom breaks. It was that tough,really tough. In the end, he gave in. The unlikely had happened.

But, as totally drained South Africans dropped to the turf at the final whistle, King Tubbs knew there was one big difference; For the All Blacks, victory seemed like a want, but for the South Africans, it was a need.

The Springboks played what seemed to border desperation. Bodies were flying all over. The fear of losing was evident. For New Zealand, it remained a matter of could, should, would…

But for now, the Rugby World Cup 2023 is over and South Africa will wear the crown for another four years.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika.

By AFP 3 hrs ago
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