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‘Could have done better’: Siya Kolisi’s stunning revelation after World Cup glory

By Finn Morton
Siya Kolisi of South Africa lifts The Webb Ellis Cup following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Gold Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at Stade de France on October 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Siya Kolisi will go down in history as one of the greats. After hoisting the Webb Ellis Cup four years ago in Japan, the Boks captain led South Africa to back-to-back titles at the 2023 World Cup.

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South Africa secured back-to-back crowns after besting rivals New Zealand 12-11 in a thrilling final at Stade de France last weekend. The Boks reached rugby immortality once again.

But there’s something uniquely special about the Springboks. For a team that continues to stand atop of the rugby world, the Boks have already looked at what they “could have done better.”

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That says a lot about the world champions.

Long after the full-time siren had sounded, the once-packed stadium was empty. There was nobody sitting in the stands, with the groundskeepers the only other people in sight.

But you could hear the champions.

Whether it was the Boks themselves or possibly their supporters, a faint version of their rendition of The Cranberries’ Zombies echoed throughout the Parisian venue. The champions definitely sang that song though, as confirmed on social media.

@rugbyworldcup South Africa with their rendition of Zombie after winning the Rugby World Cup 🏆 #rugby #RWCfinal #RWC2023 ? aint no mountain high enough – sped up audios

Later, lock Eben Etzebeth got a haircut from teammate RG Snyman at 5.00 a.m. as the Boks continued to enjoy their historic achievement.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
4
1
Tries
0
0
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
149
Carries
85
7
Line Breaks
4
19
Turnovers Lost
9
2
Turnovers Won
7

But amongst all the euphoria, relief and celebration, the Boks took a moment to reflect after defeating the All Blacks by a single point in one of the most memorable World Cup finals ever.

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“We won the World Cup and then we got our stats late last night while we were partying as a team and we still looked at them, you want to see what you could have done better,” captain Siya Kolisi told a few reporters at the World Rugby Awards on Sunday.

“That’s when we went crazy when we saw how many tackles Pieter-Steph (du Toit) made.

“Right now we’re just recovering and enjoying each other’s company and then when we go home, I think that’s when it’ll start sinking in because we’ll see exactly what we’ve been playing for and we’ll see what it means to the people back home,” Kolisi also mentioned.

It wasn’t the final that many expected before the Rugby World Cup. Fans and pundits from the world over tipped the likes of Ireland and France to usher in a new era of northern hemisphere dominance, but the south reigned supreme.

Both the Boks and All Blacks were “written off in the quarter-finals” before playing those northern hemisphere heavyweights respectively, but The Rugby Championship sides emerged victorious.

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“We have so much respect for them. We were both written off in the quarter-finals already – people were talking about how dominant the northern hemisphere is,” Kolisi added when asked about the All Blacks.

“We know what we can do as the southern hemisphere. They were written off probably by a lot of people but we know what the All Blacks are.

“You cannot write off a team that has achieved more than any other team in the history of rugby… their win percentage. We know what they can do.”

The All Blacks had lost to the Boks 35-7 in a record defeat just two weeks before the tournament and opened their World Cup with another loss to France.

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But the Kiwis continued to chip away behind the scenes, and it almost paid off with the ultimate reward.

Utility Jordie Barrett missed a penalty attempt at goal which would’ve given the All Blacks a slender two-point lead with about five minutes to play in the final.

But it wasn’t to be for the All Blacks. There was no fairytale finish for coach Ian Foster in his last Test, and captain Sam Cane will be left to live with a historic red card “forever.”

“They went about their work and we always said, ‘Watch out for the All Blacks.’

“We knew what they could do… I’ve got so much respect for them for how they turned things around and how hard obviously they worked and how good coach Ian Foster is.

“It must be tough to coach knowing that is probably your last couple of days, to put all the emotions aside and to try and focus on coaching a side and getting them back.

“Sam Cane too, a lot of people gave him a lot of criticism about his game and the way he played this World Cup has been ridiculous – actually his whole year. It tells a lot about what kind of characters and people they are in New Zealand.

“That’s why the team was able to get to the final.”

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Comments

6 Comments
r
rod 233 days ago

All class from the SA captain 💯 some seriously nasty comments on this site from NH supporters especially Irish ones. Kolisi Showed the respect both teams have for each other even in defeat. As a kiwi there are only two teams in the world for most New Zealanders SA & ABs

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