Springbok fans back home keeping us going at World Cup, says Kolisi

PARIS, France, Oct 21 – As they continue to chase back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles, Siya Kolisi says the Springboks are constantly drawing inspiration from the incredible support they receive from back home.

As the countdown began in earnest to Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final showdown with England at the Stade de France in Paris, Kolisi reflected on the strong bond that exists between the players in France and fans back home.

“It will never change who we play for, who we represent,” said Kolisi.

“I wish you could see all the support we get from back home. This [tournament] is all that people talk about with everything else that is happening back home.

“Kids at school are sending us clips of them singing (because they know some of us like singing), people at work on Friday wear their green jerseys, and it’s a beautiful thing to see that people who can’t afford the green jerseys will wear anything green or anything that represents the Springboks.

“We see that, and it will continuously be our motivation. We know what this team has meant [to South Africans] – not just in sport but to our country in general.

“We use that to inspire us and keep us going. It’s more purposeful when you don’t only do something for yourself. Only when you add in other people – that you don’t even know – that you start playing for, it’s much harder to give up when you think how many people would give anything to be where we are.

“More than half the people in our country are unemployed, some don’t have homes. I’m not saying we’re going to win every game but giving up and not giving everything would be cheating – not just myself or the team but the rest of the people at home.

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“The harder we play, the more we do well, the more opportunities we give to others. I believe we are a purpose-driven team, we are not a trophy-driven team although, of course, the trophies help to get more people to want to work with you.

“Sometimes you can look at yourself and feel sorry for yourself for what you are going through but we don’t. We use that pain and those struggles [from home] and we put them on our shoulders, and we carry them with us to drive us to the battles. It helps us to keep on going.”

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