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Rugby World Cup 2019: Ex-England international Pietersen among those to hail victorious Springboks

South Africa’s third Rugby World Cup triumph earned praise across social media, with a former England international among those to laud Rassie Erasmus’ team.

The Springboks defeated favourites England 32-12 in Japan as wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored second-half tries and Handre Pollard provided 22 points with the boot.

It was the third time South Africa had won the World Cup, adding to their triumphs in 1995 and 2007.

Here we round up the best of the social media reaction.


South African-born Kevin Pietersen captained England’s cricket team and had said he was “winning either way” when it came to Saturday’s final.

After seeing his native country triumph, he declared his appreciation for the Springboks on Twitter, writing: “What a performance by The Bokke! HEART, PASSION & PRIDE! Sometimes that’s all you need to be successful!”

The Springboks’ maiden World Cup success provided one of the most iconic images when Nelson Mandela presented Francois Pienaar with the Webb Ellis Cup in Johannesburg.

Mandela, the first black man to be his country’s head of state, died in 2013, but a tweet from his foundation read: “May this moment reinvigorate the hope of 1995 and inspire our nation to build a South Africa of Madiba’s Dreams.”

Former World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter also expressed their admiration for the Springboks’ gutsy display.

Wilkinson, who has been working with England in Japan having sent over the drop goal that beat Australia in the 2003 final, said he was “so excited about what’s to come” from Eddie Jones’ team while also stating their opponents’ success was “hugely deserved”.

Ex-All Blacks fly-half Carter retired after winning the World Cup for a second time in 2015 and while New Zealand’s run was ended by England at the semi-finals this time around, he told South Africa they had made “your beautiful country proud”.

Other sports stars also tweeted their congratulations.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Roger Federer, whose mother was born in South Africa, said he was “incredibly happy” with the result.

Hashim Amla, who opened the batting for South Africa at the Cricket World Cup, uploaded an image of the Webb Ellis Cup being engraved while the Proteas’ account showed the team, including captain Faf du Plessis, celebrating after the final whistle.

Though England ended up losing the final, South Africa’s triumph also got the royal seal of approval, with the British royal family’s account tweeting: “A great effort by England in reaching the World Cup Final 2019 and congratulations to South Africa on winning a hard fought game.” News wire is powered by opta

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