South Africa stars on the ‘never-say-die attitude’ behind World Cup success

By Sports Desk October 29, 2023

South Africa’s victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final was forged in their national psyche, according to some of the stars of their successful title defence.

Hosts France, England and the All Blacks each fell by a single point to a Springboks side who do not know when they are beaten, establishing them as rugby’s ultimate knockout specialists.

New Zealand overcame the red card shown to their captain Sam Cane for a dangerous tackle to take an enthralling final to the wire and even had opportunities to snatch South Africa’s crown.

But the repeat champions – now the most successful nation in men’s World Cup history with four titles – defended magnificently to ensure they they will return home on Tuesday as heroes.

Prop Ox Nche, the destroyer of England’s scrum in the semi-final, said: “It shows our resilience. In South Africa that’s what we are made of.

“When you think we are down that’s when we come out and shock you and show you that we can achieve anything.

“I don’t know how to describe this feeling – it is a feeling that is out of this world. If we stay united we can achieve anything. That’s what it means to me.”

Victory was made possible by four first-half Handre Pollard penalties that saw the fly-half – who was only an injury call up to the squad in mid-September – finish the World Cup with a 100 per cent kicking record.

 

“This team has a never-say-die attitude. The second half was more containment and limiting the damage. Even though they scored, we limited them to five points,” Pollard said.

It can now be argued that a South Africa team that has amassed back-to-back world titles and defeated the Lions in 2021 is the greatest of all time and there is no question they lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy the hard way.

Full-back Damian Willemse is delighted to have triumphed on behalf of a nation that is besieged by problems.

“We do it for the people of South Africa. We do it for each other. We do it for our families. People don’t really have the money but they have made their way here to support us,” Willemse said.

“I’m really proud of everyone for putting their bodies on the line and sacrificing themselves.

“That is what we have to do to win a World Cup. It is really special to be part of it. I am just really proud to be South African.

“We knew it was going to take a massive effort to beat the All Blacks. They are a great team who have been in great form these past few weeks.

“The red card did change the game from a technical point of view, but we knew the All Blacks weren’t going to die.”

Related items

  • “We got taught a lesson”: van der Dussen credits Windies for dominant performance in T20I series “We got taught a lesson”: van der Dussen credits Windies for dominant performance in T20I series

    South Africa stand-in Captain Rassie van der Dussen gave his West Indian counterparts all the praise in the world after his side suffered a dominant 0-3 defeat in their three T20Is from May 23-26 at Sabina Park in Kingston.

    The hosts won last Thursday’s first encounter by 28 runs, their biggest win over South Africa in T20Is, and followed it up with a 16-run win in the second game on Saturday and a dominant eight-wicket triumph in the third match on Sunday.

    The skipper put the South African performance down to an inability to quickly adapt to the conditions of the Sabina Park pitch.

    “We just couldn’t adapt early enough. Yes, we had a long week in terms of layovers in Miami and so forth. I think we saw that in the first match but you can’t keep making the same mistakes,” van der Dussen said after Sunday’s game.

    “I think we just got taught a lesson on how to play in Caribbean conditions, especially from a bowling front. It was a difficult wicket to bat on. I think they just out-skilled us, especially with the ball,” he added.

    When asked about positives he could take from the three games, he singled out openers Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks as well as young leg-spinner Nqaba Peter who played the last two games, the first two T20Is of his career.

    The 35-year-old, who was left out of South Africa’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup, says an adjustment he hopes the team makes with the bat is to take a few more chances up front.

    “Maybe just be a bit braver. We saw the way the West Indies play, especially in the power play. They really take it on and when the ball’s newer, it’s easier to score than in the back end when the ball gets soft,” he said.

     

  • Daren Sammy lauds West Indies' dominant 3-0 series win over South Africa Daren Sammy lauds West Indies' dominant 3-0 series win over South Africa

    West Indies white-ball coach Daren Sammy hailed his team’s performance after they passed their South Africa test with flying colours, culminating in a dominant eight-wicket victory at Sabina Park on Sunday. This win sealed a clean sweep of the three-match T20 International series, setting a positive tone for their final preparations ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which begins on June 1.

    The West Indies secured their series victory with a comprehensive performance on Sunday, chasing down South Africa's target of 164 with 6.1 overs to spare. This win followed earlier victories on Thursday, May 23, by 28 runs and on Saturday, May 25, by 16 runs. The series was characterized by consistent team efforts, despite the absence of key players such as Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Andre Russell, and Alzarri Joseph.

    In the series finale, South Africa posted 163-8 from their 20 overs, with captain Rassie van der Dussen top-scoring with 51 off 36 balls. Debutant Wiann Mulder contributed a solid 36. The West Indies’ bowling attack was led by Player of the Series Gudakesh Motie, who took 2-21, supported by Shamar Joseph’s 2-26 and Obed McCoy’s 3-39.

    The West Indies’ chase was spearheaded by an explosive opening partnership of 92 runs in just 6.4 overs between Johnson Charles and interim captain Brandon King. Charles, who was named Player of the Match for his blistering 69 off 26 balls, batted at a strike rate of 265, while King added 44 from 28 balls. Kyle Mayers (36 not out) and Alick Athanaze (6 not out) comfortably saw the hosts over the finish line.

    Coach Darren Sammy, who led the West Indies to T20 World Cup victories in 2012 and 2016, praised his team’s all-around performance. "With the players that we had, we executed quite well,” he told Sportsmax.TV. “We were put under pressure in the Power Play in the second game but the way the guys responded and won convincingly; we got tested in the three departments – in the field, with the bat, and the ball – and the way the guys responded was just really good, so I would give them a nine (out of 10).”

    Charles expressed satisfaction with his performance after struggling in the first two matches. “It was great. We have been working hard during the camp and in the series. Worked hard on our skills leading up to the World Cup, just enforcing the basics. Tried in the first two games, didn’t work out but came today (Sunday). It’s all about building confidence,” he said.

    Stand-in captain Brandon King also shared his delight at leading the team to a commanding series win. “(I was) happy with my own performance,” he remarked. “Would’ve liked to carry my bat through to the end though. We understand each other’s games, playing a few years together. (This was) an important 3-0 win.”

  • West Indies complete 3-0 series win over South Africa West Indies complete 3-0 series win over South Africa

    West Indies completed a perfect 3-0 T20I series with an eight-wicket victory over South Africa on Sunday to boost morale ahead of the approaching World Cup.

    Brandon King’s side had already secured an unassailable lead after a 16-run victory in Kingston on Saturday but ensured they finished on a high in their final game.

    South Africa were limited to just 163 runs, with Rassie van der Dussen contributing 51 off 31 balls, as they struggled against an inspired bowling performance led by Obed McCoy (3-39) and Gudakesh Motie (2-21).

    With the ball, South Africa could not limit West Indies’ threat as Johnson Charles plundered a quick 69 off 26, while captain Brandon King added 44.

    Kyle Mayers’ 36 not out saw West Indies over the line with a little help from Alick Athanaze to reach 165-2 with 37 balls remaining.

    Data Debrief: Clean sweep

    Charles hit West Indies' third-fastest T20 fifty, reaching his half-century after just 20 balls - in total, he hit nine fours and three boundaries before being caught.

    Having won only one of their previous four men's T20Is against South Africa at home (L3) prior to this series, West Indies have now won each of the last three. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.