JOHANNESBURG – Friday marks the 10th anniversary of the Springboks’ 2007 Rugby World Cup triumph in Paris.
The English put host nation France to the sword in their semi-final meeting as the Springboks overcame a shaken Argentina to set up a thrilling final at the Stade de France.
eNCA.com takes a look back at the second time South Africa wrapped their hands around the Webb Ellis Cup after defeating 2003 world champions England 15-6 in the final of the 2007 tournament.
File: South Africa's players celebrate after their Rugby World Cup win against England in the final at the Stade de France Stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, 20 October 2007. Credit: AFP
Percy you beauty
Springbok record point scorer Percy Montgomery, experienced a near perfect kicking game throughout the tournament and this was very much the deciding factor when the Boks took on the English in the Paris final.
File: South Africa's fullback Percy Montgomery kicks the ball during the Rugby World Cup semi-final match against Argentina, 14 October 2007 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. Credit: AFP
Montgomery reached two major milestones during the 2007 showpiece.
He became the first Springbok to score 800 Test points and he equalled the now late Joost van der Westhuizen’s most-capped record.
“Monty” was also penned in as the leading point scorer in the 2007 instalment.
JP saves the day against Fiji
JP Pietersen started in the first two matches at the World Cup and finished the tournament with four tries to his name.
The big man, known for his ability to play at fullback, centre and on the wing, had a decent run of form on the Springboks’ road to World Cup glory.
But it was against Fiji in the quarter-final that Pietersen showed he had what it took to be a part of a World Cup-winning team.
File: Winger Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen celebrate after their Rugby World Cup win against England in the final at the Stade de France Stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, 20 October 2007.Credit: AFP
The score was 23-20 in favour of the Boks and Fiji were in for a try in the 66th minute as Savenaca Rawaca took possession.
Renowned for his physicality and aggression on the rugby field, Rawaca must have felt he could bulldoze his way over the try line and he did, but did not foresee that Pietersen was not going to give up.
Big man Pietersen kept his head and made sure the ball did not touch the turf as he lifted both man and ball out for touch.
The untouchable Bryan Habana
The now legendary Bryan Habana was one of the stars of the 2007 World Cup. He bagged eight tries during the tournament, equalling the record set by All Black legend Jonah Lomu, in 1999.
File: South Africa's winger Bryan Habana dives over the tryline to score during the World Cup semi-final against Argentina, 14 October 2007 at the Stade de France. Credit: AFP
Habana was named the 2007 IRB Player of the Year in Paris after the Boks lifted the World Cup trophy
That tackle in the final
A minute into the second half of the final, English centre Matthew Tate, carved out a bit of room to put his immense pace to good use, as he blasted through the Bok defence.
The Newcastle man was eventually stopped inches from the Bok try line but the damage was done and England did enough to open space on the wing for Mark Cueto, who looked sure to dot down for a try.
Time felt like it had come to a complete stop as deliberations proceeded to determine if the try would stand.
Even British royalty could not take the pressure.
Have a watch and feel that tension all over again
A nation in unity, again
As we remember that night in Paris, 10 years later, it becomes increasingly clearer that sport and especially rugby can incomparably unite people, and as South Africans, we know unity and what it is capable of accomplishing.
Shades of 95 were well and truly for all to see as South Africans in France and back home stood proudly and wholeheartedly united once again.
File: England fans wave a flag in front of a green and gold Eiffel Tower. Credit: AFP
The French even felt the need to adopt the Springboks for just one night as the Eiffel Tower stood tall, in all its splendor, with green and gold lights before the final kick-off.
From the Stade de France to local fan-parks and all the way down to living rooms across South Africa, the feeling of unity was in the air, a feeling that makes the heart zeal and ignites the spirit.
File: Springbok supporters at the Suncoast casino in Durban celebrate the victory of their team in the final of the Rugby World Cup in 2007. Credit: AFP
South Africa stood proud and true at the summit, once again.
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. - Nelson Mandela.