Congratulations Captain Kolisi and South Africa. Take a bow Tonga.
Here’s the truth. There is always a bigger picture. Beyond our hopes, disappointments and sometimes our selfish expectations, there is always the greater good.
It is the reason why things happen (or don’t happen as we want them to); it is why some things defy logic. The thought comes to mind, reminiscing about the Rugby World Cup that has just ended in Japan. Form, logic, statistics and everything else all pointed to the All Blacks defending the title.
But when South African captain, Siya Kolisi, hoisted the Webb Ellis Trophy in Japan on Sunday morning (Samoan time), it just made so much sense. It was undeniable that the moment belonged to South Africa. That country needed it more after everything it has been through.
Indeed, no one could have scripted it better. And some things are just meant to be. You see, the majority of us would’ve been quite thrilled for the All Blacks to defend the title and continue as world champions. They are our second Manu Samoa after all and with countless Samoan players in there, we wanted them to win.
England knocked that out of their grasp. With that, Manu Tuilagi’s involvement with the English saw some of us rooting for England, because of our pride in a son of Samoa taking part in the final. And who wouldn’t be?
But as it unfolded before the millions of eyes in the rugby world on Sunday morning, England fizzled out on rugby’s biggest night. The dazzling form, physicality, brutality and the manner in which they demolished the All Blacks the week before was nowhere to be seen. England simply failed to fire and our beloved Tuilagi, by his own standards, had a quiet night.
Now go back a week before with the All Blacks when they took on Ireland in the quarterfinal. The scintillating form suggested that they might as well have been handed the Webb Ellis cup right there and then.
Alas, we all know what happened. Ironically, the only team to have beaten South Africa in this World Cup – and beat them convincingly too – was the All Blacks.
Would the Springboks have won if the final were to be a rematch with the All Blacks? We doubt it.
Which is why we say that when we consider the bigger picture, this World Cup was predestined to be won by South Africa. For the greater good. England was merely a sideshow ploy on South Africa's path to their glorious moment.
Springboks captain Kolisi said it all during his post-match speech. Having become the first black man to captain South Africa and first black man of any country to captain his side to World Cup glory, Kolisi used the moment to deliver a message of hope that South Africa and the world needed to hear. Believe it or not, despite the fact we are in 2019, racism and discrimination continue to be major obstacles.
But so incredible was the message from Kolisi that it is today reverberating throughout the world, with people comparing it to another Nelson Mandela moment, some 24 years after Mandela backed the Springboks in a bid to unite South Africa.
Let’s listen to him one more time:
"We've faced a lot of challenges, but the people of South Africa have gotten behind us, and we are so grateful for the people of South Africa.
"We have so many problems in our country, but to have a team like this … we come from different backgrounds, different races and we came together with one goal and wanted to achieve it. I really hope that we've done that for South Africa to show that we can pull together and achieve something.
"Since I've been alive, I've never seen South Africa like this. Now, with all the challenges we have been. The coach came in told us the last game 'we're not playing for ourselves anymore; we're playing for our people back home'.
"That's what we wanted to do today and we really appreciate all the support.
“People in the taverns, people in farms and homeless people and people in rural areas. Thank you so much; we appreciate all the support. We love you South Africa, and we can achieve anything if we work together as one."
Wow, what a message. Take a bow Captain Kolisi, you have done yourself, your country and everyone who stands for freedom and breaking through racial barriers proud.
Speaking of pride, we cannot ignore another enormous sporting development that unfolded closer to home during the weekend.
While all eyes were on the Rugby World Cup final, in Auckland New Zealand, Mate Ma’a Tonga achieved what many of us thought would never be possible – when they defeated the Australian rugby league team. What an achievement.
More importantly, and perhaps relevant to us in Samoa, Tonga’s achievement in rugby league has once again proven what could happen in rugby union, when World Rugby relaxes the eligibility rules to allow all countries to field their best team.
Unless the powers that be in World Rugby are petrified of seeing what just happened in Auckland between Tonga and Australia. But then that’s a story for another day.
Today, celebrate sweet success. Let’s congratulate Kolisi and South Africa. Let’s also congratulate our fellow Polynesians, captain Jason Taumalolo and the Mate Ma’a Tonga team.
What a spectacular weekend that was in terms of sports.
Have a lovely week Samoa, God bless!