Members of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning team arrived home this morning and thousands greeted them with a huge cheer at Johannesburg’s international airport.
Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the Springboks’ tries in Saturday’s final against England, were among the first group of players to land at OR Tambo Airport.
As he emerged into view in the arrivals hall, Mapimpi held his hands up and clasped them together as the crowd roared. Kolbe was recording the scenes on his cellphone.
Teammate Damien de Allende, with his gold medal draped round his neck, pumped his arms in the air in front of the fans wearing Springboks jerseys who packed the hall.
Duane Vermeulen, the player of the match in the final, dished out high fives to fans.
People were also crammed together on the balconies overlooking the arrivals area — there was no room to move anywhere — and a giant South African flag hung on one wall.
The smiling players had to be shepherded through the crowd by a police escort.