“For all of South Africa, we are honoured to be able to play for you guys,” said Du Toit, who made 28 tackles during the match.
“I know when we go back home it will be a warm welcome for us. I want to thank everyone for supporting us.
“It is an honour and privilege to play for this team. The last three games have been quite tough. We played each one as a final and each one was [won] by one point. We are quite happy with the win.”
Du Toit said the Boks have come to accept drama: “We have had drama for the last few years. It helped us a lot as a team to get through the drama and cope with it and it shows the resilience of the team and the whole of South Africa.”
Bok centre Damian de Allende, whose 12 tackles were more than any of the New Zealanders, described the winning feeling as “incredible”.
“I don't think it has sunk in yet – was a tough old test match,” said De Allende. “These past three games have been quite tough mentally for us, emotionally as well, physically too. One point each game but we got through it. The All Blacks were incredible tonight. I think the result is incredible.”
Ox Nche, one of the props on the bench who made a devastating impact to swing the semi-final in the Boks’ favour a week ago, was also lost for words.
“It is a feeling that is out of this world, to have a special group of guys like this,” said Nche.
“Deon [Fourie] is 37 years old – in the first few minutes in a World Cup final our starting hooker goes down; we lost Malcolm Marx earlier. If we stay united we can achieve anything. That’s what it means to me.”
Nche, who planned to celebrate with a slice of caramel cheesecake, said the Boks showed their resilience in three very tough playoffs: “In South Africa that is 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.”
Jesse Kriel, a catalyst for the monumental effort it took to beat France in the quarter-final, where he left the field bloodied and bruised after a very physical encounter, said the final was exactly what he expected it to be.
“The guys dug in again and fought hard,” said Kriel, who was playing in his third RWC. “As a South African, as a Springbok, you always believe you are going to win. You don’t have doubts. Winning is a mindset, something we train for and that belief came through again.”
Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard, who landed four first half penalty goals which ended up being all 12 of the team’s points, was a relieved man after the tense 80 minutes against the All Blacks.
“It is more relief than happiness at the moment,” said Pollard. “It will maybe take a few days or even weeks to realise what we have done.”
Pollard added that the wet conditions in Paris played a big part in how the game turned out: “The weather was certainly interesting. In the first half we played a kicking game and put them under pressure. Then there were cards flying about all over the place.
“The second half was more containment and limiting the damage. Even though they scored, we limited them to five points. This team has a never-say-die attitude.”
Fourie, the oldest member of the squad who had to play almost the entire game after an early injury to starting hooker Bongi Mbonambi, contributed 21 of the Boks’ more than 200 tackles on the night. He said the early introduction wasn’t part of the plan.
"[Bongi] was due to do the game but accidents happen,” said Fourie. “We thought we'd give him a few minutes to see how he goes [after the injury], but luckily I've played a few games in the World Cup. I came through the 75 minutes. It was tough on the body, a few cramps and all that stuff. But at the end of the day we've got the medal around our neck which is all that counts.”
Damian Willemse echoed the sentiments shared by the entire squad: “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.
“I am 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,” said the Bok fullback, who came into the 2019 squad as injury replacement for Kriel.