Springbok legend and World Cup victor 'The Beast' retires

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Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby, paid tribute to the Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok squad for their wonderful feat in Japan, as well as all of South Africa for supporting the men in green and gold as they reached rugby's ultimate summit.

Thando Mhlongo, the founder of the Jabulani Rugby Club in Soweto, has told BBC Newsday that the Springboks' arrival "will transform the mind-set" of the young South Africans living in deprived areas.

The 34-year-old, whose ball carries led to affectionate chants of "Beast" in stadiums around the world, was a standout performer as the Springboks defeated England 32-12 to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in Yokohama on Saturday, the last of his 117 Tests.

Inspired by the story of Kolisi, who rose from a poor township to lift rugby's biggest prize, the Springboks of 2019 have been compared to the team of 1995, which won South Africa's first World Cup at home in front of Nelson Mandela almost a quarter of a century ago.

Captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus are among a group expected to arrive in Johannesburg later Tuesday.

"I'm here because the Springboks are the pride of the nation", she said.

"The people back in South Africa know exactly what it feels like to have your back against the wall... people might be learning from us, but everything we took and did there, we got it from the people in South Africa", Kolisi said of the support.

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Erasmus said playing in Japan was both good and bad: "I think the saddest past was yesterday when we had to leave".

"We thank you, South Africa, for sharing this moment with us".

South Africans are gearing up to welcome the Springbok champions and the Web Ellis trophy home after their stellar performance at the Rugby World Cup finals.

Just one black, winger Chester Williams, featured in the 1995 World Cup-winning and there two wingers, JP Pietersen and Bryan Habana, in the side that conquered the world 12 years later.

This year's lineup included six non-white players, including Kolisi.

Mapimpi also recalled how nervous he was ahead of the final, and how fellow wing Kolbe helped him.