Smit: I can't take my eyes off the cup
By Lucy Corry
PARIS, 21 October - South Africa captain John Smit and coach Jake White are smitten.
Barely 12 hours after the Springboks defeated England 15-6 in the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, Smit and White had the dazed grins of new parents - their eyes fixed on the gleaming Webb Ellis Cup sitting in front of them.
White, looking a little bleary-eyed after going to bed at 3am, admitted the win was still to sink in.
"I must be honest, it hasn't sunk in just yet. I think it is one of those things you will only understand what's happened when you get home. Obviously it has been massive winning the world cup and seeing the supporters last night and enjoying it with our families and our friends, I don't think it sinks in till a little bit later."
Smit, still sporting a swollen left eye from the match, grinned when asked if beer tasted better when drunk from the Webb Ellis Cup.
"Somehow it absolutely does," he said.
"Everyone had a crack last when we got together afterwards once we got to the hotel so, every single guy has had a sip out of the cup. It is hard not to take your eyes off it, we've worked so hard for it."
Massive boost for country
White said the win would be a massive boost for South African rugby and the country as a whole.
"This is much bigger than South Africa rugby. To see our state president on the shoulders of one of the players, with the William Webb Ellis Trophy in his hands, there's no bigger statement in our country than that. What we need as a nation is to understand how big this is. There's no reason why South African rugby and South Africa can't take this as a huge plus and build on it.
"There's a lot we can draw from this little cup."
White's coaching contract is due to end on 31 December. The South Africa Rugby Union have not yet asked him to stay on and he said it would be hard to say goodbye to the team.
"It would be hard to hand the team over to someone else. It's nice when you're world champions and everyone's giving you accolades, but it's a lonely place when you're down.
"I look around and I think to myself so many things have changed. It's amazing how they say in politics a week is a long time, but in rugby I tell you 80 minutes is a fantastic thing."
The squad leave Paris on Monday (22 October) and a series of parades are already being organised in South Africa.