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This past weekend, Loftus was alive with the spirit of victory and pride as UFC star Dricus Du Plessis electrified the crowd with his famous words, "Hulle Weet Nie Waat Ons Weet" ("They Don't Know What We Know"). These words, which have become a rallying cry for South Africans, perfectly encapsulate the determination and resilience that define our beloved Springboks.

Dricus, who earned his shot at the UFC middleweight title after a stunning TKO against Robert Whittaker in July 2023, explained the deeper meaning behind his statement. "Even though we’re underdogs, and we don’t have what all these big countries have, we face challenges head-on. People don’t know what we are willing to do to win and how far we are willing to go to be the best. We saw that with the Springboks. They don’t know what we as South Africans know—we are built different."

So, what do the Springboks know that the world doesn’t? What’s the secret behind their unparalleled success?

Firstly, Depth in Talent- the Springboks have built an exceptional squad where every position boasts three to four world-class players. This depth is so profound that even a C team, composed of World Cup winners, could be fielded. Such strategic planning ensures sustained excellence and adaptability, making the Springboks a formidable force.

Secondly, Hunger for Legacy- post-World Cup transitions typically see a shake-up in the squad, but not for the 2023 Springboks. Retaining core players who still have an insatiable hunger to win and make history, they showed an unwavering commitment to continuity and passion. With only the head coach and one player moving on, the transition was seamless. Players like Willie Le Roux exemplify this dedication, ready to play until explicitly told otherwise.

Lastly, Resilience and Adaptability- the Springboks' journey is a testament to resilience. From the depths of despair and public scorn in 2017 to World Cup champions within two years, their story showcases how small, strategic changes can lead to massive results. Their belief and minor adjustments have turned them into one of the greatest teams in the game.

This weekend’s event, hosted by the Springboks and Vodacom Bulls at Loftus, was unforgettable. The crowd’s impassioned rendition of the national anthem and the team’s sheer excellence on the field highlighted why the Springboks are revered worldwide.

The Springboks’ story is a masterclass in resilience, strategic depth, and an unyielding hunger for excellence. They don’t just play the game—they redefine it.
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]

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Kevin Rademeyer

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