'I get goose bumps': History beckons for South Africa's first black captain, says Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Reporter Amy Lewis

World Cup-winner Bryan Habana says the prospect of the first black South African captain lifting the Webb Ellis Cup would be a "goose bump moment".

The now retired flying winger - widely regarded as being the fastest player in the game in his pomp - said the chance to see Siya Kolisi make history could not be downplayed.

Habana said: "We saw it in '95 with Mandela walking out there in that No.6 jersey, I saw it in 2018 when Siya ran out at the very same Ellis Park, with that No.6 Springboks jersey, leading the Springboks on to that field...

"Fast forward a year and he's now in an opportunity to do something that will potentially go down in the history books."

He told ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott that rugby has been a "catalyst for so many good things" in South Africa.

"When sport brings people together as much as rugby has done for South Africa ... it would mean so much, for our first ever black captain to hold that Webb Ellis cup high is something that really gives you goose bumps because of the enormity of the situation," he said.

Habana was sitting in Ellis Park in 1995 when the Rainbow Nation, newly welcomed back on to the international sporting stage following the end of apartheid, and watched as Francois Pienaar was handed the World Cup by President Nelson Mandela - wearing a No.6 Springboks jersey.

"Francois' words that it wasn't for the 65,000 people in the stadium it was for the 48 million resonated through the world of sport," he said.

"For a 12-year-old boy, sitting in those stands, seeing what that side had done, it was the catalyst to pick up the game of rugby.

"It was a catalyst for change, a catalyst for inspiration and hope, in a country that needed it.

"Fast forward 12 years, and I was part of a winning side."

South Africa face England in Saturday's final in Yokohama after beating Wales and looking for a third triumph.

He said the pressure was on South Africa to raise their game to beat England who had put in one of the best performances he'd seen to overcome New Zealand - "the team I thought would probably go on and win the tournament".

He said the collision of two "juggernaut" packs would go a long way to deciding which side comes out on top.

No-one better epitomises South African forward power more than Tendai “the Beast” Mtawarira, the 34-year-old loosehead prop.

Born in Zimbabwe, he moved to Durban as an 18-year-old, with the words of his father that he'd never make it as a rugby player ringing in his ears.

Now he's one of the many formidable roadblocks standing in the way of England. And Mtawarira is quick to praise the diversity of this side, lead by Kolisi.

Mtawarira told ITV News: "I think it's very important that the team is well represented.

"I think it's something that [coach] Rassie (Erasmus) addressed right at the onset - he pretty much said we needed a team of great balance and I think we have achieved that."

He said winning again could be put on a par with the triumph in 1995 - but there was "80 minutes in a massive game against a really good England side" to get through first.

"There's no question that all South Africans, from all walks of life are rallying behind the team."