Thieves have touched the William Webb Ellis trophy during a break-in at South African Rugby Union’s HQ but thankfully decided against swiping the World Cup.
Security cam footage has captured the moment two thieves hestiatated during the robbery and one touched the trophy – reclaimed by the Springboks last month.
The thieves scarpered with whisky, signed Springbok jerseys and laptops according to reports.
The break-in and CCTV footage led many to question the security in place to protect the most important trophy in rugby.
SARU confirmed that all their trophies were left behind in the robbery.
The victory over New Zealand sparked wild scenes in South Africa with thousands taking to the streets in celebration with the team.
“I tried to step back for a few minutes to try and take it all in,” star flyhalf Handre Pollard to the UK Telegraph. “It’s unbelievable to see; a country with so many problems and so many groups of people against each other, the crime, all the stuff everyone knows about, to see them unified and united for that 20 minutes … it’s the smile on people’s faces who don’t have much to be happy about. I don’t have the words for that.”
South African columnist Luke Menezies, writing in the South African, lamented the “brazen act” but was thankful that “amidst the chaos, the treasured Rugby World Cup trophy remains secure.
“This event has sent shockwaves through the rugby community, reminding us of the significance of safeguarding our national symbols.
“The break-in at the South African Rugby Union’s headquarters raises major concerns about the security of our nation’s valued sports memorabilia. Fortunately, the Rugby World Cup trophy, a symbol of national pride and achievement, was spared from this audacious theft.
“The trophy, which stands as a testament to the Springboks triumphant 2019 and 2023 RWC campaign, continues to inspire players and fans alike.”
He said SA Rugby officials were re-evaluating their security protocols.
“This incident has prompted a thorough investigation, and steps are being taken to ensure such an event never recurs,” he wrote.