Springboks and Kolisi honoured by African Union for Rugby World Cup triumph. GETTY IMAGES

The awards ceremony was attended by athletes, sporting luminaries, and government dignitaries from across the ten countries that make up the region: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Springboks added prestigious continental awards to their impressive list of accolades following last year's Rugby World Cup triumph when they were named Team of the Year and Sportsman of the Year at the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Sports Awards in Lusaka, Zambia. 

The awards add a continental flavour to the world champions' accolades, as the Springboks were recently crowned Team of the Year at the SA Sports Awards and SA Rugby Awards, while Siya Kolisi picked up the People's Choice and Sports Star of the Year awards. 

SA Rugby President Mark Alexander congratulated the team and Siya Kolisi on the prestigious awards: "This award underlines the continental significance of the Springboks' successive Rugby World Cup wins and the key role Siya has played in leading the team both on and off the field. 

"They deserve all the recognition for their hard work and sacrifices over several years to lift the Webb Ellis Cup in France last year and Japan in 2019, and we are delighted to see how far and wide their achievements have reached. 

Siya Kolisi captains the Springboks. GETTY IMAGES
Siya Kolisi captains the Springboks. GETTY IMAGES

"The team and Kolisi have been instrumental in showing what unity, teamwork and overcoming numerous barriers on and off the field can achieve in nation building and building winning teams, and we hope this will inspire teams across Africa to follow in their footsteps and achieve similar success," he added. 

Competition was fierce, with the Springboks going up against Malawi's Scorchers - the national women's football team - and Botswana's senior men's 4x400m relay team (Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Zibane Ngozi, Bayapo Ndori), while Kolisi beat the likes of the aforementioned Bayapo Ndori of Botswana and Mancoba Mahlatsi of Swaziland in a highly competitive category. 

The keynote address was delivered by Mutale Nalumango, Vice President of Zambia. The African Union Sports Council Region 5 is committed to the development and promotion of sport in the Southern African region. The Council aims to foster unity,improve sporting performance and assist athletes in achieving their goals.