The South African rugby team, which won their third World Cup in Japan last year, have been crowned Team of the Year at the Laureus Sports Awards, beating European football champions Liverpool and women's World Cup football winners United States.
Captain Siya Kolisi took to the podium in Berlin to accept the award on the team's behalf and delivered a heartfelt speech about the power sports had to cross boundaries and unite people from all backgrounds.
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi have been declared joint winners of World Sportsman of the Year, with voting tied for the first time in the awards' 20-year history.
Mercedes driver Hamilton won his sixth world championship in 2019, with 11 race wins and 17 podium finishes, while Messi was crowned the world's best football player for a record sixth time, when he won the Ballon d'Or.
Hamilton thanked the greats before him, saying: "I've been inspired by so many of you.
"It's all of our responsibility to use our platform for really pushing for gender equality, inclusivity, and making sure that we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today."
Messi did not travel to Berlin for the prize and sent a message of thanks by video.
He tweeted: "I am honoured to be the first to win this award, being a sportsperson coming from a team sport."
American gymnast Simone Biles, who became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history, when she won her 25th medal last year, won her third Sportswoman of the Year title, after winning the award in 2017 and 2019.
German NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, who retired last year, after a 21-year career in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to basketball.
German Formula Three driver Sophia Floersch, who required 11-hour surgery, after fracturing her spine in an aerial crash at the Macau Grand Prix in November 2018, won the Comeback of the Year, after returning to the cockpit last year.
Former Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar, the highest run-scorer of all time in international cricket, had the support of a cricket-crazy nation to win a fan vote for Best Sporting Moment from the last two decades.
In his sixth and final one-day international World Cup in 2011, Tendulkar finally got his hands on the title, as India won on home soil and he was carried on his teammates' shoulders for a lap of honour.
The awards were held at a glittering ceremony in Berlin.
List of winners:
Sportsman of the Year: Lewis Hamilton (motorsport) and Lionel Messi (football)
Sportswoman of the Year: Simone Biles (gymnastics)
Team of the Year: Springboks (rugby)
Breakthrough of the Year: Egan Bernal (cycling)
Comeback of the Year: Sophia Floersch (motorsport)
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oksana Masters (rowing & skiing)
Action Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Kim (snowsports)
Best Sporting Moment: 'Carried on the shoulders of a nation' - Sachin Tendulkar (cricket)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dirk Nowitzki (basketball)
Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award: Spanish Basketball Federation
Laureus Sport for Good Award: South Bronx United