Cape Town - Hashim Amla, captain of the Proteas, inspired the Springboks on the eve of their final Test on home
soil for 2015, in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup, when he handed out the
jerseys for the match against Argentina on Saturday.
Amla, who boasts batting averages of more than
50 in both Test and ODI cricket and is ranked in the top-four in the world in
both forms of cricket, wished the Springboks well for their next two Tests
before the team departs for England next month.
“My blood is green and so is everyone else’s in
the Protea team,” said Amla.
“We know exactly how hard and tough the world
of international sport is – we know how it goes when you do well and when you
lose. My Protea team-mates are extremely envious of me for being able to spend
time with you.
“But I’d like to let you know that we’re behind
you 100% and we’d like to wish you well for the rest of the season. You guys
play for the best rugby team in the world and you inspire the Protea fire.”
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers thanked Amla
for his time and the kind words and presented him with a signed Springbok
De Villiers, who will lead the Boks again for
the first time since his serious knee injury in November 2014,
“It was here in Umhlanga that I addressed a
press conference as Springbok captain for the first time in 2012 and being back
here is truly special,” said De Villiers.
“Wearing the Bok jersey is always special, as
everyone keeps saying. It’s been a long road back for me but by making it to
this point I think I’ve proved what can be achieved by hard work.”
De Villiers added that the players in the
Springbok squad will want to use their opportunities in the coming weeks to
push for inclusion in the Rugby World Cup squad.
“The competition for places is good and it is
something that excites me ahead of the World Cup,” said the Springbok captain.
“No-one can afford to relax. Every player has
to make use of every playing opportunity. If you don’t, you won’t make it. We
have a really exciting backline and an exciting team as a whole.
“There are obviously areas we need to improve.
There have been a few lapses in concentration over the past few weeks that have
cost us. Ideally we need to get confidence in this game, we need to get
confidence in the way we play and the way we approach it.
“But we want to focus on what we want to do and
forget results of the previous two games and rather focus on the positives that
came out of them. There are no warm-up games before the World Cup so we need to
get it right now.”