Cape Town - Springbok
coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Jean de Villiers on Friday said they were
emotionally overwhelmed by the wonderful farewell to the national team on
Friday afternoon at Montecasino in Johannesburg.
Wonderful farewell (Gallo Images)
packed the Piazza at Montecasino on a warm and sunny afternoon to bid farewell
to the 31-man squad and management before they departed to England on Friday
evening for the Rugby World Cup.
The Minister for Sport and Recreation
South Africa, Fikile Mbalula, closed the occasion by wishing the team
Boks spent an hour and a half with the public before they boarded the team bus
for OR Tambo International Airport, where more fans arrived at to say good-bye.
They are scheduled to land at Heathrow early on Saturday morning.
not yet won anything, but we were treated like champions and it was really
humbling to see this amazing support,” said Meyer.
would like to thank everyone who rallied behind us in the past few weeks, as
well as all the supporters who came out today, and Minister Mbalula for his
encouraging message and unwavering support.
are truly grateful for the support and we’ll be going to England with one aim,
and that is to make our country proud. This farewell was very memorable for
everyone in our squad and we’ve taken incredible energy from it.”
also thanked the South African sporting fraternity for their well wishes and
“Shakes Mashaba of Bafana Bafana and Russell
Domingo, as well as the rest of the Proteas players and management, personally
came to wish us well and it was great to spend time with people who know what
it is like to compete at the highest level,” said Meyer.
way in which our fellow sportsmen and women have rallied behind us, was very
special and we’d like to thank them for their support too.”
Villiers admitted that the players were blown away by the reception.
behalf of all the players, I’d like to thank all the people who came out to say
goodbye to us,” said De Villiers.
entire week has been amazing and the support has been nothing but very humbling
to us. We’re just sorry that there may have been people who might not have been
able to see the players because of the size of the crowd.
we’ve gone in the last few weeks, we’ve been stopped for pictures, autographs,
handshakes and well-wishes – we’re really thankful for that and we’re going to
leave nothing out there in our quest to bring the Cup back home.”
Springboks’ first Test in the Rugby World Cup is next Saturday against Japan in