Rugby Championship

Wayde, 'Tannie Ans' honoured by Springboks

2017-09-29 10:47
Ans Botha (YouTube)

Bloemfontein - You don't have to spend too long in Bloemfontein before realising it is a city extremely proud in claiming Wayde van Niekerk as one of its own.

A drive past the entrance of the University of the Free State (UFS) reveals a massive billboard showing the 400m world record holder as a "Kovsie". 

Van Niekerk is one of the university's finest products, alongside the likes of Hansie Cronje, Leon Schuster and 2014 Miss World Rolene Strauss. 

But without 'Tannie Ans Botha', there would be no Van Niekerk. 

Van Niekerk's 75-year-old mentor is currently the head athletics coach at UFS and she is credited with playing a pivotal role in turning Van Niekerk into the world champion he is today.

She shot to fame at the Rio Olympics when, after Van Niekerk's success, the world was stunned to learn that his coach was a 74-year-old 'Tannie' from Bloemfontein. 

On Saturday, both Botha and Van Niekerk will be honoured by the Springboks ahead of their Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein. 

'Tannie Ans' will be the South African flag-bearer at Free State Stadium for the national anthems, while Van Niekerk has been given the honour of handing out the Springbok jerseys before the game. 

Van Niekerk was also present at the Springbok team hotel on Friday, where he took his place alongside the Boks for the traditional team photograph.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Francois Louw, 6, Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes (from): 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Lukhan Tui, 21 Ned Hanigan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Samu Kerevi, 24 Henry Speight

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