Bok farewell 'surreal'

2011-09-03 16:57

Wellington - Rugby World Cup debutant Juan de Jongh was overwhelmed by the Springbok team's farewell, which drew thousands of fans to Sandton, and the reception they received from hundreds of supporters when they arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, late on Friday.

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"It was fantastic there in Sandton to see how the people took time out to come and see us off," said De Jongh, one of only 12 members of South Africa's squad making their first appearance at the global showpiece.

"To arrive here with the same hype surrounding us made the whole experience about four or five times better than I could have ever imagined," he said.

"The way we were received last night was amazing, we knew that when we came over it was going to be big, but that was incredible."

Bok skipper John Smit said before the team departed that they were feeling under more pressure than before they won the title four years ago, but De Jongh said the reception they received had boosted morale.

"I think the support we got does more for our confidence than adding pressure," he said.

De Jongh said had also accepted that he was likely to play second fiddle to South Africa's experienced centre pairing of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie.

"I am very privileged to be here and to have been selected ahead of so many other great centres like Wynand Olivier and an experienced guy like Adi Jacobs," De Jongh said.

"I know the guys who are here very well and I've played with them, so I'm looking forward to working with them once more.

"Hopefully I can use my chance when it is given to me by the coaches." Meanwhile, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers came out in support of his captain at the team's first official press conference in Wellington.

De Villiers said Smit, shifted back and forth in the front row for the last couple of seasons, was the best number two in the business.

"John is the best hooker in world rugby at the moment so we will be very sensible when we make selections," De Villiers said.

Smit said he was comfortable playing at hooker or prop.

"Obviously I prefer hooker but really the last couple of years I have been playing wherever it is needed for the team," he said.


  • Colin Dovey - 2011-09-03 17:30

    Good one Juan - looking forward to seeing you shine!

  • slg - 2011-09-03 18:22

    And it will likely be a surreal return, with no cup and the stark contrast of a passionate rugby nation with strong player resources and an unwise SARU and political leadership that will hopefully realize expedient decisions are wrong and do not lead to success. Appoint coaches on merit alone, only those who know how to win tournaments consistently, and select players on merit alone too.

      odysseus - 2011-09-03 19:09

      I understand and in some ways respect and agree with your view here slg...... but I would like to add something further...YES, we are handicapped with all the political rubbish...but for this world cup we have a bunch of very special players bowing out this year. In the raging storm of political selections, expedient decisions and an inept SARU, there is something that is easily overlooked... real character and true greatness arises from such a storm, from the ashes of mediocrity and from the cesspool of small ruling men with administrative/political agendas. Yes the boks may return early with nothing to show, but for now there is hope and lots of it. These warriors will not go out lightly...

      slg - 2011-09-03 19:29

      I love what you say and feel inspired. Thank you.

      slg - 2011-09-03 19:43

      But I think it's going to be short-lived, unfortunately.

      odysseus - 2011-09-03 20:27

      yea we must wait and see.... for me I'm hopeful... Remember we have got quite used to 10 man rugby over the years.... and like it or hate it, this is the world cup rugby. recipe.. The all blacks on the other hand have perfected poetic running rugby, but this hasn't won them too much in the way of world cups. So do they change their game plan? Or do they stick to the recipe that has not proved successful in the past....? This has to be playing on their minds... at the least we don't have to think about changing our game plan, as unattractive as it may seem.. Ah man... what will be will be. I can't wait to see it all unravel..

      Howzitekse - 2011-09-03 20:31

      Funny thing is that since Doc Craven, this is the best SARU we have had. Also less politics than ever in the history of the game. On merit it would be between Jake, PDV and Mallett.

      slg - 2011-09-03 21:04

      It's frustrating how we sabotage ourselves. It's naive and dumb. With our players and passion, we can and should constantly be leading the way, with powerful forward and attacking back play, but we're not. It's a big pretense. Peter doesn't know what he's doing. He's never coached at this level before. He's out there showing off, like a teenager. What are we doing?

  • slg - 2011-09-03 18:27

    A passionate rugby nation contrasted by unwise SARU and ANC leaders who make expedite choices at the expense of success. See you mid-September Juan. Sorry that the leaders have let you down. Demand change, and don't stop until it has been achieved.

  • slg - 2011-09-03 18:32

    Taking short cuts does not work SARU and ANC. Do the work, then success will come. You're destroying a century of South African rugby strength with your immature decisions.

  • Davearch - 2011-09-03 19:19

    I really hope Juan plays .. he is a star in the making and offers so much more in the backline, with that pace and defence. Its all about pace .. and I hope Aplon also gets a chance ... so wonderfully gifted ..

  • GraemeBB - 2011-09-03 23:54

    NO JOHN - YOU ARE A HOOKER OR NOTHING. You are just being foolish if you think you can slot in at prop.

  • Joshua Austin - 2011-09-04 09:52

    Juan was dissapointing on the overseas leg of the Tri-Nations, but then again most of the Baby Boks were...

  • Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-04 12:48

    Surely you dont know what the word GREAT means!! Wynand Olivier a GREAT centre!! lol!! If he is great what would you call Jaques Fourie, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Brian o' Driscoll and SBW???

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