Boks blown away by fans

2011-09-01 21:23

Johannesburg - Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and captain John Smit admitted to being overwhelmed by the fans' farewell to the Bok team on Thursday.

Gallery: All the pics from the Bok send-off

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More than 36 000 supporters crammed into Sandton on a sunny Johannesburg afternoon to say goodbye to the 30-man squad and management before they departed to New Zealand on Thursday evening.

The Springboks spent 90 minutes taking the short walk from Nelson Mandela Square to the Sandton Gautrain Station, before travelling with schoolchildren, prize winners and VIP guests to OR Tambo International Airport.

Tens of thousands of fans lined the route and crammed into Sandton in unprecedented scenes for a team departure from South Africa.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said the squad has been stunned by the reception and the weight of expectation had intensified accordingly.

"I was always nervous of having a public send-off as we have not won anything to celebrate," said De Villiers. "But when you see how South Africa is rallying behind the Springboks you cannot but be humbled and grateful.

"This will be one of the most memorable days in the lives of all our squad and we can't help but take incredible energy from it.”

John Smit said he and the players were blown away by the reception.

"I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the players to all the people and celebrities who came out to say goodbye to us,” said Smit. “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.

“But this was the culmination to an amazing few weeks - starting with the week we had in Port Elizabeth. Wherever we have gone people have been calling out, shaking hands, blowing their car horns and we’ve taken incredible energy from that.

“This squad places a lot of expectation on itself but it’s obvious that South Africa doesn’t just hope that we win this World Cup - they need us to win it.”

The Springboks departed at 20h55 on QF 64 and arrive in New Zealand at one minute to midnight on Friday night (New Zealand time).

The Boks begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Wales in Wellington on September 11.

* Can the Springboks win the World Cup? Click HERE for the latest tournament odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • BLAP - 2011-09-01 21:37

    Alles van die beste!!

      Zolani - 2011-09-02 08:05

      It was great fun in the Square yesterday until i got my bar bill, R30.00 a Draught it was worth it though, bring it back Bokke

      sakkie - 2011-09-02 08:19

      @Zolani....Your'e telling me bud, still not lekker from all that hype ! not going to be easy getting over this hangover, getting worse with age ! I'm dying right now.....not sure how I will make it through this day...but it was worth it !! Go Bokke.....

      Gazza69 - 2011-09-02 09:09

      Helluva send-off.....i think we all know this team is capable of winning the WC. They just have to get their combinations to click straight off the bat. Go Bokke!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Johann - 2011-09-01 21:52

    The send-off was brilliant and in the words of our Minister of Sport .................................... MOER HULLE !!!!

  • Thandeka - 2011-09-01 22:04

    All of the best to the boys I hope they make us proud and moer the hul out of them...and return the cup to SA...

  • Neo - 2011-09-01 22:13

    Green is thicker than blood!!! Moer hulle .... GO BOKKE!!!!

      kidblack - 2011-09-01 22:21


      Bulldozer - 2011-09-02 06:12

      Double huh?

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-09-02 08:27


      Gazza69 - 2011-09-02 09:13

      @Neo. Apparently (kid)black is "thicker" than green ......hahaha

  • Proudly SA - 2011-09-01 22:18

    Over the last few days, we have seen the Best and worst of modern South Africa; the manner the public got behind the boks along with their great humble response is in stark contrast to the moronic stupidity of Malema and ANCYL thugs who have just depirved many citizens of our country of decent jobs and self respect as a result in investment concerns about SA. These idiots should just be locked up for a very long time and have all their funding cut off as they obviously get too much money without working a minute for it.

      LoveRugby201 - 2011-09-02 10:54

      I cannot agree more. It was so great to see South Africans of all colours behaving well. Even when the Boks walked in touching distance of the supporters there was no incident of unruly berhaviour. This rally should get the same coverage overseas as the disgusting display of the ANCYL got

      Mojojo - 2011-09-02 13:07

      What was good to see was that a few hundred people caused caos outsite ANC HQ, but tens of thousand of people came out to support our boys. Well done SA. Win or loose, this nation loves its Sprinboks.

  • TheMagician - 2011-09-01 22:29

    make sure you set an example and bitch slap those cockey welsh bastads for me and make a statement in that first game please!!!! SA 57- Wales 12

      mycentswrth - 2011-09-01 23:05

      why call them bastards, you are totally out of the order.....what's wrong with you? this is a time to rejoice and support your team, without name calling.

  • Kuppy - 2011-09-01 22:30

    John you forgot to dye your hair today, i see you have gone grey in your photo. You should have retired 3 years ago, i hope im wrong and you are not one of the dead wood players in the team who are going to cost us the world cup because of Peter de Villiers's stupidity.

      GraemeBB - 2011-09-01 23:08

      Oh Kuppy - time has long gone for these type of posts. What has taken place here is far bigger than that issue. Just support the team - give them the vibe they need to do big things. And even if I am alone on this one, I dont care - BUT, even if we dont win the RWC, I still support the team I love. Go BOKKIES - MOER HULLE!!!

      Bootman - 2011-09-02 07:39

      GreameBB you are not alone........

      Ruggerman - 2011-09-02 07:53

      Kuppy you D@#s. Accept the current reality and rally behind our team. To coin a popular phrase...Either you are with us or you are against us

      Mojojo - 2011-09-02 13:17

      Kuppy, you are 100% correct. However, as GBB said, those sorts of comments belong in the posts 2 months ago. We have to get behind our boys now and will them over the proverbial line. GBB, you are not alone. We will always support our springboks.

  • Mickey Fin - 2011-09-01 22:34

    Great turn out for Malema, Great turn out for the Springboks. Who the hell works in that place?

      AntiThesis - 2011-09-02 07:41

      Work? Thats for people in First world countries my friend, here we braai all day and bask in the spoils of imperialism!!

  • bapsfontein1 - 2011-09-01 22:47

    Will be knocked out in Quarter finals so what is the hype lol

      Flee - 2011-09-02 08:36

      CHOP!!!!!!! This is rugby, not cricket...

      Sportzmad - 2011-09-02 09:14


      Emile - 2011-09-02 10:26

      Shame bapsfontein. You're obviously a very sad, lonely, pessimistic individual. You need a hug... and probably a friend.

  • Thapelo - 2011-09-01 22:50

    All the best boyz, we are behind you with Prayers and all our Hearts... Good luck Bokke!!!!

  • Legolas - 2011-09-01 23:05

    Who is the guy that lead the Boks with the anthem. I prefer the clinical, traditional way - well done!! I love it when they report good & positive news. It's great to be in a good mood, rather than being miserable after the evening news.

      AntiThesis - 2011-09-02 07:43

      It was Jay - from Eden

  • Piet - 2011-09-02 06:28

    You carry the hope and aspirations of the whole nation. Make us proud to be South Africans, in victory or defeat... but hopefully in victory !!!! BOKKE BO

  • TheDodgyRog - 2011-09-02 07:08

    ek drip soos die ou koshuis se geyser vir hierdie wereld beker.... kan nie wag nie! kick a$$ and take numbers lads! I would love to see the Web Ellis Trophy back in SA...

  • AntiThesis - 2011-09-02 07:39

    Die Bokke sal dans!!!! LOL

  • Hannetjie - 2011-09-02 07:40

    And I forgot to say - at least the Bokke drew more supporters than the ANCYL !!!!!!!!

      Zolani - 2011-09-02 08:17

      and we were better behaved

  • Lasher - 2011-09-02 07:46

    The send-off yesterday was funtabulous. All the best "Die Bokke"

  • call a spade - 2011-09-02 08:01

    Thousands of young people of all races joined together to sent off the boks in stark contrast with the rowdy lot who demonstrared at Luthuli house. Fantastic. There is hope.

      Mojojo - 2011-09-02 13:16

      Not just young, spade. Young and old, Black, White, Coloured otherwise known as South Africans. "Calls the cry to come together And united we shall stand"

  • Ryan - 2011-09-02 08:24

    go boys

  • theStained - 2011-09-02 09:17

    woot woot

  • Anneleen - 2011-09-02 09:33

    Bokke, you beauties!!!!!

  • MaKaZa - 2011-09-02 09:36

    Is so amazing how sports brings South African's together as one rainbow nation. Was really touched by what I saw in Sandton-one nation. It is in these moments when we forget about race and our insolent child -Julius Malema

  • NZBokkie - 2011-09-02 09:48

    I was overwhelmed by the send-off when I saw it on the NZ news tonight. So much so that we are making the trip to the airport at midnight tonight to welcome them to NZ. They have plenty support here in Wellington. GO BOKKE !!

  • NZBokkie - 2011-09-02 09:53

    Have my tickets for 2 matches in Wellington - can't wait!

  • Emile - 2011-09-02 10:13

    Every South African on the planet - BLACK, WHITE, YELLOW, BRONZE, GREEN, SPECKLED, SPOTTED, MULTI-LUMO-FLURO-COLOURED - We're behind you bokke!!!

  • Jason - 2011-09-02 11:20

    im wearing that bok on my chest till sun goes down

  • Emile - 2011-09-02 11:49

    I have a feeling... that with all the support shown yesterday, a group of SUPER CHARGED Springboks got onto that plane last night, and that NZ may have their hands full in the semis... guess we can only wait and see :) Best of luck boys. Springboks forever

  • Forty - 2011-09-02 15:36

    Just win - and if you do lose, lose fighting.

  • andrew.kay1 - 2011-09-03 07:43

    So right, Divvy, we need you to win it to continue in our march to a non-racial SA. The country needs the sense of unity that these sporting events engender, but if you lose, we will still be behind you, we will support you regardless. We know what winning does for the country, there are still so many with hatred and a negative outlook on things. At the end of the day, that is what we must overcome also, that dreary "Voice of Nooit". I argue it is the will of the SA people that can lead us to find the social solutions to the many ills we face. Winning adds fuel to the fire, but the fire will burn regardless. We will overcome. Viva Bokke, viva Snor, you make us proud.

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