Boks receive warm NZ welcome

2011-09-02 17:01

Wellington - The Springboks were welcomed to New Zealand in amazing fashion as more than 1 000 vocal supporters crammed into the small arrivals area at Wellington International Airport to greet the defending World Champions.

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After their amazing send-off in Sandton on Thursday, the Boks arrived in Wellington just after midnight on Friday night (NZ time) to find a hardened base of support waiting for them in the bitterly cold late-night air.

But not even the cold stopped the fans from seeing their heroes, as they chanted, were swept away by the moment and even broke into strains of the national anthem and Shosholoza as they waited.

The arrival was in stark contrast to their main pool rivals Wales, who arrived earlier in the day to a handful of fans who wished the team well in their endeavours.

A major media contingent also braved the late night to show just how respected the Boks are in these parts, and shortly after midnight the team emerged to find a local Maori group welcome them with the Kapa Haka – a traditional greeting for visitors from abroad.

But pandemonium broke loose when the Boks entered the hall, with fans singing and calling the names of their favourite players, trying to grab signatures or even just a handshake from their heroes.

Some of the favourites included Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Lambie and Victor Matfield, while Bakkies Botha and Beast Mtawarira had their names chanted in unison.

Captain John Smit even got a marriage proposal from a fan, who wasn’t scared to let him know that he is well supported in New Zealand.

The Boks were tired, but still managed some time for autographs and photos with fans before being whisked away to their hotel for some much needed shuteye.

The team will give their first press conference on Saturday, followed by a light training run to help shake off the jetlag.


  • odysseus - 2011-09-02 17:09

    lots of Saffas in NZ for sure...maybe even a few Kiwis to add to the mix.....may our boys leave as heroes too...

      Mark Stevenson - 2011-09-02 22:09

      Nobody does it like SA! I looked at all the other SEND offs from other countries and it was rubbish compared to ours! The send off Yesterday and now the reception in NZ is amazing!!!! It is great when you have a team that could make you proud and actually win something! GO BOKS!

      nzbro - 2011-09-04 07:15

      Aah...Welcome to MY parlour...said the SPIDER to the fly...wanna play..?

  • - 2011-09-02 17:15

    WOW!! Awesome! :-)

      odysseus - 2011-09-02 17:32

      We have a special bunch of guys.... made all the more poignant by the fact that for several, this will be their swansong. Regardless of their recent woes, coaching deficiencies etc etc, there are some pretty unique manne in the team... they have been scarred and sculpted by this beautiful game to become the substance of legend, their names to be whispered in the halls of fame for years to come.... Such a magnificent send off and arrival welcome is the natural response. I love it... - 2011-09-02 18:11

      Beautifully said odysseus.....they are indeed a special bunch of guys and, as you say, a magnificent send off and arrival welcome is a natural response! I'm SO proud of them! It truelly is, for me and I'm sure MANY others, 'the stuff goosebumps are made of'!!

      Emile - 2011-09-02 18:47

      I get goosebumps just reading what you guys have to say! Patriotism is a beautiful thing :) GO BOKKE!!!

  • Dmitri - 2011-09-02 17:19

    Having never been to that part of the world, how long does it take to get over the jet lag? Nice to see the guys being greeted like that. - 2011-09-02 17:46

      You are going to feel wobbly for 3/4 days

      Blip - 2011-09-02 18:39

      One day per time-zone to shake jetlag. SA to NZ = 11 time-zones.

  • - 2011-09-02 17:21

    I am starting to feel the goose bumps now. I have my Bok jersy on now and am not sure when I am going to take it off. - 2011-09-02 18:18

      Lol! Keep wearing it!

  • BOKBEFOK - 2011-09-02 17:32

    Go Bokke, Moer hulle. Bliksem hulle.

      odysseus - 2011-09-02 17:47

      that was one serious team-building and nation building speech..... just loved it..

      Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-02 19:13

      I wonder whether the Bokke understood what the Minister meant when he said 'MOER HULLE". He actually meant if the boks don't come home with the Cup, he is going to tell the same crowd at the airport when they arrive back "MOER HULLE".

      Rika - 2011-09-02 19:39

      Laat die Bokke dans!!

  • Ozman - 2011-09-02 17:48

    Bok's in for a hiding mate, Aussie-Aussie-Aussie

      Drewka - 2011-09-02 18:05

      Sorry maid, maybe if the Ozzies played in a rugby league world cup they would stand a chance. This is Web Ellis time and the boks are king of the jungle!!!

      Ichabod - 2011-09-02 18:08

      Expect Cooper to go missing in the big games. Like a rabbit down a hole, like a rat up a pole... gone, AWOL, poof!

      Dmitri - 2011-09-02 18:14

      @Ozman, you have one good player - Cooper - who is a game winner for the opposition... The Boks to kick the kangaroo out of Oz is my prediction - 2011-09-02 18:23

      Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi. Drop your slacks and show your cracks and throw a brown eye for Australia.

  • Collitjies - 2011-09-02 18:04

    So good to hear they were wecomed by such a large crowd.

  • Dan - 2011-09-02 18:09

    Really sad to read how our players are respected all over the world but in SA a large group of pathetic fans always play them down. In any event, the Boks deserve the hero's welcome they received and thank goodness the send off was held in Gauteng with similar patriotic support.

      Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-02 19:23

      @Dan. Good remark. Another example, it is sad to see how Madiba are respected all over the world, but in SA a large group of people don't give him the true respect he deserve.

      GraemeBB - 2011-09-02 23:34

      @RAZZ - I think that Madiba is respected by a very large majority of white South Africans, and I think you are just passing air, through the mouth. @Dan - I agree, and I am quite vocal about the negative apples, or those whom choose to support other nations. And even if I am alone in this one, which I am sure I am not, I will support the boys even if they dont win the RWC. We all had our turn to express our opinions about the management and selections - now it is time to stand behind our boys all the way!! Go Bokke

  • slg - 2011-09-02 18:23

    Enjoy it. It's likely to be a short stay.

      JustinD - 2011-09-02 18:33

      What's the plains like in Spring time??????

  • gooseneck - 2011-09-02 18:45

    Bok Bef0k!

  • ALL WHITES (BOKKE) - 2011-09-02 19:29

    Wonder what all those 'loyal' BOK supporters are doing in the land of the HAKA...maybe ran away from their 'local is not so lekka' country. So who is more of a traitor? Those who stayed behind in SA and support the All Blacks or those who deserted their country to live in the land of their foes so they can support the Bokke in the comfort of NZ hospitality. There are probably more Bok supporters who ran away from Malema-land than there are Kiwi supporters in SA.....Go NZ...Go...ALL Blacks...

      Jackool - 2011-09-02 19:44

      Oh shut up will you and enjoy the moment

      BardofAvon - 2011-09-02 19:58

      They have paid a bitter emotional price for their physical sanctity. Trying to disown your country is like trying to disown your parents. You can't.

      Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-09-02 20:13

      @Jackool. ALL WHITES (BOKKE) is spot on!!! One cannot deny the fact. It does not make sense to leave your home country whom you don't have any confedence in and emigrate to NZ but still support the Boks. How coward can one be. If those "LOYAL' bok supporters children grow up and start playing rugby who are they going to play for if they prosper, NZ. Will be a lovely sight to see a bok fan now supports the ALL BLACKS. You UNFORTUNATELY cannot play for the bokke while staying in NZ. There is NO difference to support the Bokke and live in NZ or live in SA and support the ALL BLACKS. "MOERE DIE BOKKE" !!!!

      Clint - 2011-09-02 20:45

      So tell me something genius, who were all those people supporting the Crusaders in Cape Town and the All Blacks in PE? Were they all Kiwis who had run away from their "local is not so lekker" country? No chance that a fair few of those people at the airport were actually NZ rugby fans who appreciate the Boks as a great team? And how many South African fans have flown over for the tournament? If you had, would you not be at the airport? And were those South Africans doing the Kapa Haka and not locals? Use your brain and not your ass to do your thinking! It must be sad always going through life desperately looking for a negative spin on things. You must be one depressed individual if you cannot enjoy any moment. - 2011-09-02 21:07

      Try as you might you will NOT "rain on our parade"! @ Razzmatazz and All whites Bokke[?]...... political comments like yours become SOOOOO tedious and BORING!! One can live ANYWHERE one chooses on this God-given planet and still have PATRIOTISM!!!! Get over yourselves and get a life!!

      Jackool - 2011-09-02 21:35

      Well Raz, I support the Boks when they play anyone. I support AB's and Australia when they play anyone in Europe..except maybe the French. When the French play anyone, except SA, I support them. Of course I have various reasons for supporting who I support. Question is, who the hel1 are you guys to tell anybody who they may and may not support. Please keep your bitter political opinions for yourselves and allow people to support whoever they want. Besides, if you want to draw the coward card, and want to see the world that way, please just remember that as South Africans chances are your forefathers once left their countries for greener pastures too. If that makes them cowards you have it in your blood.

      Vusi9 - 2011-09-02 22:42

      @ All Whites, a man now suppose to change his blood every time he travels a bit. You don't know the reason or situation behind every expat. Why don't you just relax and let every man decide for himself. I must say I do detect a bit of bitterness in your comment, maybe you are talking about yourself rather than others'.

      Wormtongue - 2011-09-02 23:41

      Mmmm. What about the guys that support the ABs, but left Malema land for greener pastures (not NZ). Double or triple traitors? And pssst.... the All White curse was broken in 1981 (Errol Tobias) - that would be 30 years ago. You are evidently quite content to insult our Bok players of colour.

      Rugbug - 2011-09-03 02:35

      Three important things here in NZ : Freedom of choice, tolerance and respect. I am an All Black supporter, but I was there at the Bok welcome at Wellington airport, because I respect them. It was a fantastic atmosphere to see all the Bok supporters, and guess what....there was no animosity, just a fantastic moment to savour and remember. That is what sport is supposed to be about in my book!

      Wormtongue - 2011-09-03 08:12

      Good on you Rugbug for being such a charming fellow. But I strongly suspect you would not exactly embrace New Zealand citizens or expats who diss the All Blacks. That is what a few absolute Saffa trolls try and do to the Boks on an SA News website - they serve poison and we remind them to shove it.

  • di - 2011-09-02 20:41

    Wow! That's so cool :)

  • CPII - 2011-09-02 21:43

    I support the Boks. I also support Bafana. I also support Caster and Bladerunner. This is my heart speaking. My common sense tells me the World Cup will go to the Nortern Hemisphere. We beat England by the skin of our teeth in 2007.

      Dmitri - 2011-09-03 14:15

      @CPII, I like your post, but may I recommend a "heart transplant"? (Only joking)

  • John Paul - 2011-09-02 22:20

    Go Bokke Go!

  • Clinton - 2011-09-02 22:52

    It was good to welcome the Bokkie

  • simon.theman.barnes - 2011-09-03 01:36

    yeah really makes you proud to be a Saffa!! just wish they were playing in Christchurch, i can't afford to fly up to auckland :(

  • Dawn - 2011-09-03 06:38

    I had my photo taken with Schalk Burger at Wellington Airport, hope the boks can shake off their jetlag.

      hendrik.pienaar - 2011-09-03 06:47

      Girlfriend snuck in couple of photos with Divvy and Ruan Pienaar! Fantastic atmosphere at Wellington Airport! Thought there'd only be about 10 of us, not almost 1,000!!!! GO BOKKE!!!

  • andrew.kay1 - 2011-09-03 07:26

    The phenomenon that is the New South African vibe is a liberation from hatred, a coming together of all races in support of the ideal of a non-racial world. We are at our strongest when we harness this energy, it is what won us two rugby World Cups, the African Cup of Nations and inspired Bafana to play way above their ranking in the WC last year. Viva unity, viva freedom, viva the Bokke. In this world we are free to move where we wish, be who we want, and support whoever we choose from wherever we are in the world. Take the blinkers off, if people leave the country they are not traitors to the cause of the New SA, but rather ambsassadors for it. To think of the Bokke as "white" is so erroneous. Need I say, Beast, JP, Bryan, Geo, Chilliboy, Ashley (I know he's on standby) are players of "colour". And the coach? Oh yes, him too. And Snor has his heart in the right place, I can assure you. Look not at the colour of the player's skin, but the colour of his jersey, and the colour of his blood. That's what unites us, our humanity. Go Bokke, we love you and we are behind you all the way, win or lose. Amandla! - 2011-09-03 09:52

      As you say Andrew....."we support them WIN OR LOSE" true supporters should do. I cannot understand 'supporters' who don't know that SUPPORT means just that - through thick and thin. Viva Springboks!

  • Mordy - 2011-09-03 10:15

    Reading about the amazing reception that the Bokke got almost brought tears to my eyes! Songs like Shosholoza bring back so many memories of previous World Cups, that ichy feeling that you have inside you, which you can't quite explain. Oh I wish I could have been there! Makes me proud to be a South African!! GO BOKKE!!! BRING IT HOME BOYS!!!!

  • Tankertugger - 2011-09-03 12:25

    Make the most of it bokke.

  • cupid - 2011-09-03 15:51

    I found a video on you tube of them arriving. They were officially welcomed by a Powhiri which is a traditional maori welcome and a lot of bok fans there too!

  • bapsfontein1 - 2011-09-04 03:15


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