Heyneke Meyer (pic)
Cape Town - The Springboks were greeted by sunny but cool conditions when
they landed at Heathrow on Saturday morning, but not even the typical English
weather could curb their enthusiasm as the team finally got into proper Rugby
World Cup spirit.
The Boks were warmly welcomed by a delegation led by the South African High
Commissioner to the UK, HE Mr Obed Mlaba, as well as representatives from Rugby
World Cup, in the Royal Suite at the airport.
Thereafter the team set off on a two-hour journey by bus to Eastbourne,
where they will be based for the first week of the tournament. The Boks open
their RWC campaign next Saturday against Japan in Brighton.
“Most of the talk of the last year centred around the Rugby World Cup, so it
is great to finally be here,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard for this and I can see the players are
ready. They’ve spent the last month sweating on the training field and in the
gym and can’t wait to get going.
“The pressure will be on us from the first match and every single Test will
pose different challenges. Having said that, the focus will be on what we want
to achieve from our four pool matches.
“We’ve mixed up our play a bit earlier this year but a World Cup is
different to the Rugby Championship. Decision-making will be key and although
we want to score tries and play attractive rugby, the conditions could dictate
a more tactical approach, while we must also not stray from our main
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, who will be playing in his third Rugby
World Cup, echoed Meyer's comments.
“The rugby is obviously the main thing, but it’s also important to enjoy
this special tournament as it only comes around once every four years,” said De
“We’ll be seeing parts of England we’ve never been to and the players are
very excited to experience new things and new places. We must not lose sight of
our ultimate goal though, and that is to go all the way.
“This will be a very closely contested World Cup – every single one of the
top teams have lost at least once this year and past form will count for very
little when the action starts on Friday.
De Villiers also thanked the South African supporters who came to Heathrow
to welcome the team and apologised for not being able to greet them.
“We are aware there were a lot of supporters waiting for us at Heathrow, but
unfortunately the organisers took us via an alternative exit to avert the
queues at customs and we did not get to see them. We’re very sorry about it but
it was not in our hands,” said the Bok captain.