Jean de Villiers (AP)
Cape Town - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has
apologised for the team not being able to greet Springbok fans at Heathrow
airport in London.
The Boks arrived in England on Saturday morning and were
warmly welcomed by a delegation led by the South African High Commissioner to
the UK, HE Obed Mlaba, as well as representatives from the Rugby World Cup, in
the Royal Suite at the airport.
However, they were not able to greet the South African
supporters who came to Heathrow to welcome the team.
“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 De Villiers.
The Boks then set off on a two-hour journey by bus to
Eastbourne, where they will be based for the first week of the tournament.
“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
“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
The Boks open their RWC campaign against Japan in Brighton