CAPE TOWN – Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said he and his team “felt very privileged” to be able to be on Robben Island on Wednesday, where they also visited Nelson Mandela’s cell.
The Boks spent their “off-day” ahead of Saturday’s final Test against England at Newlands in various locations, with the entire squad and coach Rassie Erasmus’ management taking the ferry to the island in the afternoon, while some of the players also spent time meeting fans at Canal Walk and the Springbok Experience museum at the V&A Waterfront.
The team were addressed by former Robben Island inmate Itumeleng Makwela during their tour, which included seeing where Mandela spent a lot of his 18 years on the island – along with a number of other political prisoners – where after he was transferred to Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, before being released in 1990.
Zelda la Grange, the former PA to Mandela, accompanied the Boks too.
“It was very inspiring and humbling to listen to the story of Mr Mandela and his fellow political prisoners. As a group, we felt very privileged to have made the journey across to Robben Island,” Kolisi said in a statement on Wednesday.
The spokesperson for the Robben Island Museum, Morongoa Ramaboa, added: “For us, the museum is a representation of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The Boks are our icons of inspiration, and we hope they will be triumphant on Saturday.”
The Boks clinched the series against Eddie Jones’ team with a 23-12 victory over England in Bloemfontein last weekend, and will be keen to claim a whitewash at Newlands.
Erasmus will name his team on Thursday, and said earlier this week that there will be a few changes as he looks to evaluate as many options as possible ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.