Damian Willemse and Willie le Roux interact with Springbok fans at a signing session in Port Elizabeth this week. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – The Springboks are on a high following their memorable victory over the All Blacks in Wellington, and it has shown in their build-up to Saturday’s clash against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.

Normally very workmanlike in their approach to a Test match, the Boks have put themselves out and about in the “Friendly City” over the past few days.

That is because it’s all part of the bigger picture of paying homage to former President Nelson Mandela, who would’ve celebrated his 100th birthday on July 18 this year.

The Springboks have dedicated Saturday’s Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to Madiba, and visited captain Siya Kolisi’s first primary school Emsengeni, with pupils also painting a special mural that will go up in the Bok change room on match-day.

They also had an open training session on Monday at the match venue, where they held a signing session afterwards.

“The activities were not distracting at all – in fact, it served as a motivating factor for us if you just look at how much this Test and the occasion mean for the city and the Springbok supporters,” Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said on Thursday.

Erasmus, who comes from Despatch, was one of a number of players and management members who hail from the Eastern Cape who were honoured with a breakfast at the Grey Junior School on Wednesday.

Aphiwe Dyantyi (Ngcobo), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (King William’s Town), Kolisi (Zwide) and Elton Jantjies (Graaff-Reinet) are part of the match-23 who were all born in the Eastern Cape.

Springbok Team

15 Willie le Roux 14 Cheslin Kolbe 13 Jesse Kriel 12 André Esterhuizen 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handre Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Steven Kitshoff 18 Wilco Louw 19 RG Snyman 20 Marco van Staden 21 Embrose Papier 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Damian Willemse.



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