Springboks feeding off massive local hype

Enormous public expectation and massive public send off have given South Africa’s Springboks tremendous energy ahead of the Rugby World Cup according to captain John Smit.

The Springboks are hoping to become the first team to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups but before flying out to New Zealand they will attend a public farewell which has been heavily promoted and is expected to attract 100,000 fans.

South Africa have not had a good year in Rugby after they surrendered their Super Rugby title to Australia and for the first time in years had no presence in the final.

In the TriNations they fielded a second string team for their away games which prompted New Zealand to field a second string team for their match in South Africa which they lost 18-5.

That victory was the only TriNations victory for the Springboks this year but they have taken much confidence from the result as they know they should improve as the team gets more game time together.

“There are similarities to 2007 in terms of preparation, but there’s far greater expectation this time.”

“In 2007, we hoped we’d do well, but this time the country really needs us to do well,” Smit told Reuters.

“That expectation doesn’t cage us though, it empowers us.”

The 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning captain said that after they had beaten the All Blacks two weeks ago they had stepped up their training and public support had also grown.

“The last two weeks have been incredible and have provided unbelievable energy for the squad,” the 33-year-old said.

“It’s amazing to think there’ll be close to 100,000 people to send us off this afternoon and the harder we work, the more the excitement seems to build. “

“As a squad, we would like to just say ‘thank you’ for the energy we’ve received from outside.

“We’ve had a massive week-and-a-half of really hard training, it was time to put the hammer down, and when the players slump in their seats in the aeroplane tonight, I think they’ll all be relieved that there’s nobody to chase us around a field for the next 36 hours.”

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