SA Rugby president Mr Mark Alexander and Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane on Thursday expressed their delight that they would be allowed to play in front of capacity crowds in local Tests for the first time since 2019 when they kick off the Incoming Series against Wales next week as the team wrapped up the third week of their training camp in Pretoria.
Their comments followed the announcement by Health Minister Joe Phaahla on Wednesday evening that government repealed the limitations on public events and gatherings.
The players will enjoy a well-deserved rest at home for the next few days before re-assembling in Johannesburg on Sunday where they will get down to business for their opening Test against Wales at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 2 July.
“Having these games at full stadiums is very important to us, and also with no masks, so life has almost turned back to normal,” said Mr Alexander.
“But that does not mean that we should no longer practice safe social distancing. We have to be responsible in the stadiums, and we would like to convey that message to our spectators as we look forward to an exciting and tough series against Wales.”
Nyakane was equally thrilled said: “As the Springboks we really missed having fans in the stadiums. I don’t think people understand how much the crowd means to us, and I would like to urge our fans to buy tickets and to come and watch the games.
“I promise we will do our best as we always do.”
Zoning in on the Tests against Wales, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said: “Wales are an experienced team so we will have to adapt and change things on the run during the series.
“Wayne Pivac (Wales head coach) told me that they have never won a series in South Africa before and that will be their mission, so they will be focused and desperate.”
Nyakane expanded on the coach’s comments saying: “Wales will come at us with a lot of experience, and they are a team that do not give an inch. They will keep coming until the final whistle sounds.
“But as a team we have been training hard and we will continue to do so next week when we assemble for our first Test week.
“We are really looking forward to playing at home in front of crowds, and for me personally to come back to what was formerly home for me in Pretoria.
“We are ready for the challenge.”
We are opening Loftus to 100% capacity when the Boks take on Wales next Saturday 🔥 Be the first to watch the World Cup winners live on home soil. Get your tickets at TicketPro NOW: https://t.co/Vs3aTJzCF5 pic.twitter.com/vw6S6Z6DM0
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) June 23, 2022
Photo: Dan Mullan – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images
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