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Div: "We Will Go All Out"

 Aug 30,2011
Written by: Delon Cheketri
 

Once the Springboks start making their way through the streets of Sandton the phrase 'Ke Nako' will once again best describe the feeling of millions as they bid farewell to the men who will be taking their hopes and dreams with them.

South Africa's rugby elite depart for the World Cup in New Zealand on Thursday in what should again be a unifying experience for the nation who, regardless of race, gender or creed, stood behind Bafana Bafana prior to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

For Springbok coach Peter de Villiers the Ke Nako ("It's time") feeling kicked in the day he announced the group of 30 men he trusts will bring back the William Webb Ellis trophy.

"It is so amazing, you know you are in control and you know that you will select a team and the reality only really struck me last week when we named the squad," said De Villiers.

"At that point I knew that now we can’t run away from our responsibilities, so whatever you did, whether you won a Lions Series or a Tri-Nations it will never count for anything when you board that plane."

Thousands of fans are expected to line the streets of Sandton as the team makes an on-stage appearance in Nelson Mandela Square from midday even though festivities will only officially get underway at 3.30pm when the Springboks are scheduled to make their final appearance.

Afterwards the team will walk to the Gautrain station where they will be whisked off to the OR Tambo International Airport.

The "Fans' Farewell" will be broadcast live on radio and television and with artists Axene, Danny K, Graeme Watkins Project, Jay, La Vuvezela, Gold Fish and Freshly Ground instructed to liven up proceedings.

Looking ahead to the mighty task the Springboks have before them, De Villiers gave his assurance that the group he selected will do the nation proud.

"We have a lot more responsibilities towards our people than what may be the case in some other countries and for us, to focus on something that happened in the past would not have been good for us," he said when asked to reflect on the recent Tri-Nations.

"All of the games between nations are intense, and I think looking at this World Cup, for this nation it will not be a trophy that we bring back, it will be more than that if we win it and that is why the pressure is really on us.

"That is why we understand our responsibility towards our nation and that is why we will go all out."

As was the case in 2010, the Springboks only managed to win one of their Tri-Nations matches while Australia won the title for the first time in a decade.

The Springbok mentor insisted that the All Blacks remain favourites despite the slip-ups they made in their last two matches.

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