Mandela provides extra incentive

Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers and stand-in skipper Victor Matfield will be hoping to give South African icon Nelson Mandela the perfect birthday present by beating Australia in Perth on Saturday. [more]

Mandela provides extra incentive

Springbok head coach Peter de Villiers and stand-in skipper Victor Matfield will be hoping to give South African icon Nelson Mandela the perfect birthday present by beating Australia in Perth on Saturday.

Mandela, who spent three decades behind bars during South Africa’s apartheid regime before inspiring the nation to victory at the 1995 World Cup, reached another milestone when he turned 90 today.

"Mr Mandela has always had a special bond with the Springboks that goes back many years now,"  said Matfield.

"He always inspires us and whenever he has attended our matches we lift our game.

"From all the players, a very happy birthday Madiba. We hope to do our bit to make your birthday weekend very memorable."

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The moment when Mr Mandela lifted the William Webb Ellis Trophy with Francois Pienaar is quite possibly the most iconic image of the world game and de Villiers insists that the former president’s support is still very much appreciated.

“We want to wish former President Mandela a very happy birthday," said de Villiers

"We hope he has a restful day surrounded by friends and family.

"He is the father of the nation, an icon of all that is good about our country, and I would like to thank him on behalf of the team for the sustained support he gives the Springboks every year.

"Hopefully, we will make him proud tomorrow."

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