Former Springbok flank André Venter presented the Springboks with their match jerseys on Friday morning at their team hotel in Cape Town.
Venter played in 66 Tests for the Springboks between 1996 and 2001 and was a member of the team that won the bronze medal at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom.
He has been in a wheelchair in recent years after being struck down by a degenerative syndrome of the central nervous system called transverse myelitis. He is a successful businessman and also a motivational speaker.
Venter shared some inspirational words with the Springboks before he presented the match 23 with their playing jerseys for Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.
“I can see there is something special happening within this group,” said Venter to the current crop of Springboks, and urged the players to embrace the responsibility of wearing the Green and Gold.
“It is important to believe in what you’re doing and where you’re heading. The Springboks have an unbelievable history and you must be able to write your own chapter.”
Venter had the honour to present the Bok players with their jerseys on two previous occasions, and said he was extremely grateful and blessed to do so for a third time. The honour of playing for the team and your country is something that is not easy to describe, explained Venter.
“Only when you’re no longer playing and not part of that unique circle anymore, that is when it dawns on you how special the Springbok environment is. My advice to the players is to enjoy the experience and to make a telling contribution to the rich story of the Springboks,” said Venter.
Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth described Venter as probably the hardest man ever to play for the Springboks: “He epitomises everything you want in a great Springbok, so it was an unbelievable honour to receive our Test jerseys from Andre.”
The Springboks tackle New Zealand tomorrow in a 17h05 kick off at DHL Newlands, the two teams’ final fixture of the 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championship