Boks arrive safely after flight scare

Monday, July 18, 2011

Durban - The Springboks arrived in Sydney on Sunday evening (Australian time) on their re-scheduled Qantas flight for the opening match of their Tri-Nations campaign against the Wallabies on Saturday, 23 July.

The Boks were forced to return to Johannesburg shortly after taking off due to engine failure, which meant they only touched down in Australia 31 hours later than scheduled.

Bok captain John Smit took to Twitter on Friday to let South Africans know that the team was safe.

Qantas Airways spokesperson Olivia Wirth explained that one of the engines on the plane experienced an increase in vibration and temperature.

Wirth said the pilots followed procedure and shut down the engine, and as a safety precaution returned to Johannesburg.

"Qantas have been very good," said Bok coach Peter de Villiers. "They kept us informed throughout the night (Friday) and their general manager came through to the team meeting to explain the situation and answer any questions from the players.

"Things like this draw people closer together and hopefully that'll be the effect on this team. But right now it's all systems go," he added.

De Villiers's only focus now is getting the team geared for the start of the international season.

The coach reassured South Africans that his team is on "top of things and have made the necessary adjustments to their planning."

De Villiers added: "We have obviously been disrupted but we have managed it and now we're just looking forward to getting back to preparing for a Test match on Saturday."

The Springboks have their first field training session at the North Sydney Oval at 10am on Monday.

"That's our only focus now and it'll be good to get back onto the training ground on Monday," said De Villiers.