BLOEMFONTEIN. After a tense few days of internal wrangling, the Springboks say that they are 'relieved and happy' to be playing a team of human Welshman in tomorrow's Test in Bloemfontein. According to a spokesman, a profound lack of general knowledge had resulted in the squad thinking that they were being forced to play a test match against whales.
According to captain John Smit the announcement of the Springboks' schedule had caused outrage in the squad, which prides itself on being environmentally conscious.
"We thought SA Rugby had signed us up for two tests against whales," said Smit. "The guys were really upset when they heard that, because everyone know we should be trying to save the whales, not crash-tackling them."
Smit said his team would have had no qualms about playing rugby against less endangered fauna, such as bottlenose dolphins, but said that the Springboks had refused to take the field if it meant "putting in the hard tackles on some of those red-list species".
He conceded that the Springboks had not yet played a test against a non-human opponent and had never been asked to, but he said "anything is possible where the demands of the sponsors are concerned".
Smit used the opportunity to welcome the Welsh team to South Africa.
"It must be really nice for their guys to be up on dry land for a change, breathing air and getting some sun."
He said he had never traveled to Wales, which he described as "a beautiful and magical kingdom under the sea, ruled by whales who live in harmony with the Welsh", but said he wasn't ruling it out as "they are making hectic strides in scuba technology nowadays".
Asked how the Springboks were feeling ahead of their first test of the season, Smit said his team was "ready to give 5000 percent".
"If the Welsh turn up and give 6000 percent, then we'll just have to tap into our last 2000 percent of extra reserves and up the pressure."
He said the Springboks could "probably go up to about 7000 percent" before they "started getting hernias and stuff".
Meanwhile the Welsh team has apologized for offending the citizens of Bloemfontein after they mistook the city for an Engen One-Stop garage.
"We are deeply sorry," said team manager Gareth Gareth-Jones Jones Lllwddlw, "but it was an easy mistake to make.
"We pulled up into this little huddle of buildings that looked like a truck stop, and Coach said 'Everybody out the bus!', and we thought we were just stopping for a pee and a sausage-roll."
He said he was sure Bloemfontein had beautiful parts, and looked forward to being shown them some time, "perhaps on a postcard when I'm back in Cardiff."