"Like you, we’re horrified by the pain and suffering and loss of life that has happened.

"It shocks us to see the desperate measures that people have taken to protect their neighbourhoods, their property and their livelihoods. But we acknowledge that as professional sportspeople that we speak from a position of privilege and have little first-hand experience of the poverty in which many of our fellow South Africans live their daily lives. 

"But we do know that looting and violence and the burning of buildings will not improve the lives of anyone in the long term.

"As players, all we can do is our jobs – which is to do our best to win rugby matches in the hope of putting smiles on people’s faces and proving along the way that we are stronger when we are together. It’s not just a hashtag South Africa, we believe it to be true.

"We’re only a rugby team; made up of ordinary South Africans who love our country and all its people and want to see it prosper.

"But our country is bleeding. Let us start the healing by being stronger together."