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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Delport relishes international recall
Thinus Delport
Delport is loving his return to favour with the Springboks
Thinus Delport is revelling at the chance to have a second shot at his international rugby career.

Delport looked to have ended his time with the Springboks at the start of last season when he joined English Premiership side Gloucester.

Previously players plying their trade abroad were overlooked for the South African national side.

But in June the Cherry and Whites loaned him to South African Rugby until the end of the World Cup.

Delport explained: "It is one hell of an honour to have the opportunity to play for the national side.

"To play for the Springboks at the World Cup is the ultimate, and it is something I want to make count and show that I deserve my place."

Delport has been a regular of late in the Springbok squad, playing for much of the Tri-Nations at full-back and on the right wing.

But his return to favour, as well as his Cup call-up, have left him stunned.

We have to overcome England if we want to have any chance of making the final
Thinus Delport

He added: "I was content to play out my days in the United Kingdom. But I never expected things to happen so fast.

"When I heard that there was an opportunity to get back to South Africa and play for the national side, I didn't think twice, I immediately started making arrangements to let them know I was interested.

"You must remember I was at the (Natal) Sharks while Rudolf (Straeuli) was coach there and it didn't seem as if he was that interested in using me at the time, that's why I made the decision to go abroad."

South Africa have increasingly fallen out of contention for the World Cup after a string of inconsistent performances as well as continuing wholesale changes in the squad by Straeuli.

But Delport believes the Springboks, who won the event in 1995, are still in contention for overall victory.

The first major obstacle is their toughest group game against England on 18 October.

"We know that October 18 is the first big date for us and we have to overcome that if we want to have any chance of making the final," he added.

"My goal is to make sure that I make the side in the first place. Then, I want to make a positive contribution to the side so that we do well at this World Cup."

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