Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has revealed how tears were shed by both players and staff during the World Cup selection process.
Cutting the squad down to just 31 players was always going to be a difficult task, and beyond the inevitable controversy surrounding certain picks, Meyer's primary task was to select a balanced group.
Certain players will have every right to feel disappointed. Heinrich Brüssow was a regular starter during the Rugby Championship while a family tragedy prevented Frans Steyn from playing for a seat on the plane to England.
"All these guys put their bodies on the line. All these guys are good enough. So, to deliver that news that they haven't made the squad is tough," said Meyer after the squad announcement.
"Guys were bursting into tears when they found out they were in the group of 31. Others were crying when they found out they hadn’t made it. That is always tough for a coach, because you want to help players realise their dreams. It’s hard, the margins are so small.
"What was great to see is that most of those guys stood up and said, 'listen we're very jealous, but we support you guys, you don't just represent the country but you also represent us. We are behind you, and when there are injuries, we will be ready'.
"I see these players more than I see my own kids, and they see me probably more than they see their own fathers. you're not working with numbers, you're working with people.
"Frans [Steyn] had a really bad time. We had a great chat at the beginning of the year. He really wants to play for the Boks again. He admitted that he’s made mistakes. His brother passing was really emotional. When I spoke to him about my decision [about the World Cup] he said he understood. He was so positive though, he said: 'Coach, whenever you need me, I'm on the next flight'."
"'Frans then gave me hug and had tears in his eyes. I had tears in my eyes. There were so many players like that, who were close to making the selection."