'It was so hard leaving Kwagga behind in Japan'

ILKE SMITH, the wife of Yamaha Júbilo and Springbok flank Kwagga, tells about her emotional trip back to South Africa.

I left Japan last Saturday to be with my mom at home. It was so hard leaving Kwagga behind, because I had no idea when I would see him again.

At that stage, the players had yet to hear if or when Japan's Top League season, which had been suspended for three weeks, would resume.

The airport in Tokyo was almost empty, as was the plane I was on. But not having many people around me actually put me at ease.

The airport staff were extremely cautious; they wore gloves and masks and sanitised everything.

When I arrived in South Africa I had my temperature taken and it was normal.

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On Monday, the rest of the Top League season was cancelled.

I feel so sorry for the Japanese as they are very proud of their league and I know it breaks the players' hearts not being able to continue playing.

Luckily, Kwagga was able to get on a flight back home and I'm so grateful to be with him again.

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We now have to self-isolate for two weeks and take all the necessary precautions, including washing our hands, not going to the shops, etc.

We only have to be tested if we start showing any symptoms.

As told to Savannah ConnacherFollow Ilke on Instagram