Springboks keeping Madiba in their thoughts

Madiba’s daughters and several grandchildren visited him in hospital on Friday.

FILE: Former president Nelson Mandela on July 17, 2012. Picture: AFP/ CLINTON FOUNDATION/ BARBARA KINNEY

JOHANNESBURG - The Springboks have paid tribute to former president Nelson Mandela, saying they'll keep him in their thoughts when they take to the field on Saturday.

The Boks take on Scotland in the second match of their incoming tour.

Captain Jean de Villiers said the team is joining the rest of the world in wishing Madiba a speedy recovery.

"Madiba has done so much for this country and he's an incredible person. From a Springbok point of view, all we can do is honour him as much as we can on the rugby field."

The ailing statesman is spending a seventh day at the Pretoria Heart Hospital where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection.

Madiba's daughters and several grandchildren visited him in hospital on Friday.

His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is still by his side.

Madiba's eldest grandson Mandla Mandela is visiting from the Eastern Cape, but it is unclear if he will visit his grandfather on Friday.

Earlier, religious leaders held a brief prayer service at one of the entrances of the facility.

They asked that the 94-year-old statesman be comforted during this difficult time.

Colourful posters with messages of support surrounded the entrance of the hospital.