President Cyril Ramphosa was addressing the team and fans outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday morning, where the Springboks departed for the first leg of their nationwide tour.
Among the first players to land are Duane Vermeulen, Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi.
South Africa and Wales squared off in the second semifinal of the Rugby World Cup with the winner set to play England in next Saturday’s final.
The Springboks went into the clash off the back of a 66-7 win over Canada in their final pool match.
South Africa secured qualification for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals with a crushing victory over Canada in Kobe on Tuesday.
South Africa kept their hopes moving into the next round of the Rugby World Cup well in hand with a 49-3 win over Italy.
It's been reported Williams died from a suspected heart attack.
All proceeds raised from the Cycle Tour will be going towards two beneficiaries, the Pedal Power Association and the Rotary Club of Claremont.