The South African Rugby Union (SARU) named the Absa Group Limited as the new official sponsor of the Springboks at a launch ceremony in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The five-year agreement will see the Absa name and logo appearing on the playing and training jersey of the Springbok and the Springbok Sevens teams in all international events, except for Rugby World Cup tournaments. The value of the sponsorship has not been disclosed.
“It’s my very great pleasure to confirm one of rugby’s longest standing friends as our new Springbok sponsor,” said Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of SARU.
“In many ways this announcement completes the circle. For the past 25 years Absa – through their various incarnations – have supported the Currie Cup and shown a commitment and passion for the sport that has few rivals among sponsors in any South African sports code.
“So it feels only right that we should now be carrying the name of such a respected and well-known South African brand on the playing jersey of our proud Springboks. We all look forward to an exciting and mutually beneficial first five years – we are, I would say, a perfect fit.”
The Springbok Sevens team will be the first team to bear the Absa name when they run out in the Wellington Sevens tournament, which starts later today (Friday).
The first full Springbok team to wear the jersey will be the Tri-Nations team that meets Australia in Sydney on July 23.
Absa Group Chief Executive Maria Ramos said the Springbok sponsorship solidified Absa’s strategy of sponsoring the leading teams and competitions in two of the top sporting codes in the country: namely soccer and rugby, with involvements in the Absa Premiership and the Absa Currie Cup respectively.
“Absa is already the national sponsor of Bafana Bafana and the Springbok sponsorship now sees two of the top national team sponsorships firmly within the Absa portfolio. While Absa’s current strategy is to create greater focus within our sponsorship portfolio, this is balanced with a broad enough range to reach all our targeted markets. As a leading financial services brand, we view our sponsorships as powerful vehicles that enable us to communicate and connect with consumers from all walks of life.” says Ms Ramos.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, said that the headline terms of the deal with Absa had been agreed in a very short space of time.
“Considering our shared history and Absa’s understanding of rugby it was very easy to come to an agreement,” he said. “The deal was largely signed and sealed within a month of our beginning to seek a new sponsor, which is a tribute to Absa’s enthusiasm for rugby and the massive appeal of the Springboks.
“Sponsors and broadcasters are now the financial lifeblood of rugby and securing major agreements such as this one assists significantly in our ability to retain our marvellous players and enjoy the incredible matches we see every weekend in South Africa. The stability such a deal offers allows us to plan with confidence.”
Back (left to right): Fourie du Preez, Zane Kirchner, Victor Matfield, Juan Smith, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Chiliboy Ralepelle. Middle: Oregan Hoskins (SARU President), Peter de Villiers (Springbok coach), Happy Ntshingila (Absa Chief Marketing and Communications Officer), Louis von Zeuner (Absa Deputy Group Executive), Jurie Roux (SARU CEO). Front: Cecil Afrika, Maria Ramos (Absa Group Chief Executive), John Smit, Neil Powell.