The Springbok Sevens and 15 other international rugby teams received a warm welcome this evening on their arrival at the Port Elizabeth Airport ahead of the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens on 9-10 December.
The Springbok Sevens team arrive in South Africa from Dubai (Twitpic: Paul Delport)
Kyle Brown and his team mates arrived in the Friendly City after flying to South Africa from Dubai via Johannesburg were welcome by Nelson Mandela Bay City officials and the local African drum band. This will be the first tournament staged in the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, one of several venues built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Brown said he and his team mates are excited by the prospect of playing at their new home venue. “We spent three weeks on the road (in the Gold Coast) and Dubai) and are really looking forward to play in our own tournament in front of our home fans.
“Things might not have gone according to plan in Dubai yesterday but we are upbeat about the prospects of playing in South Africa. We will regroup this week, focus really hard in training and then give it our best effort from Friday,” said Brown, pictured below at the 2011 Dubai Sevens by Susan vd Riet.
Robert Ebersohn has returned to Bloemfontein to rejoin the Toyota Cheetahs in their Vodacom Super Rugby preparations and his place has been filled by rookie Cornal Hendricks. The Regent Boland Cavaliers player recently signed a two year contract with SARU to play for the Blitzbokke and will in all likelihood make his international debut on Friday.
The teams, including fellow African countries Morocco, Zimbabwe and Kenya, were accompanied by eight tournament referees, ten assistant referees and eight referee officials plus several International Rugby Board tournament officials and sponsor representatives.
Meet the Blitzbokke
Local fans will be able to meet the Springbok Sevens players during a team signing session at the Greenacres Mall, which starts at 17h00 on Tuesday. On Wednesday fans will be able to meet and greet all sixteen international captions between 14h00 – 15h00 at the same venue.
The action kicks off on Friday morning at 11h37 and will feature 23 matches before the feature match of the day between South Africa and Australia at 20h38. The Castle Lager SuperFan Concert will round off an exciting day’s entertainment.
On Saturday the first match is scheduled to kick off at 11h16 and the Cup Final at 19h40.
Fiji is currently leading the World Series standings with 39 points after two tournaments. The Pacific Islanders are followed by England (32) in second spot and then a trio of teams – South Africa, New Zealand and France – in joint third spot on 29 points.
There are still tickets available for Rugby’s Biggest Party of the Year and supporters can book their seats at any Computicket outlet. Tickets prices range from a very affordable R80 to R300 per day and the price include eight hours of top-class international Sevens rugby plus a Castle Lager SuperFan music concert on Friday night.
Add @ BlitzBokke on Twitter or click here to LIKE of FaceBook Fan Page.