Countdown on to South Africa Sevens
18 October 2012
Thursday marks the start of the 50-day countdown until kick-off of the Nelson Mandela Bay South Africa Sevens tournament at the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
South Africa's Blitzbokke will battle it out with 15 other international Sevens teams for the coveted title on 8 and 9 December.
The tournament is round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series, which consists of nine tournaments in total, running from October to June 2013 and touching down on each continent.
Some of the hottest local bands have been lined-up to entertain the crowd at the Saturday Concert at an event dubbed "Rugby's Biggest Party".
The Graeme Watkins Project and Goodluck are the two major band attractions, while the hugely popular DJ Ready D will return to entertain the crowds with his skills. Entrance to the concert is free for anyone who has bought a match-day ticket on Saturday.
An exciting addition to the already top-class entertainment programme is the PE Tens, which is organised by former Springboks Bob Skinstad and Robbie Fleck. Skinstad is a former Springbok Sevens star, skippered the Springboks at test level, and is nowadays a respected SuperSport broadcaster. Fleck is currently an assistant coach of the DHL Stormers and Western Province.
Tickets for the event went on sale last Thursday and fans can now book their seats online through Computicket and at any Computicket outlet.
Ticket prices for the two days range from R80 to R300.
South African Rugby Union (Saru) CEO, Jurie Roux, described the 2012 Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens tournament as one of the highlights of the local rugby calendar.
"It is unbelievable that we are only 50 days away from the second Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens tournament in Port Elizabeth," he said.
"Our local organising committee, comprising of Saru, the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and Metro, as well as Eastern Province Rugby staff, are working around the clock to deliver another world-class tournament.
"This year we have moved the tournament to a weekend format and managed to keep ticket prices unchanged," he explained, "so we hope that these two factors will help us to draw capacity crowds on both days.
"Our aim is to attract 80 000 fans to the NMB SA Sevens and to establish this tournament as one of the top events on the World Series calendar.
"Our marketing team has secured some top-class performers for our Saturday concert and fans will be able to meet the Springbok Sevens and members of the other participating teams during open training and signing sessions. I would therefore like to urge fans to book their tickets early to avoid disappointment," Roux concluded.
Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens Tournament Ambassador Bob Skinstad reckoned he cannot wait for the arrival of Rugby's Biggest Party, which promises to be even bigger this year. "Port Elizabeth is known as the Friendly City and I know that the Metro, stadium management and PE fans are all geared up to make this tournament another memorable experience," he said.
Another amazing experience
"International Sevens rugby always delivers top-class viewing and entertainment and I know that supporters will be in another amazing experience on the 8th and 9th of December.
"This will also be the first time that we will host the PE Tens, which is a really exciting concept. The Tens tournaments in Cape Town and Johannesburg are hugely popular attractions and adding that to the high-octane sevens action means that Eastern Cape fans are in for a fantastic treat at the NMB SA Sevens in December," he added.
The Blitzbokke finished third at the Gold Coast after losing their only match of the weekend to eventual winners, Fiji, in the semi-finals.
Round two of the World Series takes place on 30 November and 1 December in Dubai. From there the Blitzbokke head home to play in the Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens.
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