Port Elizabeth Exciting New Host of South Africa Sevens
The HSBC Sevens World Series will visit a second new venue after the South African Rugby Union (SARU) today announced that Port Elizabeth will be the new host of the South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series from 2011.
The announcement, which comes after a competitive SARU tender process, follows the news earlier today that the HSBC Sevens World Series will kick off in Australia’s Gold Coast.
“These are exciting times for Rugby Sevens across every continent. We are seeing record participation, attendance and broadcast figures and now there is unprecedented interest in hosting an HSBC Sevens World Series event. Today’s announcement represents an exciting new chapter in South Africa’s long-standing commitment to Sevens Rugby and the HSBC Sevens World Series,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset. “On behalf of the global Rugby family I would like to thank the city and the people of George for hosting South Africa’s event for nine years, and helping it to grow. We now look forward to the Sevens in a wonderful new stadium in Port Elizabeth and wish the organisers every success.”
The inaugural Port Elizabeth event will be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the same time window as the George event and the tournament organisers are already forecasting a sell-out. “I am delighted to be able to confirm that Port Elizabeth will host the Emirates Airlines South Africa Sevens for the next four years,” Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, told a media conference in Cape Town.
“We received some outstanding bids, but the panel came to the unanimous conclusion that the tender provided by the Eastern Province Kings and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was a clear winner. “We measured them against four broad criteria – event hosting capacity; brand building potential for Sevens and SARU; commercial promise and budgetary viability – and their attention to detail in answering each one was outstanding. “They not only satisfied the standards that we expected from all the bidders, they went the extra mile to research exactly what players, spectators and other stakeholders require and provided innovative solutions for each one. “The Panel was convinced that Port Elizabeth will produce an absolutely outstanding tournament, based on this document. I’m looking forward to attending the first Port Elizabeth Sevens in December – I’m sure they’re going to take the event to another level.”
The other bidding unions vying to join the global HSBC Sevens World Series were the Leopards, Pumas, South Western Districts and Western Province.
HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship, Giles Morgan, said: “Port Elizabeth will provide a fantastic and significantly larger venue for the South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, enabling even more sports fans to experience this exciting, two-day festival of rugby. The Series continues to attract a growing number of fans and television viewers around the world and Port Elizabeth promises to be a great host when the Series reaches South Africa in December.”
Cheeky Watson, President of the Eastern Province Kings, said that the decision represents a new dawn for Rugby Sevens in South Africa. “We prepared an outstanding tender to deliver an outstanding tournament and that’s what we’re going to do. Port Elizabeth and the whole of the Eastern Cape will be very excited about this decision and we can now begin to mobilise to deliver a memorable experience for the international Rugby family.
“I’d like to thank the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for their assistance in preparing the Bid and advise my team that the hard work starts today.”
Further exciting announcements about the record-breaking HSBC Sevens World Series will be made in the coming weeks.