Vodacom dials in as North and South collide for URC

The bold new world of the United Rugby Championship will fly under the banner of Vodacom following the announcement today that the African communications giant has dialled in as South African title sponsor for the new tournament for the next four years.

The Vodacom United Rugby Championship kicks off on 24 September – when the Emirates Lions take on Zebre in Parma, Italy – as north and south collide in what promises to be an intriguing and spectacular new global rugby competition.

Vodacom continue their long association with top-flight franchise rugby in a new-look competition that will feature 16 teams from five countries, battling it out over 144 matches to reach the eight-team play-offs in a season that will extend over eight months until the final in June.

“The United Rugby Championship heralds an exciting new era for South African rugby that will bring us closer to our friends in the northern hemisphere, and we’re delighted to confirm our long-standing partner, Vodacom, as the title sponsor in the southern hemisphere,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“This is an exciting new venture and promises to deliver international club rugby of the highest standard that will benefit South African rugby in the long run and it was typical of Vodacom’s vision that they didn’t hesitate in taking the opportunity to partner with us.

“We’ve been exposed to club rugby from the north for a while now, but the Vodacom United Rugby Championship is a bold step into a brand-new era of franchise rugby for South Africa, in a competition that will reshape the global game.

“The possibilities for the future reflect a gear shift for rugby in South Africa as well as on the north-south axis. As we’ve seen with the recent British & Irish Lions tour, our teams will be facing some of the best players in the world, testing their skills against some of the strongest club sides and going toe-to-toe with master tacticians on a weekly basis.”

<< WATCH THE LAUNCH VIDEO HERE >>

Michelle van Eyden, Head of Sponsorship at Vodacom, said: “Since 1996, when our involvement with Vodacom Super Rugby began, top-flight rugby featuring the best teams with the world’s best players has been ingrained into Vodacom’s DNA.

“As world rugby moved from the amateur to professional era and then into a time of incredible global growth, Vodacom has supported the game’s journey at every step.

“The Vodacom United Rugby Championship is yet another evolution of our proud association with the very best that rugby has to offer, and we look forward to again providing the platform upon which a new era of north-south competition can set a new benchmark in excellence for the game.”

Vodacom announced it would also be using the partnership to promote its support of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).

“We’re taking this further with the ‘Our Blood is RED’ campaign,” said Van Eyden.

“We’ll be hosting ‘Our Blood is RED’ experiences at each of the South African stadiums during the local Vodacom United Rugby Championship matches for fans to get involved and to drive blood donations.”

The new Vodacom United Rugby Championship will be divided into four pools – a South African Pool, Irish Pool (Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Connacht), Welsh Pool (Ospreys, Cardiff, Scarlets, Dragons) and Scotland-Italy Pool (Benetton, Edinburgh, Zebre, Glasgow).

Each team will play 18 regular season games – nine at home and nine away – and all the sides will face each other at least once during the league phase of the competition, which will include double-rounds of local derbies before the top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship, said: “We have the best European clubs in our league, and they as well as their fans are all very aware that we’re now bringing in the South African teams that basically feed the world champion Springboks.

“They will be bringing their own brand of big players, strong runner and high-intensity rugby and there is tremendous excitement about that.

“We have a team like Leinster who have been European champions so many times, and they were foremost in campaigning for the South African teams to join so that it can challenge them and continue to raise the overall standard.”

SuperSport will broadcast all 144 league matches as well as seven finals matches live, with games played simultaneously scheduled on different channels – either SS Rugby, SS Action or SS Variety 2, ensuring a broad range of coverage.

In addition, SuperSport will have a multi-platform offering with streaming on the DStv app and website to ensure sweeping coverage of all eight games per round of the regular season.

“We have chosen ‘It’s a different league’ as our tagline, which is indeed the case,” said Marc Jury, CEO of SuperSport.

“Adding the Vodacom United Rugby Championship to our broadcast portfolio is a huge statement of intent that reflects our belief in the vibrancy and growth of this event. Our coverage will have the same high standards of production that we see across all SuperSport rugby properties and we’ll have a variety of pundits and experts to ensure the best viewing experience.”

Among the optional new broadcast innovations are pencil cameras in coaches boxes, cameras behind kickers and body cams on water carriers, all offering a different perspective.

Anayi added that Vodacom’s longstanding support of South African rugby would be critical to the growth of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

“We want to unite people around rugby like never before and create a version of the game that is inclusive – a game for all,” he said.

“And for this it’s wonderful to have a brand of Vodacom’s standing involved. Vodacom has a strong rugby heritage in South Africa, and it’s made it very easy for us because we don’t have to tell rugby fans in the North about the South African teams.

“They know them well from having watched decades of Vodacom Super Rugby on their televisions. Add in the Springboks’ success in the Rugby World Cup and the recent British & Irish Lions Tour and there is a lot of excitement building. So, Vodacom brings so much to the league and our ability to build the awareness and momentum.”

Marion Vermeulen, SANBS Acting Chief Marketing Officer said: “The SANBS is excited about our partnership with Vodacom during the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, which promises to drive support in numbers from the loyal rugby community.

“Sport remains one of the most established spaces where you find people from across different walks of life coming together to support a shared ambition. We embrace this opportunity and hope to see supporters backing their respective teams, and the greater South African community, by donating blood and contributing towards a collective win through saving lives.”

It’s a bold new era for rugby that will hit South African televisions with an equally bold and exciting broadcast offering from SuperSport.

For any queries regarding Vodacom’s sponsorship of the United Rugby Championship please contact Shelly Samuel ([email protected])

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

HSBC CT Sevens cancelled due to COVID-19

The popular HSBC Cape Town Sevens tournament, which was scheduled to take place from 10-12 December this year, has been called off due to ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-pandemic.

World Rugby and SA Rugby announced on Friday that the Cape Town leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as the tournament in Singapore, planned for 29-30 October, have been cancelled.

“We highly regret that we had to cancel the Cape Town Sevens for a second successive season, but unfortunately the situation with the pandemic has made it impossible for us to stage the world-class event we’ve become used to in recent years,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“There were simply too many insurmountable challenges, in the ever-changing environment we are currently operating in, to allow us to predictably plan for an event of this magnitude.

“Due to COVID travel restrictions, several major teams had already indicated that they would not be able to travel to Cape Town in December, which further complicated our planning.

“In conjunction with World Rugby, we had no other choice than to take this very disappointing but necessary decision, with the health and welfare of players, fans and the wider public as top priority. However, we are hard at work to deliver a world-class Rugby World Cup Sevens in September next year.”

On a positive note, a very busy and exciting year is already in the planning stages for 2022, with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which will be announced later this month, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 29-31 July, and concluding with the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town on 9-11 September.

Following constructive discussions, it has been agreed that Sydney, Australia and Hamilton, New Zealand, will not be part of the schedule in 2022 due to the ongoing travel and logistical challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in this region. Advanced discussions are ongoing towards replacement hosts for these events in the 2022 Series.

Given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, there will be no relegation from the 2021 Series and the results will not contribute towards seedings for any other future events.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “The Olympic Games in Tokyo once again showcased the very best of rugby sevens to a huge global audience as the sport’s fast-paced, action-packed style thrilled fans watching around the globe.

“We now look ahead to the return of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with the upcoming events in Canada and what promises to be a very busy and exciting year for the sport in 2022 with the Series, which will kick off in Dubai, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and climaxing with Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town.

Welcome to the Team

The Treble Group welcomes new Sponsorship Sales Manager, Kelvin Adams, who will be adding his unique skillset to our team with over 10 years of experience in the sales and marketing management space.

Born and raised in Cape Town, Kelvin has a long-standing love for sport, which is one of the reasons why he was excited to join the Treble Team. That love for sport was cemented as a youngster who immersed himself in the world of Formula One and playing cricket and football.

A devoted husband, and father to his daughters, Kelvin cut his teeth in the Sponsorship Sales space before joining the Heart FM team as their Key Account Manager. His path led to media powerhouse, Primedia, where he fulfilled his role as Account Manager with aplomb.

Blending a vast knowledge of sport with his Advertising, Sales and Sponsorship expertise, Kelvin will be an asset to our team as we look forward to new beginnings in the South African sporting landscape.

The Treble Group team wishes Kelvin all the very best as settles in at our offices in Newlands.

To learn more about our Sponsorship Opportunities click here.

Countdown to SA Champs begins

South Africa’s Lifesaving clubs are busy preparing for the coming warmer months with nipper training kicking off next weekend, while new lifeguards are qualifying, and retests are underway so that lifeguards are adequately prepared to fulfil their duties.

Lifesaving athletes have also been preparing hard during the cold winter for the DHL Lifesaving SA National Championships, which will be held for the first time since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic cancelling the various 2020 events.

As we begin the one-month countdown to one of our favourite sporting events, the Treble Team is looking forward to the highly anticipated DHL Lifesaving SA National Championships at the beginning of October (2-9th) in Gqberha – the home of action and adventure sports that showcases the very best of South Africa’s lifesaving talent.

As the exclusive commercial and marketing agency to Lifesaving South Africa, the Treble Group has worked tirelessly with the relevant authorities in the build-up to ensure the ‘Olympics’ of the lifesaving community goes ahead with strict Covid protocols and regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s an event that is close to our hearts and we look forward to delivering a world-class event where lifesaving’s finest talent will be able to compete nationally against their rival clubs.

The Launch of Treble 99 NPC is Upon Us   

To our valued partners, clients and friends, it is with immense pride that the Treble Group announces that it has established a Non-Profit Company (NPC) called Treble99 NPC. This has been years in the making and the desire to uplift previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa has always been at the forefront of the Treble Group’s vision. 

Over the past few years, the Treble Group has received (and continues to receive) numerous requests from clients to identify and create Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives for inclusion in their brand activation programmes. While the Treble Group team actively assisted and delivered in this regard and has already worked with many worthwhile causes of varying scales, it identified that several initiatives and sports organisations did not have established structures in place to receive funding, manage, and market their CSR initiatives. 

The Treble Group aims to harness all its expertise and experience to deliver holistic and professionally run CSR solutions via Treble 99 NPC. Therefore, Treble99 NPC has been registered as a NPC with Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) status that is focused on developing bespoke initiatives and supporting existing CSR projects that empowers communities through sport. 

Treble99 NPC can act as an implementation solution to our partners in the promotion of sport and recreation by delivering all their CSR projects. As a registered NPC with PBO status, Treble 99 NPC is legally authorised to provide Section 18a tax certificates for any donation made to the company. 

With the leadership, structures, vision, and operational team in place, Treble99 NPC is ready to go to market to secure partners in this venture and assist in developing focused and sustainable development projects, aligned with clear governance, developmental and marketing objectives. 

If you would like further information, or to contribute to Treble 99 NPC, please contact Louise Otter (Treble99 NPC Project Lead) 

Mobile: 082 906 9093  |  Email: [email protected] 

DHL Partners with Lifesaving South Africa

DHL Express, the world’s leading international express services provider, announced their exciting new title partnership with Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) earlier on Thursday.

Treble is thrilled to have facilitated this new partnership between LSA and DHL, which will see an elevated commitment to keeping South Africa’s beaches, swimming pools and inland waterways safe.

The partnership will cover three key areas, including Primary Partner to LSA’s voluntary duty lifeguards, Naming Rights to the National Championships and Presenting Partner rights for the national Watersmart water safety programme.

Treble’s valued relationship with LSA, as their exclusive commercial and marketing agency for several years, has seen immense growth within LSA’s voluntary community, while also taking LSA’s annual sporting event, the Lifesaving South Africa National Championships to greater heights.

DHL is no stranger to the greater lifesaving community, having sponsored Surf Lifesaving Australia and Surf Lifesaving New Zealand since 2003, where they feature prominently on the beaches, while working closely with them to deliver on their water safety objectives.

DHL Express’ VP Marketing for Sub Saharan Africa, Megan Collinicos, is excited by the prospect of this new partnership. “We are particularly delighted to be partnering with LSA, as this is a unique opportunity to demonstrate our organisational purpose of Connecting People & Improving Lives. DHL recognises the importance of LSA’s mission to save lives and build better communities, and we look forward to playing our part in delivering water safety for all,” Collinicos said.

LSA as a service and sporting organisation is committed to providing lifeguarding services and to promote and educate the development of water safety across all communities in South Africa. Every year, LSA equips thousands of lifeguards with the necessary skills to protect South African beaches and inland swimming areas, contributing to public and community safety.

DHL’s investment into LSA’s Watersmart Programme will ensure the drowning prevention programme reaches over 400 schools per annum while creating employment for 50 facilitator lifeguards. DHL will also be delivering an innovative Watersmart digital hub that will increase the reach dramatically, to ensure that the messaging of water safety is delivered to all.

The partnership will see DHL featured prominently on beaches, at swimming pools and inland waterways across South Africa, and over 4000 lifeguards across 86 clubs will receive new DHL LSA duty kit. All Lifesaving clubs will also receive duty area equipment including “Lifeguards on Duty” banners and for the beach clubs, new “Swim between the flags” patrol equipment to demarcate the safe swim zones on the beach.

Three players on Springbok debut against Georgia

Rosko Specman, Aphelele Fassi and Jasper Wiese are in line to make their Springbok debuts on Friday when the Rugby World Cup champions line up against Georgia at Loftus Versfeld in the team’s first Test since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in November 2019.

Toyota Cheetahs speedster Specman – who is no stranger to international rugby with an Olympic Games bronze medal and numerous Blitzbok tournament successes to his name – will start on the right wing, while Fassi, who has been in hot form for the Cell C Sharks, has been named on the left wing.

Wiese, a former star for the Toyota Cheetahs who has since moved to the Leicester Tigers, has been included on the bench and will earn his first Test cap should he take the field.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, who will guide the Springboks in his first Test as head coach, named 18 Rugby World Cup winners in his matchday squad – 12 of whom featured in their 32-12 final triumph against England.

Six of these 12 players will start against Georgia. They are Bok captain Siya Kolisi and his loose forward partner Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (lock), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Willie le Roux (fullback) and Handré Pollard (flyhalf).

The other players who featured in the grand finale of the international extravaganza are Frans Steyn (centre), Franco Mostert (lock), Malcolm Marx (hooker), Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both props) and Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf).

Kolisi will earn his 51st Test cap after striking his half century in the RWC final, while Pollard, Kitshoff and Kriel will all take a step closer to reaching the significant career milestone of 50 caps. Pollard will earn his 49th Test cap and Kriel his 47th, while Kitshoff will earn his 48th cap if he takes the field.

“We have selected the best team with an eye on what we would like to achieve in this Test against Georgia and we believe that we have a good balance with a number of experienced campaigners and a few young players who have made a strong statement this season,” said Nienaber.

“Most of the players in this squad are Rugby World Cup winners, while others have been part of the national squad for a few seasons, and this will be invaluable against a team that boast the passion that Georgia exhibit.

“We are also excited to see what the uncapped players bring to the table after impressive performances for their franchises in the last few seasons. Each one of them has proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level, and the commitment and enthusiasm they displayed at training has been striking.”

Nienaber was excited to return to the field after a 19-month absence from international rugby and said the physical challenge they would face against Georgia was exactly what they needed to prepare themselves mentally and physically as they look forward to the Castle Lager Lions Series.

“We are expecting Georgia to come out guns blazing with their passionate and physical rugby, so we need to find our rhythm early on and build up a good 80-minute performance,” said Nienaber.

“We know how big this challenge will be, but it is vital that we build a solid foundation in the next two Tests in order to refine our skill set, match readiness and ability to perform under pressure.”

Springbok team to face Georgia at Loftus Versfeld:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

 

Facts and Stats

  • It will be the Georgians’ first trip to South Africa to face the Springboks.
  • This match marks the second time these two nations meet – the first was in their pool match at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, which the Springboks won 46-19.
  • Frans Steyn requires nine more points to reach the milestone of 150 Test points.
  • Elton Jantjies is one penalty goal short of his 50th for the Springboks – and should he achieve this feat, he will match Naas Botha in fifth place for the most career penalty goals.

 

Head to head v Georgia

Played: 1, Won: 1; Points for: 46; Points against: 19; Tries for: 7; Tries against: 1; Win%: 100%

 

Miscellaneous

  • The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 550.
  • There are 236 caps in the backline with 314 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 174 caps.
  • The average caps per player in the backline are 33, the forwards 39 while the players on the bench average 21.

 

Match officials

  • The referee is Mike Adamson of Scotland. This will be his first Test as a referee of a match involving South Africa and his second career Test match.
  • The assistant referees are Wayne Barnes of England and Marius van der Westhuizen of South Africa. Marius Jonker of South Africa is the TMO.

 

ISSUED BY SA RUGBY COMMUNICATIONS

All you need to know about the United Rugby Championship

A new era will kick off for South African rugby when the Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls join 12 Guinness PRO14 clubs for the United Rugby Championship, which will kick off in September 2021 in a brand new, world-class 16-team league format.

It also holds out the prospect of South Africa’s teams being eligible to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup from the 2022/23 season, subject to the finalisation of contract terms with European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), which owns the competition.

The United Rugby Championship will be bigger, bolder and stronger than its predecessors. Teams from five of rugby’s elite nations Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and South Africa will transform club rugby in a league of super clubs, which will embrace diversity and celebrate its athletes, as a league that can proudly represent its fans and cultures.

This game-changing agreement between SA Rugby and PRO14 Rugby will strengthen their existing partnership and will drive greater growth of the game for the benefit of all 16 teams in the league.


Crossing New Horizons in Rugby

This agreement will create a pathway for SA Rugby to become a full shareholder in Pro Rugby Championship alongside the Celtic and Italian unions. In a sporting landscape looking towards the post-pandemic future this unification of north and south provides everyone involved in the United Rugby Championship with optimism for prosperous days ahead.

This accord also paves the way for South African teams to compete in European tournaments with every team in the United Rugby Championship eligible to qualify for EPCR competitions.


The Format

The 18-round regular season in the United Rugby Championship will see the return of a single-standing table that will prevent clashes with International weekends and leave little margin for error for those chasing the title.

Every game will count in the league, and will be strengthened by an expanded knockout series that brings even more drama with a full schedule of quarter-finals and semi-finals capped off by a Grand Final played in a destination venue.

The United Rugby Championship will set the stage where the diversity of playing styles, languages and fan cultures will clash across iconic locations in rugby heartlands week after week. The new league will also allow South Africa’s former Super Rugby sides to operate in a common time zone, which will help open up greater audiences across the league and increase commercial appeal.

The URC will use one league table to rank the teams who will reach the knock-out stages and compete to reach the title and become the champions.

Fixtures: The regular season of the United Rugby Championship will take place across 18 rounds with each team’s fixtures comprising of six (6) home AND away fixtures against their regional pool opponents and 12 home OR away fixtures against the remaining teams in the league.

Regional pools

Irish Pool: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster

Welsh Pool: Dragons, Cardiff Rugby, Ospreys, Scarlets

South African Pool: Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls

Italian & Scottish Pool: Benetton Rugby, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors, Zebre Rugby Club

Final Series/Play-Offs: One league table will be used to rank teams and after 18 rounds the top eight sides will qualify for the Play-Offs. Teams will be seeded from 1 to 8 and will receive home advantage according to their seeding.

A full round of quarter-finals and semi-finals will take place to produce two teams who will qualify for the Grand Final.


United Rugby Championship European Qualification

A total of eight teams from the United Rugby Championship will qualify each season for the following season’s Heineken Champions Cup. The balance of teams will participate in the Challenge Cup.

Subject to the finalisation of contract terms with EPCR, South African teams will be eligible to qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup from the 2022/23 season if they have finished in the United Rugby Championship qualification places from the prior season.

All points won during the URC season will contribute to rankings in the regional pools and the highest-ranking team in each of the four pools will earn a place in the Heineken Champions Cup for the following season. This addition to the format is expected to add even greater intensity to these age-old local rivalries.

The remaining four places in the Heineken Champions Cup will be awarded to the four highest-ranked teams from the single-standing league table who have not already qualified through the four regional pools.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

MTN renews Springboks headline sponsorship

Good news coming out from SA Rugby headquarters that MTN has renewed its headline sponsorship of the world champion Springboks, with the multinational mobile telecommunications giant also confirmed as a principal partner for the eagerly awaited Castle Lager Lions Series, SA Rugby announced on Wednesday.

The renewal was negotiated for a five-year period and extends into 2025, supporting the ongoing effort to rugby enhance development and transformation in South Africa.

MTN took over as Springbok headline sponsor prior to the 2017 international season, a period during which both embarked on a journey of transformation that culminated in the Springboks becoming word champions in 2019.

“Confirming the renewal of our partnership with MTN is massive for SA Rugby and we are thrilled to continue on this road with them,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“When we named MTN as our new headline sponsor four years ago, we realized that it represented a pivotal moment for SA Rugby and that welcoming a company of MTN’s size and reach was a significant moment for the sport.

“They have been a wonderfully supportive partner during a time of regeneration for the Springboks and the wider South African rugby fraternity, and have stuck with us through the pandemic. We are excited to continue to have MTN by our side.

“For MTN, it was never only about having their logo on the front of the Springboks’ jerseys. They wanted a powerful partnership and that is exactly what we have established in the last four years.

“When they came on board, rugby was in a precarious position, but they understood where we were headed and what we wanted to achieve, to inspire the nation, and as one of South Africa’s success stories in the last three decades, MTN fully supported us in that.”

Mapula Bodibe, Chief Consumer Officer for MTN SA, said: “We found it fitting to continue to back the Springboks following a very successful period during which they became the World Champions, warming the hearts of our nation.

“MTN has been a long-time supporter of South African sport and the renewal of our sponsorship of the Springboks further entrenches our position as an ardent supporter of South Africa’s sporting ambitions.

“Sports fans have had to endure a frustrating year. Teams and their supporters were left with very little to cheer about due to COVID-19, but we are finally getting to the stage where our team is preparing to take to the field again and unite our nation as only they can.

“We are delighted to renew our headline sponsorship just ahead of the important Lions tour in July, providing the Springboks and South African rugby with the necessary support to grow well into the future, while also offering our fans great digital platforms to enjoy their love of the game, especially as they can’t be in the stadiums,” she added.

MTN also announced that fans can look forward to being rewarded over the coming months with plenty of unique experiences, exciting new prizes and competitions, including a daily mobile Bok Trivia quiz in which MTN customers can test their Springbok rugby knowledge and stand a chance to win R100,000 every week

“To celebrate the sponsorship and to bring the joy of rugby back for supporters, lifting spirits where we can, a total of R50m in prizes will be given away over the next few months across different MTN platforms,” explained Bodibe.

“At MTN we believe in transforming realities and we are committed to this purpose, just as we are committed to supporting the Boks over the next five years.”

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code ‘MTN’. Our strategy, Ambition 2025, is anchored on building the largest and most valuable platform business, with a clear focus on Africa. Visit www.mtn.com or www.mtn.co.za or follow on Twitter @MTNza

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Gilbert Rugby named Official Match Ball and Licensee of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series

Gilbert Rugby, the world’s leading rugby ball manufacturer, has announced a new licensing partnership with the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series.

The new agreement sees Gilbert become the Official Match Ball and Licensee of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series, exclusively producing a range of balls in celebration of the Lions Series in South Africa, available for purchase through Gilbert’s unrivalled network of global distribution.

 Gilbert, rugby’s original brand having been producing balls since the game started in 1823, have been a partner of SA Rugby for over 20 years, including the last two Lions Tours to South Africa, in 2009 and 1997.

All Lions Series matches will use the renowned Sirius match ball, as used successfully throughout the Springboks’ famous Rugby World Cup 2019 triumph, with a limited number of official match balls also available for rugby collectors to purchase from www.gilbertrugby.com next month – register your interest below:

Castle Lager Lions Series 2021 – Match Ball | Replica

The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup – Match Ball | Replica

About Gilbert Rugby
Gilbert Rugby is the world’s longest serving rugby brand having served the rugby world since 1823 and remains a UK family run business at the heart of the game today; trusted by the global rugby family to provide the best innovative products and support to enable players to perform to their full potential. For more information visit www.gilbertrugby.com.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications