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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

Revised Castle Lager B&I Lions schedule confirmed

SA Rugby and the British & Irish Lions confirmed a revised Castle Lager Lions Series fixture list and venues on Friday.

All eight matches of the Tour will be played in Gauteng and Cape Town to minimise the risks of disruption that could be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The schedule accommodates stable team bases and training venues and significantly reduces travel.

The Castle Lager Lions Series will now kick off in Gauteng (rather than Cape Town) with three matches against provincial opposition before moving to Cape Town for two more warm-up matches before the first Test at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday 24 July.

The Series then returns to Johannesburg for the second and third Tests at the FNB Stadium.

There is one team change in the revised schedule with the Emirates Lions replacing the SA Invitational team. The adjustment was made to reduce the risks associated with drawing a squad from around the country.

SA Rugby is organising all games in the schedule to comply with the regulations on attendance as will apply at the time of play.

The full Castle Lager Lions Series 2021 is:

  • Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
  • Wednesday 7 July: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
  • Saturday 10 July: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
  • Wednesday 14 July: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
  • Saturday 17 July: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
  • Saturday 24 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
  • Saturday 31 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
  • Saturday 7 Aug: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)

British & Irish Lions 37-man touring squad announced

The moment everyone has been waiting for – as the two-month countdown begins – has arrived with the announcement of the 37-man British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa.

Under much anticipation from the rugby world, B&I Lions coach Warren Gatland announced his squad on Thursday afternoon with the experienced Alun Wyn Jones leading rugby’ most famous touring side. It will be the Wales skipper’s fourth tour in the famous red jersey, coming full circle to the same country where he made his debut back in 2009.

Jones is the fifth lock in a row to captain the British & Irish Lions to South Africa, following in the footsteps of Willie John McBride (1974), Bill Beaumont (1980), Martin Johnson (1997) and Paul O’Connell (2009).

Springbok fans can look forward to a festival of rugby in the faint hope that there might be an opportunity to see the action live and witness their heroes claim a series win over the B&I Lions for the first time since John Smit’s 2009 vintage, but Gatland has other ideas.

“We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa,” said Warren Gatland, head coach.

 

 

“Selecting a Lions squad is never easy and, in many ways, this has been the most challenging selection I have been involved in. Over the course of the last three weeks the coaches and I have rigorously debated each position.

“We saw some outstanding performances in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough with some incredibly tight calls to make.

“However, we are very happy with the squad we have assembled and look forward to meeting up in Jersey in just over a month’s time to start our preparation to take on the World Champions.

“We’ve left out some very talented players, which gives an indication to the strength of this squad and we know how important that stand-by list will be.

“Being selected for a Lions Tour is the greatest honour for a British and Irish player and I congratulate everyone named today.”

British & Irish Lions squad:

Backs (16): Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales – wing); Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland – centre); Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales – flyhalf); Elliot Daly (Saracens, England – centre); Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales – scrumhalf); Owen Farrell (Saracens, England – flyhalf; Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland – centre); Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland – centre); Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland – fullback); Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland – scrumhalf); Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland – scrumhalf); Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales – wing); Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland – flyhalf); Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland – wing); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England – wing); Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales – fullback).

Forwards (21): Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland – lock); Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland – loose forward); Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England – hooker); Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England – loose forward); Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland – prop); Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales – loose forward); Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland – prop); Jamie George (Saracens, England – hooker); Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland – lock); Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England – lock); Maro Itoje (Saracens, England – lock); Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales – lock) (Captain); Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales – prop); Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England – lock); Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales – hooker); Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland – prop); Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England – loose forward); Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland – prop); Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales – loose forward); Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England – prop); Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland – loose forward).

B&I Lions tour to SA confirmed

SA Rugby and the British & Irish Lions confirmed on Tuesday that they were aligned on delivering the Castle Lager Lions Series in South Africa in the scheduled playing window.

The Lions Board confirmed its preference to SA Rugby on Monday evening, prior to follow-up meetings earlier today.

“After reviewing information relating to the various contingency scenarios being considered, I can confirm that the Board’s intended position is for the Tour to go ahead as scheduled in South Africa in 2021,” said Mr Jason Leonard, Chairman of The British & Irish Lions.

“We acknowledge that there is a significant amount of work still to be undertaken to deliver a robust COVID-19 countermeasure plan to ensure a successful, safe and uninterrupted Tour. SA Rugby will have our full support to help implement this plan.”

Mr Mark Alexander, President of the South African Rugby Union, said he would inform the Executive Council of SA Rugby of the alignment.

“We appreciate the Lions’ faith and share their desire to see a safe and successful tour,” said Mr Alexander.

“We have been in regular contact with our government to make that a reality against the backdrop of the pandemic and its predicted progression over the coming months.

“There are serious financial implications for SA Rugby, should the event take place without any supporters in attendance, and we cannot ignore that in our considerations. But we are determined that the eventual outcome will deliver the best occasion and experience for players, supporters and our commercial partners.”

Mr Alexander said that the original tour schedule was subject to review because of those considerations. Should any changes be required they will be communicated as soon as possible.

SA Rugby assured everyone who had purchased tickets through the ticket ballot or as part of the official hospitality programme that they would be entitled to a full refund, with the mechanic to be communicated in due course once any revised schedule was confirmed.

Those who had bought official travel packages through SA Rugby Travel would be contacted by a company representative in due course.

Mr Leonard added: “Every British and Irish player dreams of wearing the famous red jersey, and players from the southern hemisphere aspire to be part of a Lions series. We owe it to the current players vying for a place in both squads to ensure they can become part of Lions history.

“We are very much looking forward to taking on South Africa for what promises to be a highly-competitive Series against the reigning World Champions.”

Mr Alexander thanked the Castle Lager Lions Series’ commercial partners as well as the British & Irish Lions and ticket holders for their patience during the extended period of uncertainty.

“As hosts and ‘owners’ of the Castle Lager Lions Series no one has been more affected or more challenged by the current circumstances than SA Rugby,” said Mr Alexander.

“However, with the support of our government and good planning we can navigate the pandemic to nonetheless create a most memorable event for players, fans and partners.”

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

Issued by SA Rugby Communications

Treble bids farewell to Springbok Supporters’ Club

On behalf of the Springbok Supporters’ Club, the Treble Group would like to thank every single member for their valued support over the past 18 unforgettable years.

Launching soon will be a brand-new Springbok Supporters’ Club, which is going “in-house” and will be managed directly by SA Rugby. This brings a whole new exciting experience for Springbok supporters as the Boks look to defend their Rugby World Cup title in 2023.

Since the Springbok Supporters’ Club was launched in 2002, Treble has travelled a long road that has seen the Boks claim two Rugby World Cups and a lifetime of memories. We are honoured to have been part of that incredible success for nearly two decades.

Rugby in South Africa is more than just a sport, it transcends all walks of life, and you, the supporter, are the heartbeat that makes the Springboks the unique nation-building team they are.

Treble has been at the forefront of the popular Boktown experience since 2003, while also managing two Rugby World Cup trophy tours, and we are proud to have been associated with the hope and joy the Springboks bring to millions of South Africans.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges, but with the support of all South Africans our country can overcome such obstacles. The Treble team wishes SA Rugby all the very best on their new journey as we look forward to the Springboks taking on the best in the world, backed by the best supporters in the world.

Keep an eye on the www.springboks.rugby website for the latest news and updates, and follow the Springboks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for an exciting Springbok Supporters’ Club announcement in due course.

Special Moment for Treble

Humbled and over-awed was the reaction of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi when he walked out of customs to a united South Africa, where thousands of Springbok supporters were there to welcome their heroes at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday evening.

Kolisi and South Africa’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, whose flight via Sydney was delayed by a few hours, walked through the main arrivals hall, which erupted with thunderous cheers when the Bok captain walked through the doors carrying the Webb Ellis Cup.

This is only the beginning of what will be reminiscent of scenes in 1995 and 2007. Treble worked closely together with SA Rugby to successfully organise the Trophy Tour after Jake White and John Smit brought the Webb Ellis Cup following the Boks’ 15-6 win over England in Paris.

It’s our time again, and once again Treble has been tasked with ensuring that millions of South Africans get to see their heroes parade world rugby’s greatest prize. The planning of this project is mammoth and there is very little time to waste. But Treble’s experienced team will strive to ensure that South Africa shares this special moment with their heroes

No rugby team on the planet can eclipse the unification and nation-building that this little golden cup brings to South Africa. Treble has had first-hand experience of this for the entire duration of the tournament.

Treble’s management of Boktowns across the country, and through one of our valued accounts, namely the Springbok Supporters Club, we have seen South Africans from all walks of life unite. The Springbok Supporters Club is owned by South African Rugby Union (SARU) (51 percent) and Treble (49 percent).

Springbok Supporters’ Club account manager, Carmen Taylor, has been overawed by the power of rugby to unite all South Africans. “The Springboks have raised the hopes of a nation and united South Africans globally. We stand proudly behind the Boks and throughout the Rugby World Cup the Springbok Supporters Club has been in the front row rallying the support of the fans.

“With eleven official Boktown venues, Treble has seen thousands of Springbok fans gather to watch the games on the big screens. The atmosphere at Boktowns has been electrifying and we continue to drive the passion of the fans as we celebrate with the Boks on their victory parade.

The trophy tour kicks off in Gauteng on Thursday, 7 November, with the Bok bus travelling through parts of Pretoria, Johannesburg and Soweto.

On Friday (8 November) the Boks will be in Durban, followed by stops in East London (Saturday 9 November), Port Elizabeth (Sunday 10 November) and Cape Town (Monday 11 November).

Treble delivers top-notch entertainment and hospitality for Springboks clash with New Zealand

Newlands, Cape Town – We had the privilege of watching South Africa take on New Zealand first-hand, in what was one of the best international test matches to take place at DHL Newlands. The Springboks handed the Kiwis a nail-biting performance with a close 24-25 loss at full-time.

Meanwhile, the Treble events team delivered top-notch entertainment and hospitality to over 50,000 rugby fans from the world over. The Castle Lawns were setup with an all-out activation for the beer garden goers, with gees powered by Bokradio. All stadium bars and kiosks were putting out refreshing food and beverage at maximum efficiency. We were also grateful for the opportunity to kit-out several suites for DHL and CellC, and their guests.

The test match was a highlight on our calendar and we walked away extremely proud of our achievements.

Treble Successfully Activates Boktown for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship

Boktown, owned by the Springbok Supporters’ Club and managed by Treble Group, creates a unique experience for Springbok supporters, who cannot make it to the actual Springboks Test Matches. The official supporters’ fan village is brought to life by live acts, great sponsor giveaways and fan meet and greets with SA Rugby legends, current injured Springbok players and Bokkie; the official Springboks Mascot.

The Springbok Supporters’ Club hosted Boktown events around South Africa during the Castle Lager Rugby Championships, at the following venues:

  • Montecasino, Johannesburg
  • Silverstar Casino, Johannesburg
  • Suncoast Durban, Durban

In addition to the venues mentioned above, the Springbok games were screened at these venues:

  • Hemingways, East London
  • Emnotweni, Nelspruit
  • Golden Horse, Pietermaritzburg
  • Garden Route, Mossel Bay

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the passionate Bok Supporters for showing your support at Boktown.

Thank you to the Springbok Supporters’ Club Boktown sponsors and partners who generously contributed to the successful events. Thank you to Tsogo Sun, Mango, Castle Lager SA, SA Rugby Legends Association and the South African Rugby Union. With your shared vision, passion and commitment, we will continue to create world-class events of this nature.

Visit https://www.springboksupporter.co.za/Boktown.aspx for more info.

Treble to activate Springboks’ public farewell

The Springbok Supporters Club are inviting all Bok supporters to the official Springboks’ public farewell on 11 September, at Montecasino in Johannesburg.

Coach Heyneke Meyer, Captain Jean de Villiers, his 30 teammates and Springbok management, will spend their final few hours in South Africa with Bok Supporters before heading straight to OR Tambo International Airport to catch their flight to London.

The Treble team have spent months preparing an event fit for a heroes send off into the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Treble has secured live entertainment and great giveaways to treat the true Springbok supporters who attend the event this Friday.

The gates at the Piazza Montecasino will be open from 13h30 until 17h30 and will start with live entertainment from home grown artist; Lloyd Cele and later PJ Powers and HHP.

There’s more! One lucky Bok fan will receive a Springbok jersey signed by the team on the evening from Captain Jean de Villiers.

The Springbok team will arrive at 15h30 and depart at 17h00 with a crowd “walk through”.

Members of the public are urged to arrive early to secure their place as the standing area is limited. An overflow area with a giant screen will also be available.

The occasion is free and open to all.

Treble is proud to be part of this momentus occasion. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors and partners involved; Tsogo Sun, Vodacom, South African Breweries and ASICS.

Good luck to the Springboks in their quest to secure their 3rd Rugby World Cup title. We’re behind our Men in Green and Gold 100%!

For more information, visit www.springboksupporter.co.za.