GEORGE NEWS - With African soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs confirmed as the 12th and final team to participate in the inaugural NBM Premier 7sPL in George, tournament promoter Willem Strauss confirmed that it is all systems go for the highly anticipated event to be played at Outeniqua Park on 14 and 15 December.
Some of the expected highlights of this first ever event will include R1-million prize money for winners, soccer giants Kai-zer Chiefs to venture into rugby, world stars Alafoti Fa'osiliva, Ben Gollings, Zar Lawrence and Shane Williams in action and pop star Nicolis Louw will be part of the entertainment programme.
Promotor Willem Strauss officially launched the tournament in Johannesburg on Tuesday and confirmed the presence of numerous high profile teams and players, a R1-million price tag to the winning team and various other innovations for the two day extravaganza.
The Super Rugby franchises will field teams, with at least two of them not scared to declare their intentions to win the very lucrative first prize.
Arni van Rooyen, team manager of the Cheetahs outfit, confirmed the inclusion of a couple of senior players in the central franchise's team.
"We are going there to try and win the tournament," Van Rooyen said.
"Coach Hawwies Fourie will pick a team from our Vodacom Super Rugby side and once they assemble in two weeks, we will have a better idea of who will play, but the likes of Rayno Benjamin, Kabamba Floors, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius and Willie le Roux should be core players."
Sharks coach Roelof Kotze was impressed by his team's performance at the interprovincial sevens tournament which they have won this past weekend in Pretoria by beating the EP Kings in the final.
"Some of those players will be part of our team travelling to George, but I am waiting to hear which person of the wish list of Super Rugby players will be made available. The likes of Keegan Daniel, Paul Jordaan and Cobus Reinach are amongst those," Kotze said.
Five private teams will also belooking for a return on their investment and claim the massive prize money.
Tournament sponsor NBM will be keen for the NBM All Stars to win and has managed to attract some world stars to help them do it.
Coach Jimmy Stonehouse will be able to call on the likes of New Zealand Sevens winger Zar Lawrence, IRB World record point's holder and former England captain Ben Gollings as well as Samoan powerhouse Alafoti Fa'osiliva.
The Samoan now plays for the high profile French club Toulon, but was granted permission to play in the George tournament.
Shane Williams, who holds the test tries scoring record for Wales, is another that should be South African bound next month after accepting an invitation.
Stonehouse, who coached the Russian Sevens team at the World Cup, said he is very excited to be involved with the team.
Kaizer Chiefs already named Gcobani Bobo their coach and Breyton Paulse their captain and will release the names of more squad members in the next couple of days, but on Monday added former SA Sevens player Mac Masina as their manager.
The Vikings, a team sponsored by Pretoria businessman Theuns Rey-nolds, will have former Springbok sevens superstars Mzwandile Stick and Fabian Juries, amongst others, in their squad whilst the Living Ball team will be spearheaded by the likes of former Blitzbokke Captain Jonathan Mokuena and Sharks legend Stefan Terblanche.
A dark horse will be the Samurai team, coached by former Blitzbok Neil Powell and consisting of players from the Elite Development Squad from SARU.