GEORGE NEWS - George municipality is once again set to host the South African leg of the International Rugby (IRB) Sevens between 10 and 11 December this year. It is uncertain, however, if this will be the last Sevens on Outeniqua Park.
George municipality’s contract with Saru has been a controversial point of discussion in both the council and amongst rugby enthusiasts.
It has been argued by members of the ANC opposition that George should focus on poverty relief and service delivery rather than hosting an international tournament which would ultimately cost us an enormous amount of money. They are of opinion that such a tournament "only benefits a certain sector of our community".
George mayor Bazil Petrus confirmed at the last council meeting that George municipality will try its utmost to keep this popular sport in George and that Saru has not yet revealed its future plans for the location of the Sevens.
Meanwhile, the 12th season kicks off on 3 and 4 December in Dubai before heading for George where the sport has gained immense popularity with local and overseas fans over the years. The IRB Sevens has put George on the world map and the South African series is known internationally as the George Sevens.
The South African leg of the IRB Sevens series started in George in 2002, at a time when the city council was repositioning itself to market the city as a sports and sports tourism mecca, with its already established facilities for rugby, golf, soccer and outdoor adventure activities.
"At the time it was a battle to establish the concept of Sevens Rugby in South Africa, as rugby supporters were used to traditional 15-aside rugby," said André Smith, director of environmental services and sport at the George municipality.
"But it was soon apparent that the IRB Sevens’ slogan ‘fast and furious’ rugby entertainment had become popular. Now after hosting the George leg for eight years, thousands of dedica-ted supporters from all over South Africa, Kenya and other African countries, as well as internatio-nally, particularly from England, make the annual pilgrimage to George to watch their teams play," added Smith.
A world class stadium
Outeniqua Park stadium, where the George series takes place, has become a world class stadium - thanks to international recognition through the IRB Se-vens series.
The stadium was previously upgraded to meet IRB standards. It has yet again been upgraded to international, multi-sports discipline standards to meet the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup regulations for the Japanese national football team. They used Outeniqua Park as their base camp practice site.
The George Sevens is televised in 32 countries and this is increasing as more countries are starting to play this action-packed game that is now recognised as an official sport at the Olympic Games.
Tickets will be available through Computicket in early October with seats ranging in price from R160 to R260 per person.
Artice: Michelle Pienaar
Posted on: 07:27 Thu, 07 October 2010
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