Rugby rallies behind Bafana with 100 days to go for big kick-off

2010-03-02 12:29

Rugby bosses today threw their full weight behind Bafana Bafana and

South Africa’s preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union (SARU),

and Springbok coach Peter de Villiers were in Durban to mark the beginning of

the 100-day countdown to the World Cup kick-off and back the national soccer

team in their preparations for tomorrow night’s match against Namibia.

“All sports lovers and all South Africans must now be feeling their

pulses quickening as the World Cup countdown reaches this significant

milestone,” said Hoskins.

“We are heading into one of the most extraordinary periods in our

history and I’m not sure any of us are yet aware of what a magnificent

experience we’re going to share with each other and the world.

“The 1995 Rugby World Cup was a special time in our nation’s life

and Rugby World Cups are major international sporting events but the FIFA world

cup brings the eyes of the world with it and it is a marvellous opportunity for

our nation to demonstrate how far we have come since 1995 in the global shop


“We are backing our soccer brothers at the South African Football

Association (SAFA) and on the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to deliver an

outstanding and memorable African World Cup of which we can all be proud.”

Rugby authorities established a smooth working relationship with

their soccer counterparts during last year’s tour by the British & Irish

Lions, which was staged at the same time and in flour of the same venues used

for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

And recently an accord was struck whereby tournament rules were

relaxed to allow the Springboks to host France in a Test match in Cape Town at a

time when other major sporting events have been postponed.

“The LOC and SAFA as well as our government took on a huge

challenge when they won the rights to host the World Cup but the facilities and

the supporting infrastructure that is being created is simply magnificent,” said


“They have created a magnificent stage and we look forward to

celebrating their success with them.”

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said he believed Bafana would be

inspired as the host nation: “They raised their game during the Confederations

Cup last year and when they run out at a packed Soccer City they’ll probably

feel ten feet tall – or at least as big as Bakkies Botha.

“It’s a special thing to play in a World Cup but to do so as a host

nation is a very rare privilege and that will come through on the field.

“The milestone is significant enough for SARU to interrupt its

Champion Tour to show its support to soccer. Soccer is a national sport that has

shown its solidarity to rugby on big occasions and it is now our turn to

reciprocate as the countdown to the opening match continues.”

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