Blitzboks, Kagoshima City confirm Olympics holding camp

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Blitzboks coach Neil Powell. (Gallo Images)
Blitzboks coach Neil Powell. (Gallo Images)
  • Kagoshima City will host the Blitzboks for their final pre-tournament camp before the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • It's the same training camp base used by the Springboks prior to them winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
  • The Rugby Sevens Olympics event is scheduled to take place at Tokyo Stadium from 26 to 28 July.

Kagoshima City will host the Springbok Sevens squad for their final pre-tournament camp before the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July, the Japanese city and SA Rugby confirmed on Wednesday.

In the build-up to the Blitzboks' participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kagoshima City will host the South African sevens squad for a pre-tournament camp from 14 to 23 July. The Blitzboks will then travel to the Olympic Village in Tokyo to join up with Team South Africa. 

The Rugby Sevens tournament is scheduled to take place at Tokyo Stadium from 26 to 28 July.

In 2019, the city in the south of Japan also hosted the Springboks as they prepared for the Rugby World Cup, and a similar agreement will again apply.

Like with the Springboks, who went on to win the world showpiece, the Blitzboks will stay at the Sun Royal Hotel in Kagoshima, use the nearby Shiranami Stadium for field and gymnasium sessions and will have full access to the Kamoike Dome and swimming pool for the duration of their stay.

In a press statement, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux thanked the Kagoshima City and Prefecture for making the pre-tournament camp a reality.

"The holding camp was a very important part of the Springboks’ preparations prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and we all saw the benefits from that, so this will give our Springbok Sevens team an ideal platform to launch their medal charge," Roux said.  

"We want to sincerely thank the Honourable Mayor of Kagoshima City, Mr Takao Shimozuru, for making all of this possible. The City had a genuine desire to host the Springboks in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup and again extended that to our sevens team. We are humbled and grateful for that."

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby's director of rugby, explained why Kagoshima City was a preferred venue of choice.

"The quality of training and accommodation facilities, the easy and accessible location of all training amenities and the great weather makes it a top-class training venue," said Erasmus.

"All their facilities are world-class and will ensure an excellent environment for Neil Powell and his squad to complete their pre-tournament preparations."

Powell, who was in charge of the Blitzboks when they won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said they would make the most of their time in Kagoshima.

"The Springboks spoke highly of the city, the training venues and the people and we are keen to experience that," said Powell.

"We also hope to feed off the energy from the locals and from a rugby perspective, it will give us an extra week to get used to the conditions in Japan and build-up that momentum that will be needed to be successful."

Shimozuru added that they were delighted to confirm the visit of the Blitzboks to Kagoshima City: "I am very pleased and honoured that South Africa Rugby, who deeply impressed us all on their journey to winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup, will once again be holding their camp in our city.

"We will welcome and support you fully, in co-operation with Kagoshima Prefecture, the Rugby Association, and other related organisations, in hopes of creating a legacy out of the connection that rugby has created between our city and South Africa.

"By adhering to strict Covid-19 countermeasures as determined by the Organizing Committee to create a safe and secure training camp environment, I look forward to this opportunity to share the many charms of our city to the world," Shimozuru added.

SA Rugby added that the Blitzboks would conduct two open training sessions during their stay and host a coaching clinic for local rugby coaches in the Kagoshima Prefecture.

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