Two young rugby fans will enjoy the experience of a lifetime when they lead the Springboks onto the field for Rugby World Cup 2019™ in Japan.
10-year old Kristen Janse van Rensburg and 13-year old Milani Pakade were the lucky winners of a mascot selection clinic held by Land Rover South Africa ahead of the ultimate rugby tournament set to kick off in September.
Land Rover, which is a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019 and South African sponsors of the Springboks, has been given the opportunity to provide mascots for each of the 20 teams set to compete in Japan.
Land Rover South Africa was responsible for choosing two young Springbok supporters who will now lead out the South African national team in two of their matches at the tournament.
The selection process involved a special mascot clinic where a group of rugby fanatics between the ages of 7 and 13 were asked to answer a series of questions about their favourite players.
The two children with the best answers, as judged by Land Rover ambassador and former Springbok Jean de Villiers, were Kristen Janse van Rensburg from Laarskool Garsfontein and Milane Pakade from Woodhill College.
The results were kept secret from the winners for weeks until Jean de Villiers surprised the unsuspecting youngsters with the big news about their upcoming trip in person. Shortly after the emotional reveals Milani and Kristen were chauffeured to their respective schools by De Villiers in a one-of-a-kind Range Rover Sport SVR built in the UK as a tribute to the Springboks.
Kristen, who holds Provincial Colours for athletics and tennis, will carry the Springboks into their clash against Italy. She’s a massive Malcom Marx fan because he’s “big, strong and friendly”,and is especially excited for the journey because she’s never flown in an aeroplane before.
Her message to the Springboks is: “You can do this. Hold hands, teamwork is everything.”
Milani aspires to be a professional rugby player and already has good pedigree after playing Sevens and 15-man games at Woodhill since he was three.
“I’m excited about seeing Japan’s city lights,” says Milani. “One day I’ll tell the story of how when I was 13 Land Rover sent me to Rugby World Cup 2019.”
Milani’s words of encouragement to the Springboks are: “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you have made us all proud and you’re all winners for South Africa.”
South African rugby fans can keep an eye out for Milani and Kristen on TV just ahead of the South Africa matches and can participate in the conversation using the #DrivenBeyond hashtag.
From fostering love for the game at grassroots level to supporting the world’s best on the ultimate stage in Japan, no brand understands the spirit of rugby like Land Rover.