SA rugby in Sevens heaven after Cape Town award - Times LIVE
   
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Fri May 26 22:38:25 SAST 2017

SA rugby in Sevens heaven after Cape Town award

Craig Ray | 2017-05-19 09:38:01.0
The Blitzboks after their victory over Scotland at the Paris Sevens. File photo.
Image by: AURELIEN MEUNIER/GETTY IMAGES

SA Rugby are in Sevens heaven after a week of unprecedented success for the code and the sport’s governing body.

Last weekend the Blitzboks were crowned 2016-17 HSBC World Sevens Series after winning in Paris‚ which gave them an unassailable advantage at the top of the overall standings with one tournament to go.

And on Thursday SA Rugby was rewarded with the ‘Best Live Sports Experience’ at the annual Discovery Sports Industry Awards (DSIA) in Johannesburg for its hosting of the Cape Town leg of the World Series.

The Blitzboks‚ the Cape Town leg of the World Series and the highly successful club rugby competition‚ the Gold Cup‚ are the only three entities SA Rugby wholly own. And they are all massively successful.

The Springboks‚ Currie Cup‚ Super Rugby and the contracting of national players are all joint ventures with provincial or international partners and are often fraught with politicking and vested interests.

The Cape Town Sevens forms part of the 10-leg World Series‚ but its staging is entirely run by SA Rugby‚ under licence from World Rugby.

Held at the Cape Town Stadium in December each year‚ the tournament was praised by DSIA judges for its “innovative and creative activations”. They said that the “high-impact and engaging” entertainment meant that the Springbok Sevens team’s defeat in the final “did not detract from the fans’ enjoyment of the experience – a testament to the success of the tournament”.

The event was a 109,000 sellout over the two days and featured numerous music‚ dance and big screen entertainments. It was embraced by the audience‚ many of whom joined in the Sevens tradition of attending in fancy dress.

A multitude of food and beverage options as well as an extensive children’s play area completed the experience.

“An enormous amount of thought and effort went into producing the event and we’re delighted to have been recognised by the judges of the Discovery Sport Industry Awards with this accolade‚” said Jurie Roux‚ CEO of SA Rugby.

“The days when it was enough to send out two rugby teams to capture the imagination of an audience are part of history and our team worked very hard to create an engaging and joyful experience.

“We had fantastic feedback from the audience and to have that endorsed with this award is extremely satisfying.”

Roux said that the award had inspired the SA Rugby team to raise the bar even higher in 2017. An announcement on the sale of tickets for this year’s event would be made in June.

- TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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