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Thursday, 25 June 2015 14:21

Big Bok support from Tsogo Sun

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The flag signing box The flag signing box Pictures supplied by Tsogo Sun

It's been 20 years since the 1995 Rugby World Cup unified a nation and this year the Rugby World Cup is once again around the corner. The '95 Bokke reunited together with their fellow Springboks at Tsogo Sun's Palazzo Hotel this week in support of the #HomeGroundAdvantage SA Rugby social media campaign for the RWC.

Even hardened journalists found themselves becoming gibbering groupies as they spotted former captain Francois Pienaar and players like Joel Stransky (who with a single kick won his team the 1995 Rugby World Cup), Chester Williams and many others in the crowd, along with the likes of rugby giants Victor Matfield, Trevor Nyakane, James Dalton and Morne du Plessis, a rugby legend often described as one of the Boks' most successful captains who played against the British Lions in 1974 in one of the most memorable series ever (he has been appointed chair of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation). Sadly Joost van der Westhuizen was not present but was represented by a fellow sufferer of motor neuron disease and the legendary John Smit was also not present.

My career in journalism has allowed me many moments with South Africa's beloved Springboks, including a day of enormous fun with the Sharks down in sunny Durbs when I found myself shark cage diving with the burly yet genial players, a day out with John Smit and AJ Venter with the Reach for a Dream kids when the two pranksters dressed up as Swazi maidens and confused us all and I even ate sushi with the likes of Percy Montgomery (who got mercilessly ribbed by the British press about his hair as well as by myself when I wrote that he needed a good moisturiser!). However, the Tsogo Sun event topped them all and us media thronged to have a rugby ball signed by as many famous players as possible, as one day that ball would be highly collectable!

Tsogo Sun has commited itself to the Springboks as they celebrate 20 years since South Africa’s first RWC win and prepare to battle it out for the top trophy in world rugby for the third time.

“We have been partners with SA Rugby since our RWC win in 1995 – and we’re proud to Get Behind the Boks through our “Fly The Flag” initiative, which will run alongside the SA Rugby campaign as a powerful demonstration of support for the Springboks,” says Tsogo Sun’s Director of Marketing Noëleen Bruton.

For a two month period, the public will be invited to sign a good luck message to the Springboks on a ribbon, using one of the ribbon devices at Tsogo Sun properties around the country. These ribbons will then be sewn together to form a 3m x 8m flag that will be displayed on the Montecasino Piazza. A smaller replica of this flag will also be handed over at the Springbok send-off ceremony at Montecasino on 11 September.

The ribbon signing kicked off at the Palazzo and guests were invited to sign their messages of encouragement along with players.

The ‘Fly The Flag” campaign runs from 24 June to 25 August when all the signed ribbons will be collected and assembled to create the flag. For a week before the send-off ceremony, the flag will be on display at Montecasino to build further support for the Springboks.

“We’ve created a campaign that would give Springbok fans the chance to do something tangible in support of their team; to be involved in a unifying project that will no doubt be inspiring and encouraging for the Boks as they face this mighty challenge,” says Bruton.

Another exciting competition that also forms part of the Tsogo Sun RWC initiatives is campaign where a fan and five friends can win a weekend at the Palazzo Penthouse to watch the final game at Montecasino Boktown, as well as a host of great prizes from major sponsors, simply by posting the best Springbok supporters selfie.

 “Our support of sport in South Africa has seen us partner with many national teams, most prominently with the Springboks, and we are so delighted to be assisting SARU in their campaign by implementing our initiatives in support of the Boks,” continues Bruton.

Tsogo Sun’s 20-year relationship with SA Rugby was strengthened at the time of the 1995 Rugby World Cup when Tsogo Sun was appointed the official and exclusive hotel group for the event. Subsequent to the RWC, a partnership agreement was entered into with SA Rugby, and Tsogo Sun has been their official accommodation partner ever since. This partnership with SA Rugby also gives Tsogo Sun exclusive rights to host Boktown – the Springbok Supporters Village – at its Montecasino, Silverstar and Suncoast properties. This year three more Tsogo Sun properties have been confirmed as additional official Boktown venues – Gold Reef City, Emnotweni in Nelspruit, and the Ridge in Emalahleni – for the Rugby World Cup.

“We believe that an overwhelming show of support from all South Africans for our Springbok team can give them the home ground advantage – even in England – and help them to bring home the ultimate rugby trophy. We’re proud to be able to play our part in this campaign,” says Bruton.

 Tsogo Sun’s support of sport over the years has grown to include the majority of South African sporting codes, including both national and provincial associations. The group is the proud accommodation partner to Bafana Bafana, a relationship that began in 1996 when Tsogo Sun was the exclusive accommodation supplier for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The group also has an ongoing partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) through the Suncoast Dolphins Cricket Academy and an exciting development for Tsogo Sun is its support of the national netball squad, the Proteas. The group has also built up a good relationship with Varsity Cup Rugby and Varsity Sport, which started with rugby but has now branched out to include soccer, hockey and athletics. Tsogo Sun is the official accommodation partner to the PSL as well as to several of the teams, and Kaizer Chiefs use Southern Sun Montecasino as the base camp hotel for all their home games.



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