The second addition of the Assupol International 7’s tournament, to be held at Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch on 28 and 29 October 2017, will see a host of international sevens rugby teams travelling to South Africa to compete in this action-packed event, with the current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions, the Springbok Sevens again the main drawcard.
Apart from the likes of the Blitzboks, World Series regulars Scotland and Kenya, will also travel to the Western Cape with a host of other African teams like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Mauritius, as well as the England Academy side and an All Stars team completing a very competitive main tournament.
The Assupol International 7’s will include clubs, with bragging rights and prize money amongst the Western Province Rugby Union clubs at stake, as well as an international Under-17 Schools section, where teams from Argentina and Namibia will battle it out against WP, Boland and SWD selections as well as two SA Select teams, coached by SA Rugby Sevens Academy coach, Marius Schoeman.
South Africa’s Sevens team was victorious in the inaugural tournament in 2016 as part of their preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio, where they won bronze and will again use this tournament as part of their build-up to defend their World Series crown. Scotland, who will travel to the tournament for the first time, where finalists in the HSBC Paris Sevens tournament and won the HSBC London Sevens, so where the in-form team in the last leg of the previous World Series.
The tournament was launched in Stellenbosch on Thursday.
Tournament promotor, Willem Strauss, was excited about the add-ons the event will deliver.
“The tournament is a great platform for the SA 7’s team and other participating teams to prepare themselves for the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as it is played against quality opposition and at a world class facility. I would also like to thank Gert Wessels and Assupol for their continuing support of this event.”
Strauss believes that this year’s tournament will arguably be one of the biggest sevens tournaments in the world with as many as 80 teams that will participate.
“To have so many teams from Europe, Africa and Argentina participating adds a lot of value to the tournament and will ensure that the Assupol International 7’s tournament will become one of the highlights on the international 7’s calendar” he said.
“With the Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup Sevens, the World Series and Youth Olympics all on the calendar, 2018 will be a very special year for Sevens and all of the representative teams playing here, will benefit with that in mind.”
Springbok Sevens coach, Neil Powell, welcomed the opportunity to play in Stellenbosch. “There is no travel involved for us, which is a massive bonus, while the timing the tournament suits us as well, with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series fast approaching.
It will be an important tournament for the squad to again play together after our long lay-off and with the quality of opponents assembled, this will be a proper test for us.”
Mr Gert Wessels, Assupol Holdings’ Executive Director, said it is a massive opportunity and privilege for them to be involved with the tournament and they are hoping to build on the success of the 2016 event, where good crowds and hundreds of participants contributed to a successful hosting.
“We continue to support South African sport at all levels through our sponsorships. Assupol is actively involved in grass-roots level development and we believe that young players must be empowered and serve as the breeding ground for senior professional teams. I want to thank the Western Province Rugby Union for their assistance and logistical support in this regard as this contributes to the success of the tournament.
“I am pretty happy about the quality of the professional teams competing, but also very happy about the clubs and schools sections. We see sevens rugby as a great equalizer in club and schools rugby and that is essential if we wish to have strong and competitive professional players. Transformation and development can only receive its rightful place in a strong club culture and appropriate competitions and I think the Assupol Rugby Sevens Festival will contribute to that,” Wessels said.
President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, Mr Thelo Wakefield, welcomed Assupol’s contribution.
“We have a vibrant sevens culture amongst our clubs in WP and this tournament, with some prize money, will enhance that, something we are extremely grateful for. It will also be great for the club and school players to be in the same tournament as the professionals from South Africa, Scotland and Kenya to name a few, as they can only learn and be inspired by them.”
The fixtures and schedule for the tournament will be made closer to the start of the tournament.