In The News
Soccer giants Kaizer Chiefs will face fellow Gauteng sporting icons, the Lions, in the first match of their rugby debut at the NBM 7sPL tournament in George next weekend.
Chiefs are grouped with Western Province and the privately owned Samurai team in Pool C of the event and will play the Lions, Living Ball and The Sharks on day one of the inaugural event at the picturesque Outeniqua Park on the Garden Route.
In what will be the African superstars’ first venture into rugby, the Chiefs team will travel to George for the December event with three Springbok wings with a combined test try tally of 31. Their squad is an exciting mix of experience, skill, pace and youthful exuberance.
The team to play on the 14th and 15th of December was named in Johannesburg on Monday.
With former Springboks Breyton Paulse, Jongi Nokwe and Frederich Lombard providing test match experience, coach Gcobani Bobo will also be able to call on international experience in the form of the young Kenyan star, Daniel Adongo, as well as a host of other exciting South African talent.
The team includes Wandile Mjekevu (Junior Springboks, Super Rugby Lions, Sharks XV), Cameron Jacobs (Cheetahs Super Rugby and Currie Cup, SA Students, Griffons), Wilhelm Koch (Lions Super Rugby, Leopards & SWD Currie Cup, Royal XV), Boland and former Pumas ace Junior Bester and the former Leopards and Western Province try scoring ace, Shuaib (Bom) Samaai. Two more names will be added to the squad this week.
Young Western Province flyer Elmo Thomas, who was recommended by Stormers Head Coach Allister Coetzee, will add his searing pace to the outfit.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Gcobani Bobo was very pleased with his squad. “We have a good mix here. You have the proven qualities of Springbok players, the exciting potential of the young guns like Wandile and Elmo and the hard core experience of guys like Wilhelm, Junior and Sean. I realise that we will have very little time to prepare, but other teams will be in a similar situation. The fact that we can use rolling substitutions will obviously help me to manage those players who have not played sevens recently. I think this team will do Kaizer Chiefs proud.”
Kaizer Chiefs Marketing Director, Jessica Motaung, said "Kaizer Chiefs is very excited. We finally have our Rugby 7's equivalent of the Glamour Boys and we have faith that our very competitive team will make its mark on the field. We encourage our supporters to buy tickets and to come and see our Rugby Glamour Boys on the field. ”
Tournament promoter Willem Strauss announced Springbok test player Bismarck du Plessis as the campaign ambassador.
“It is fantastic to have one of the best players in the world supporting this venture. This is a massive boost for the tournament,” Strauss said.
Du Plessis, who was in attendance, said he welcomed Kaizer Chiefs’ participation. “As a proud South African rugby player, I would like to welcome the country’s leading Soccer brand in to the rugby world”.
He pledged his support to the thinking behind the expansion of the entertainment service they render in to a different sporting code.
Chiefs unveiled their kit for the tournament and it was very well received. Jessica Motuang said that the new KC Rugby 7's jersey will be on sale at Chiefs’ newly revamped Retail Store at the Village and at the event on the 14th and 15th of December. “It’s historic for us to be launching a rugby jersey. We want our supporters to come out and support us in their colours! We will continue our journey of Reclaiming the Glory!"
According to Michelle Davadoss from team sponsor Hollard, “The superb, high-tech kit is the result of a close collaboration between ourselves, Kaizer Chiefs and the kit manufacturer. From a design perspective it’s fresh and stylish, while retaining the essence of the Kaizer Chiefs brand. The quality of the kit is on a par with that of the kits used by championship-winning teams from around the world. As sponsors we are proud that we could bring our knack of delivering quality through partnership to this particular venture. We’re sure the kit will attract great interest and add to the festival cheer at the tournament,” Davadoss said.
“We look forward to a great tournament and especially the rugby clinics, which will contribute to community development and to promoting rugby among the youth. We would like to encourage those from the George community and surrounding areas to come and experience this innovative and exciting tournament - a tournament which promotes collaboration across sports, which celebrates excellence and which promotes healthy activity in a family-friendly environment. And of course we wish the first Kaizer Chiefs sevens rugby team a great run in the tournament,” Davadoss added.”
The Kaizer Chiefs squad is (South African unless stated): Breyton Paulse ©, Daniel Adongo (Counties Manakau, NZ), Shuaib (Bom) Samaai, Jongi Nokwe, Junior Bester, Elmo Thomas, Friedrich Lombard, Shaun Raubenheimer, Cameron Jacobs, Wandile Mjekevu, Wilhelm Koch.
The pools for the tournament have also been allocated.
Pool A sees the NBM All Stars, Vikings (both privately owned) and the Blue Bulls, Pool B consists of the Cheetahs, Mighty Mohicans (privately owned) and Boland (privately owned), Pool C have the Kaizer Chiefs, Samurai (privately owned) and Western Province, while the Sharks, Lions and Living Ball (privately owned) tops up Pool D.