Port Elizabeth will host the South African leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, after coming out as clear winners in a competitive tendering process.
The announcement was made by the South African Rugby Union in Cape Town on Wednesday after the recommendation of a tender committee was accepted by the SARU Executive Council.
The inaugural Port Elizabeth event will be hosted at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in early December this year – and the winning bidders are already forecasting a sold-out event.
“I am delighted to be able to confirm that Port Elizabeth will host the SA Sevens for the next four years,” Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, told a media conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“We received some outstanding bids, but the panel came to the unanimous conclusion that the tender provided by the Eastern Province Kings and Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was a clear winner.
“We measured them against four broad criteria – event hosting capacity; brand building potential for Sevens and SARU; commercial promise and budgetary viability – and their attention to detail in answering each one was outstanding.
“They not only satisfied the standards that we expected from all the bidders, they went the extra mile to research exactly what players, spectators and other stakeholders require and provided innovative solutions for each one.
“The Panel was convinced that Port Elizabeth will produce an absolutely outstanding tournament, based on this document. I’m looking forward to attending the first Port Elizabeth Sevens in December – I’m sure they’re going to take the event to another level.”
Mr Roux thanked the South Western Districts Rugby Union and the City of George for their work and success in hosting the tournament for the past nine seasons. He said that was reflected in the interest that had been generated among unions by the invitation to tender.
The other bidding unions were the Leopards, Pumas, South Western Districts and Western Province.
Cheeky Watson, the president of the Eastern Province Kings, said he was delighted by the outcome.
“We prepared an outstanding tender to deliver an outstanding tournament and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “Port Elizabeth and the whole of the Eastern Cape will be very excited about this decision and we can now begin to mobilise to deliver a memorable experience for the international rugby family.
“I’d like to thank the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for their assistance in preparing the Bid and advise my team that the hard work starts today.”
The decision was welcomed by the International Rugby Board: “This is an exciting new chapter in South Africa’s long-standing relationship with Sevens Rugby and the HSBC Sevens World Series,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset.
“On behalf of the international rugby family, and especially those who participated there, I would like to thank the city and the people of George for hosting South Africa’s event for nine years, and helping it to grow. We now look forward to the Sevens in a wonderful new stadium in Port Elizabeth and wish the organisers every success,” he added.
The IRB will confirm the dates of the Port Elizabeth event as well as of the rest of the HSBC Sevens World Series for 2011/12 in due course.
Fact File: SA Sevens tournament
• South Africa hosted the first tournament of the inaugural Sevens World Series in 1999 at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch
• Durban was the venue for the following two SA Sevens events in 2000 & 2001
• Outeniqua Park in George played host to the popular event for the first time in 2002 and went on to stage the tournament for nine consecutive years
• Port Elizabeth will be the fourth SA venue to host the international tournament
• New Zealand has won the SA Sevens tournament seven times
• The Kiwi’s won both Durban-based tournaments in 2001 & 2002 and achieved their first of five George victories in 2004
• South Africa’s only home success came in 2008, the season they won their first Sevens World Series title
Past host venues and winners of the SA Sevens tournament
2010: George - New Zealand
2009: George - New Zealand
2008: George - South Africa
2007: George - New Zealand
2006: George - New Zealand
2005: George - Fiji
2004: George - New Zealand
2003: George - England
2002: George - Fiji
2001: Durban - New Zealand
2000: Durban - New Zealand
1999: Stellenbosch - Fiji
Earlier today, the IRB and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) together announced that the Gold Coast will become the new home for the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series for the next four years, and will kick off the 2011/12 World Series.
The first International Sevens Gold Coast tournament will be staged at the Skilled Stadium on Queensland’s Gold Coast on 25-26 November 2011.
The announcement represents an exciting development for the HSBC Sevens World Series, which continues to reach out to new fans, sponsors, broadcasters and now venues around the world as the global Rugby family counts down to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“The IRB is delighted that the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series will kick off on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Australia’s commitment to Sevens Rugby over the years has been demonstrated by a fantastic tournament in Adelaide and I am sure that the Gold Coast will prove to be a hugely successful host, providing the platform for Sevens to reach out to yet more people,” said IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset.
“The HSBC Sevens World Series continues to go from strength to strength in every way, attracting not only an increasing number of fans and television broadcasters but also interest from an unprecedented number of global destinations keen to share in its excitement. We very much look forward to this exciting new chapter in the development of the Series and wish the organisers every success," he added.
The Australian Rugby Union’s decision to move the tournament comes after a thorough bidding process.
“Last November, we invited a range of interested parties from across Australia to submit proposals to host the Australian leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series and we received very competitive responses from Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and the Gold Coast,” said ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill.
“After a thorough review process, which included consultation with the International Rugby Board, I am pleased to announce that the Gold Coast was selected as the new home to one of Australia’s fastest growing sports and one of the World’s most exciting Rugby events.
“The decision to move the event to the Gold Coast for the next four years came after a thorough review of some very good proposals and I want to congratulate all the interested parties that expressed a strong desire to host the tournament.
“The Gold Coast is known around the world as a city of excitement and fun and that is exactly the atmosphere we want to permeate through to the Sevens tournament.
“We know tournaments like Dubai, Hong Kong and Wellington all put on a show that attracts people from around the world and we are confident that the decision to host this tournament on the Gold Coast will deliver another exciting opportunity for fans to enjoy international Sevens.
“I want to extend my sincere thanks to the South Australian Government and the people of Adelaide who, for the last five years, have embraced the International Rugby Sevens Adelaide tournament. Their commitment has been sincerely appreciated.”
HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship, Giles Morgan, added: “This is exciting news for rugby fans in Australia and a great location for the players to start their new international season. The growing interest in the Series in Australia, as demonstrated by the proposals received by the ARU, is replicated around the world. Australia has proved to be a great host to date and we look forward to the Gold Coast launching the 2011/12 HSBC Sevens World Series in style this November.”
The season opener is supported by the Queensland Government through Events Queensland and the Gold Coast City Council.
“Winning the bid for an event as prestigious as this is great news for the Gold Coast and great news for Queensland,” said Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh.
“At a time when we are putting the finishing touches on another bid – for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 – this reinforces our message that the Gold Coast is a first-class sporting destination and event ready in every way.
“What better place to host an international tournament than the state-of-the-art stadium at Skilled Park?
“An event of this calibre will also deliver a shot in the arm to the Gold Coast tourism industry and economy – and that’s good news for local business and local jobs.
“What’s more it will position the Gold Coast and Queensland front and centre on the world stage. I’d like to thank everyone involved in supporting this great event and bringing it to the Gold Coast and I am confident it will be a resounding success.”