Rugby fans are in for a special pre-season treat with the first Neo Africa Tri-Series, a triangular curtain-raiser to the 2010 Super 14 competition featuring the Vodacom Stormers, Sharks and Australia’s Western Force.
Stormers fans, in particular, have a lot to look forward to. Not only will they get to see former Bulls wing Bryan Habana and former Lions centre Jaque Fourie – both 2007 Rugby World Cup championship medal-winners – wearing Stormers colours for the very first time, but all three matches will be played at their home ground in Newlands.
The tournament’s principal sponsor is Neo Africa, which is a well-established supporter of several sporting codes. A National Supporter of the 2010 FIFA World Cupä and sponsors four of South Africa’s top boxers, this is its first foray into supporting rugby.
“It is a great feather in our cap to be associated with Super Rugby. Fans are eager for the 2010 season to start, and I have no doubt that they are in for a feast of exciting rugby with the Neo Africa Tri-Series,” says Neo Africa Group founder and CEO Vivien Natasen.
“While this is a friendly warm-up tournament, the historical rivalry between our East and West Coast teams, and between our teams and their Australian counterpart, means that we anticipate loads of good old-fashioned, bone-crunching action on the field,” he adds.
The Neo Africa Tri-Series kicks off at 5pm on Saturday, 23 January, when the Stormers and the Western Force face off. Then the Sharks and the Western Force meet at 7pm on Tuesday, 26 January, and finally the Stormers and the Sharks tackle one another at 7pm on Friday, 29 January.
Neither of the first two matches will be televised, but the Stormers-Sharks encounter will be broadcast live on SuperSport, preceded by an hour-long programme featuring the highlights of the first two fixtures.
Tickets for all three matches have already gone on sale through Computicket, Shoprite, Shoprite Checkers and Checkers Hyper Stores nationwide. Tickets are priced at R50 for seating (all stands), R20 for standing room and R10 for scholars (in the scholars areas only). The Newlands box office opens between 9am and 4pm from Tuesday, 19 January.