THE countdown for rugby's biggest party was set in motion when the Blitz Boks arrived in Port Elizabeth yesterday to promote the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens tournament on December 7 and 8.
After ending fourth at the Gold Coast tournament in Australia at the weekend the Blitz Boks are determined to get back on the winning trail in Dubai on November 29 and 30 before the Port Elizabeth leg of the world series.
"We are looking forward to the Port Elizabeth tournament and we want to come here and express ourselves," star Blitz Bok playmaker Cecil Afrika said at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
"The team want the fans to come out and support us in Port Elizabeth and we want to make them feel proud. If people like their rugby fast and furious, they must go out and buy a ticket for the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens," the Missionvale-born star said.
Afrika said the team had been disappointed not to beat Australia in their semifinal at the Gold Coast Sevens, which went into extra-time on Saturday. "We really put our bodies on the line against Australia and we were sorry that we did not win," Afrika said.
The Blitz Boks had a busy schedule in the Eastern Cape yesterday, attending a signing session at the Steve Biko Lawns at Rhodes University in Grahamstown before visiting the Bay Stadium in the afternoon.
At midday today they will attend a signing session and a "It's Go Time" ticket promotion at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's south campus.
At 3.30pm, they will be at the entertainment court at the Walmer Park Shopping Centre.
SA Rugby Union (Saru) official Khaya Mayedwa said several exciting events were planned for Port Elizabeth in the week leading up to the December tournament.
"There are many activities planned after the teams start arriving in Port Elizabeth. There will be signing sessions involving the teams and all the matches will be broadcast to a worldwide audience."
Saru chief executive Jurie Roux said: "The Nelson Mandela Sevens tournament has established itself as one of the standout tournaments on the World Series calendar and Saru is once more looking forward to host the world's best sevens players in the Friendly City.
"Our marketing team and various stakeholders have joined forces to compile a top-class entertainment programme for what promises to be an unforgettable weekend of rugby action.
"Apart from the excitement on the field, fans will also be able to enjoy a free concert on the Saturday evening," Roux said.
Tickets for the Bay Sevens are available at Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers outlets, as well as online through www.computicket.com
Ticket prices are:
Saturday: R150 – Tier 2 West Stand blocks 201 to 204 and blocks 228 to 231. R50 – Tier 2 East Stand, North Stand and South Stand. R150 – Tier 2 West Stand Disabled Area. R50 – Tier 2 East Stand Disabled Area.
Sunday: R150 – Tier 2 West Stand and blocks 200 to 204 and blocks 228 to 231. R50 – Tier 2 East Stand, North Stand and South Stand. R150 – Tier 2 West Stand Disabled Area. R50 – Tier 2 East Stand Disabled Area.