South African rugby has been wearing purple in recent weeks. The Blitzboks won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, the Springboks had a crushing victory over arch-rivals the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship opener, and the women’s team recorded their first win on foreign soil against Japan two weeks ago.
Building on this momentum, the South African Rugby Union has confirmed that they are partnering with FNB as a sponsor of the Springbok women’s team.
The Springbok Women bounced back from a relegation game to level the two-match series against the Japan Women by winning the second Test 20-10.
The team was well rewarded for their courageous performance and FNB is now providing much needed support.
“It just takes a lot of pressure off the players because they had to do everything themselves. I will give an example of a couple of players who have to travel 100 km for training. They pay a lot of money to play this game and they are determined to do well. With a big brand like FNB behind this team, you can see the stress that has been taken off of not having to worry about transportation is huge,” says coach Stanley Raubenheimer.
Spain series of tests
South Africa will host Spain in a two-match Test series before traveling to New Zealand for the Women’s World Cup in October.
Having a major sponsor in their corner is not only a much-needed financial boost for them, but it will also help cultivate the belief that they can perform on the world stage and be rewarded like their male counterparts.
“For us, this is something that takes time. It’s getting better every day, there’s a process that shows we’re getting better. We will be equal over time because we have professional players in the system and things change,” says captain Nolusindiza Bui.
SA Rugby has thrown down the gauntlet to corporate South Africa, urging them to get involved in the women’s game.
“We cannot do this and develop the game on our own, we need sponsors. In the last two weeks, there has been a lot of talk about women’s sports and where it is going. Not many corporations support the women’s game, not only in SA but globally. We encourage other companies to get involved in the women’s game, it is a very important part of society, given that women are the architects of the country and if that is true, we need to support women’s sport,” says SA Rugby President Mark Alexander.
The first Springbok women’s clash against Spain takes place at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon and will be a curtain-raiser to the Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and New Zealand later that evening.