The Champions Tour moved into Leopards territory from the Free State today to continue its 45 day trophy display extravaganza through South Africa.
An initiative from the South African Rugby Union, the Tour aims to showcase all the international trophies won by South African teams during last season, as well as displaying SARU’s iconic Absa Currie Cup and the SAA National Club Championship trophy.
On Thursday morning the crew moved from Kroonstad, where it made an early evening stop, to the mining town of Orkney and the Oppenheimer Stadium and then onwards to the Klerksdorp Rugby Club in the afternoon.
The Champion Tour vehicle is accompanied by SARU staff members who follow the specially built 22 m long trailer in two Ford Everest vehicles. Also accompanying the Tour is a two-member team of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport. More information on the educational and awareness projects of Drug-Free Sport can be found at www.drugfreesport.org.za
SARU commissioned the special trailer and it was expertly built in three months by Henred Fruehauf.
To date, the Tour has covered eight of SARU’s fourteen provincial unions since the start on 4 February in Cape Town. The remaining provinces are Golden Lions, The Valke, Blue Bulls, Pumas and finally the Sharks, where the Tour ends on Sunday 21 March.
More than 55 000 visitors have viewed the glittering trophies on display and SARU expects the Tour to surpass the targeted 100 000 mark when it comes to a halt in Durban, the home city of World Winning Springbok captain John Smit and The Sharks Super Rugby franchise.
Tomorrow there is a short distance across to Potchefstroom from Klerksdorp, where the next stop is at the Mooi River Mall and later a visit to Profert Olen Park, home turf of the Platinum Leopards.
Rugby fans will be able to see all of the trophies collected by Peter de Villiers’ Springboks in 2009: The Vodacom Tri-Nations trophy; the IRB Team of the Year Award; the Unity Cup for winning the Castle South Africa 2009 Lions Series; the Mandela Challenge Plate and the Freedom Cup. The Rugby World Cup – which South Africa currently holds – will also be on display.
In addition the IRB World Sevens Series trophy, won by Paul Treu’s Springbok Sevens team, and the Vodacom Super 14 trophy, claimed by the Vodacom Bulls will also be on display.