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: