On Sunday 13 September the South African Rugby World Cup team was officially welcomed to Eastbourne. The event, which took place at the Winter Gardens, was attended by over 1000 people.
On arrival the South Africans were welcomed with a guard of honour from the juniors of Eastbourne Rugby Club before the Eastbourne College choir performed a superb version of the Rugby World Cup anthem, ‘World in Union’. This striking version of the widely recognised song had been specially arranged for the ceremony by Mr Daniel Jordan, new Director of Music at Eastbourne College.
Each of the South African players was presented with their tournament participation medal and cap.
The excited audience was addressed by Oregan Hoskins, Vice chairman of World Rugby and Ian Ritchie, RFU chief executive.
Captain, Jean de Villiers responded on behalf of the South African team. He said, “It is a humbling experience to be here and occasions like this are what make the Rugby World Cup such an unbelievable experience.
We are here to win the World Cup but while we are here we want to meet as many people as we can and make some new friends and hopefully make a difference to people’s lives.”
The team will be using the Eastbourne College Memorial pitches and indoor facilities at the University of Brighton in preparation for the first match on Saturday 20 September against Japan at the Brighton Community Stadium.
Photos courtesy of Graham Huntley Photography.