Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Met Eish ja …

Tank Lanning

Unlike those troops at Cricket South Africa who are seeing sponsors fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, it seems the good folk at SARU are doing something right, with sponsors seemingly flocking … And yesterday they welcomed Klipdrift into their sponsorship family at a launch event at the famous brandy distillery in Robertson.

Jurie Roux, SARU CEO, said he was delighted to announce a new sponsorship, especially in difficult financial times. “We are very fortunate to have a number of extremely keen sponsors as part of our family and we’re excited to be working with Klipdrift for the next five years,” said Roux.

The sponsorship sees two iconic South African household names coming together with Klipdrift signing a five-year sponsorship deal with SARU to become the official brandy supplier to the Springboks.

The deal includes exclusive product rights within their category, pouring rights at SARU functions, the right to distribute premiums, which allows Klipdrift exclusive branding and commercial rights to point of sale product, as well as branding rights in advertising campaigns.

And to mark the announcement, they invited some high profile guests (who arrived via helicopter) to mix with us media rabble, who enjoyed a festive bus trip out to the countryside …

Nothing like an egte Suid Afrikaanse brekki on the bus …


The invite suggested “Casual” attire, but my shorts and slops looked decidedly out of place next to the smart suites donned by the likes of Jurie Roux and Matt Pearce, who was on the mic … Oh well, nothing a sharp shot of the sponsors product could not fix …

Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield and Corne Krige were the invited guests asked to join Pearce on stage for an informal and fun Q&A …

Matfield and Burger ...

Matfield and Burger ...

Not one to stir the pot, there was a nice chirp from Pearce … “Welcoming past, present and “in between” Springboks to the Klipdrift distillery …”

Burger: “It’s a great sponsorship … Helps me build the bridge with the Bulls, who drink a lot of brandy …”

Krige: “I was asked to fight Carlos Spencer in the boxing ring … But I was not keen to get knocked out by a flyhalf, so I gave it a miss …”

Matfield: “Heyneke has asked me to play but there is a lot of red tape to get through before getting back on the park … ”

Burger: “No matter the rules or interpretations, to say there is no space in the game for a fetcher is nonsense”

Intense concentration ....

Formal proceedings done, it was to the trough for a magnificent feed, and then to the tasting room for a formal tasting of all four* Klipdrift products, together with the specific foods that they suggest go well with said products – a biscuit, some fudge, a chocolate ball and a koeksister. A few of us tried to look clever by asking intellectual questions, but most of the media rabble had hoovered the pairing snacks before the tasting even began …

Tank with BMW's Guy Kilfoil

Knowing it to be a done deal, it was interesting to hear Matfield formally confirm the approach from Meyer to play for the Boks again … I am no fan of this decision and see it as a backward step similar to what Peter Div did in his first week in the job … And speaks to the lack of confidence in himself that a few of us have raised in recent weeks …

But the red tape Matfield will have to go through before getting back on the park, including returning to routine drug testing, negotiating an exit with SuperSport, and finding a Super rugby franchise, might actually save Meyer from making  this error …

A player needs to have been in the IRB drug testing programme for six months before playing international rugby, thus prevents players from “retiring”, going on a steruid burst, and coming back … Now I am definitely not suggesting that this is what Matfield has done, but the delay might scupper the plans for a return …

Oh well, if it does somehow happen, at least the crowd at his first game back will get to use those Matfield masks they made for his farewell again …

* The Klipdrift family of products has grown from the original Klipdrift Export to include their ready to drink brandy, Klipdrift & Cola, Klipdrift Premium, and multi award winning pot-still brandy Klipdrift Gold and the limited edition Klipdrift Legend which is sold exclusively from the distillery

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Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

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