Cape Town – SA Rugby on Saturday officially launched its
#LoveRugby movement – the antidote to sporting negativity.
The hashtag – which twice trended on Twitter in
South Africa in the fortnight prior to launch – will appear on the rear of the
Springbok jersey in the first Test against Ireland at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
It also decorates the team bus; will appear on
field markings; LED advertising; the match day programme; in social media and
in a television commercial which will be flighted as part of SuperSport’s
“#LoveRugby is our story, South Africa’s story,”
said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “We are always reading and hearing other
people’s thoughts about what South African rugby is. Through this movement, we
will bring to life rugby’s story and why people love this game.”
The #LoveRugby movement surfaced 14 days ago
when the Springboks arrived at Cape Town International Airport. New Springbok
coach Allister Coetzee marked the start of his changing of the guard by asking
his players to hitch hike their way to camp in Stellenbosch by way of Cape Town
The players – dressed in bright yellow
#LoveRugby t-shirts – went to venues as diverse as the Springbok Experience
Rugby Museum, a township restaurant, a city gym, rugby clubs and a brewery to
engage with unsuspecting Capetonians before ‘thumbing’ their way to
“#LoveRugby is our message to South Africa,”
said Coetzee. “We love rugby and we want South Africa to share that love. The
players felt it on the first day at camp when they went into communities and
stood by the roadside trying to beg a lift.
“They didn’t know what they were getting
themselves into but instead of arriving drained and downbeat they were
energised by the experience.”
Roux said that the #LoveRugby message was part
of the ongoing transformation of the game.
“We know we have a good story to tell but it’s
not always heard,” he said. “Rugby holds a very powerful place in conversations
about South Africa. It’s our sport’s privilege to regularly make the front page
as well as the back page of newspapers – we’re proud of the fact that our sport
really matters to South Africa.
“It means that lots of people have lots of
opinions about rugby. We’ve heard them long and loud in recent months – and
they’ve often not been flattering. So we thought it was overdue for us to tell
our story; to put to one side the sideshows and remind ourselves what it’s
about; what we’re about – that we just #LoveRugby. And we want to share that
love with South Africans this season and in years to come.”
Roux said that SA Rugby had achieved a number
of significant advances in recent months but that that message was not always
“The selection of our Springbok, SA ‘A’ and
Junior Bok squads point to the future,” said Roux. “Our Sevens team has an
outstanding squad, we have signed new sponsors as well as the Proudly South
African Pledge and engaged positively with key stakeholders.
“This really is a time to #LoveRugby.”
The #LoveRugby movement will gather momentum
during the international season with more engagements with supporters and expressions
of rugby love to come.
Supporters can join the #LoveRugby movement by
following the Springboks at @Springboks on Twitter, www.facebook.com/springboks or
@BokRugby on Instagram.