Pink Pumas sign with Ford
The pink Varsity Cup ball. (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – The colour pink and rugby are becoming greater bedfellows by the day.
Last year the Varsity Cup raised eyebrows in South Africa with pink shorts and balls. But the Pumas are taking it a step further this year.
The Mpumalanga Rugby Union (MRU) on Thursday revealed their new pink jersey alongside their new sponsor.
The pink jersey will mainly be used in away matches. The traditional grey jersey, with its new design, was also revealed.
The change is not a backward step. In fact, rugby is healthy in the region.
In a step that will make them the envy of several other small provinces, the MRU announced an impressive sponsorship. The union will be backed by the Ford motor company this year.
The sponsorship, which the MRU prefers to refer to as a partnership, is about R1m per year and also includes vehicle benefits.
It’s also a title sponsorship and the team will be known as the Ford Pumas in 2011.
An additional sponsorship from Kikkr, a business that manufactures sports clothes, was also announced and will assist the Pumas in establishing a new identity.
This includes the use of a pink jersey as a sign of renewal at the union.
Negotiations are also under way to host several matches at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit this year, though matches will also be played in Witbank.
It’s not certain whether the Pumas will use Nelspruit as their permanent base this year.
The Pumas returned to the Currie Cup last year and beat the Blue Bulls and Lions under the coaching of Jimmy Stonehouse.
Even so, not a single Pumas player was called up to the Lions’ Super Rugby squad. That is why the team will be a strong contender in the Vodacom Cup.
The Pumas play the Falcons in a training game at Kempton Park on Friday.The teams are:Falcons:
Arno Poley, Kyle Hendricks, Marno Kotzee, Winston Williams, Roland Syphus, Martin Thomsen, Haas Snyman, Reg Muller, Marco Kotze, Warren Perkins, Bovril de Bruin, Eddie Gauche, Nico Engelbrecht (capt), Shone van der Walt. Zane Killian. Substitutes: Zander de Kock, Thulani Ngidi, Chris Ehlers, Griffith van Wyk, Monde Kinana, Dillon Laubscher, Dewald Nel, Morné Erasmus, Jacques Alberts.Pumas:
Carl Bezuidenhout, Wilhelm Loock, JW Jonker, Tiaan Marx, Deon Scholtz, Coenie van Wyk, Tian Meyer, JP Mostert, Jaco Bouwer, Martin Sithole, Marius Coetzer, Luan Velthuizen, Ashley Buys, Hans van Dyk, Michael De Neuilly Rice. Substitutes: Dawie Steyn, Brett Nel, Andries Kruger, Shaun Venter, Ricardo Croy, Siviwe Magaba, Johan Jackson.