As excitement for the Rugby World Cup begins to build, Eastbourne is ready to play host to one of the biggest names in the sport.
The town will host the Springboks, South Africa’s international rugby side, during their stay in the country.
The team will be welcomed to the town with performances from Eastbourne College Choir at the Bandstand on September 13.
The town won the chance to host the team after a joint bid by Eastbourne College and University of Brighton to host a team in the tournament.
Eastbourne College Headmaster Simon Davies said, “Its easy to celebrate now but it’s only because of the monumental amount of work that has gone into the bid.
“It was a massive document and it is a testament to the work done we were the first choice for teams in the pool.”
The school has a long rugby history and has previously hosted training sessions by Australia, New Zealand’s All Blacks and The British Lions.
“This about doing something for Eastbourne, I believe we should be working for the community as a school and this is all about that.”
To mark the visit Eastbourne College will introduce a legacy bursary for talented young rugby players to take their A-Levels at the independent school.
The bursary is named in honour of Robin Harrison, a former student and master who passed away in June 2015.
A staff member for 36 years before becoming secretary of the Old Eastbournian Association, Robin was responsible for College Rugby from 1955 to 1974.
Simon Davies said, “He was a boy here and then he came back as a master, he gave more than 50-years of service to the school working passionately on rugby”
To win the bid the college has had its fields rigoursly tested by World Cup officials to ensure the pitch is nearly identical to the real thing.
The grass has been kept to an exacting length while the soil has been tested repeatedly to ensure the ball bounces exactly as it should.
The work has been carried out by Eastbourne College’s groundskeeping team led by head groundsman Richard Richard said, “My son plays rugby and I watch him play most weekends, So I’m a fan of Rugby.It’s exciting but I’ll be glad when they’re gone. It has been a lot of work.”
But the work isn’t over once the Spingboks are gone as groundskeepers will have to repair the pitch field for the coming school year.
Richard said, “I’ve only ever had experience with schoolboy rugby I’ve never had to deal with a 20-stone South African player tearing up the pitch.”
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