Eastbourne College is preparing its grounds for a visit from South Africa’s international rugby team.
The team, best known as the Spingboks, will train at the independent school’s grounds throughout their run in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Head Groundsman Richard Maryan and his team started work on the pitch last year and have continued throughout the summer to make sure the facility passes the Rugby World Cup’s exacting international standards.
Work included re-seeding the grounds, top dressing the pitch with 60 tonnes of sand, using special fertilisers and cutting the grass to an exact height at least three times each week.
Richard explains, “The Rugby World Cup organising body has visited several times to conduct detailed pitch inspections and the representatives are delighted with how the College pitch is looking.
“The inspections include 17 different tests with the aim of ensuring our pitches match closely those the players will play on during the tournament.
“We are extremely proud that the Springboks are coming to Eastbourne and very pleased to be playing an important part in their preparations.”
As well as hosting the team, the college’s choir has been selected as one of only 20 choirs across the country to be part of the World Cup official welcoming ceremonies.
As a legacy of the South African team’s visit, a bursary will be established to provide talented young rugby players of the future the opportunity to develop their talents at the college.
Eastbourne College Headmaster Simon Davies said, “We decided to bid to be a Rugby World Cup Team Base not just for the benefit of the College but for the benefit of the whole town of Eastbourne.
“The process involved people from across the town working together and it is incredibly exciting that this hard work has resulted in the South African team being based in Eastbourne and training on our pitches. It is a great privilege.
”One of the reasons the Springboks team is coming to Eastbourne College is our outstanding outdoor sporting facilities.
“The tourists will also be able to see the work that has just started on Project 150, a £33 million redevelopment of the centre of the College which will include state-of-the-art indoor sports facilities and much more. It is scheduled to open in 2017 to coincide with the College’s 150th anniversary.”
The welcome ceremony for the Springboks will take place on Sunday September 13 at the Bandstand.
The College will also be celebrating the South African visit with other events including themed lunches, a braai and a visit from a South African township choir.
For mor information go to http://www.projectzulu.org
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