On the 1st of September 2011, around 50 000 Springbok fans and rugby lovers united at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton and the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town to give rugby fanatics an opportunity to bid the Boks farewell before they departed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. The SARU initiative, which was supported by Lead SA, the Department of Sport and Recreation, SuperSport and Absa, was broadcast live by SuperSport 1, 94.7 Highveld Stereo, Talk Radio 702, the SABC and e.tv. "We were ecstatic that the send-off also caught the eye of CNN and ESPN, who reported from the event live," says SARU Marketing Manager, Sarah Mundy.
Free tickets to the event was distributed by 94.7 Highveld Stereo, Talk Radio 702, The Star and Pretoria News, as well as key sponsors and partners. West Street was partially closed between the Nelson Mandela Square and the Sandton Gautrain Station, so that fans could line up, get autographs from the Boks and send good luck wishes to them. In addition, fans were entertained by Freshlyground, Danny K, The Graeme Watkins Project, Axene, Jay and La Vuvuzela.
A flyover by two helicopters and various Harvard planes - of which one was flown by Laurie Kay, the pilot who flew over Ellis Park when the Boks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup - rounded off the day's excitement, leaving Springboks and fans alike with a feeling of national pride.
SARU's Springbok Fans Unite 2011 campaign will end on 23 October 2011 - the final Bokday - which will hopefully also see the Springboks retaining their title. Go Bokke!