As South Africa is still in a celebratory mood after the victorious Springboks flew back to SA shores after winning the Rugby World Cup 2023 tournament, SA Inc is on the ball with team spirit.
Pick n Pay Clothing said Thursday it had offered free rugby T-shirt printing to customers who bought a tee from their affordable, locally made 100% BCI cotton T-shirt range.
More than 42000 tees were printed over eight weeks, with almost half printed in three days leading up to the final match on Saturday, the retailer said in a statement.
“The response was extraordinary as official partner stores had sold out of official Springbok clothing,” it said.
Pick n Pay Clothing said it also sold around 1 million official Springbok merchandise items. This range launched in July and sold out during the early games of the tournament.
The retailer said, “We wanted to be a destination to get affordable Springbok merchandise so that all South Africans could be part of the ‘gees’ leading up to the games and on match days. While we doubled our range and tripled the volume this Rugby World Cup, it still wasn’t enough to meet demand. This was when we had the idea to offer free rugby prints on any tee bought to unite with our customers in celebrating our national rugby team.”
Hazel Pillay, the general manager of Pick n Pay Clothing, said, “Shirts became symbols of unity and national pride during the Rugby World Cup, and the response to the free rugby T-shirt printing was a heart-warming display of support and patriotism."
Pillay said the retailer went from averaging around 500 prints a day in a store to more than 2500 in some stores during the final weekend.
“It has been incredible to play such a huge unofficial role in kitting out South Africans for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. We have seen our uniquely printed T-shirts or our official Springbok range all over social media and in the streets.
“Seeing our fellow South Africans' sheer enthusiasm and pride for our Springboks was heart-warming. We are so proud to have played our part in uniting fans together ahead of the victory by the Boks on Saturday,” Pillay said.
Meanwhile, telecoms giant MTN South Africa, which is the principal sponsor of the Boks, on Thursday also announced that it would be contributing R30 million to the SA Rugby Growth Fund, R10m per year for the next three years, in recognition of the Springbok’s historic victory at the Rugby World Cup.
Charles Molapisi, the CEO at MTN SA, offered his heartfelt congratulations to the Boks today, saying, “We are deeply privileged to have been a part of this journey alongside the Springboks. Each one of you has consistently shown us what nation-building, unity and unwavering dedication can achieve. This R30 million contribution is to help SA Rugby ensure that the next generation of players of this calibre can be discovered, from every corner of the country, to ensure the next Siya is nurtured and developed through the rugby ranks.
MTN said the Springboks, were a source of immense national pride, and had consistently gone to great lengths to bring people together.
The Springboks are the only team to have won every World Cup final they’ve been in, winning four titles in eight appearances, more than any other country.
Molapisi said, “Our long-standing partnership with the Springboks has been instrumental in driving significant social change over the years, touching the lives of South Africans from all walks of life. As a country, we needed this...
“Thanks too, to the millions of South Africans for their fervent support of the Boks. From those who conveyed their well-wishes through MTN platforms, the participants of our MTN Gwijo challenge, and those who journeyed to France. The powerful spirit of unity and encouragement, demonstrated on social media platforms and at fan parks throughout the nation, showed the Springboks that we stood firmly behind them, no matter the outcome – and we will continue to do so, ” he said.