South Africa: Cheetahs thank Toyota for their endurance of tough times

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Cheetahs CEO Ross van Reenen has publicly thanked their sponsors Toyota, without whom he reckons the union might have ceased to exist earlier this year.

The Bloemfontein-based provincial team has had the rough end of several outcomes in recent years, losing first Super Rugby and then Pro 14 status as South Africa turned consistently to its four economic powerhouse teams.

A new dawn

The effects of the pandemic were also keenly-felt, to the point where the union was on a day-to-day existence earlier this year.

But with South African teams now in Europe, the Cheetahs are finally allowed a place at the table, in next season’s Challenge Cup. Mr. van Reenen freely admits that this is a huge fillip to the union.

“EPCR will put us on a different financial level because at the moment we are a domestic franchise,” he said to South Africa’s Times.

“We get far less broadcasting rights from Saru [ SA Rugby Union] compared to the top guys, who are the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions.

“At least now we will be recognised as an international franchise again, which means financially there will definitely be more money in it for the union and that’s very good for us.

“We need to retain the players, get new players and for players to see there’s a future here. Now we can say there is the EPCR, this is huge.”

And international brand Toyota, long-time sponsors of the union, will be along for the ride and getting international exposure which Mr. van Reenen says is just reward for their help.

“They are an incredible sponsor to have and are sponsoring us with big money. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be the Cheetahs side, without a doubt,” Van Reenen continued.

READ MORE: Bulls not here ‘to just cruise around’ says captain Marcell Coetzee

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