Stellenbosch University
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SU to host South Africa’s first FISU rugby sevens championship in 2026
Author: Kimara Singh
Published: 20/06/2024

​​​For the first time since its inception, South Africa will be the host nation for the the International University Sports Federation's (FISU) 2026 Rugby Sevens Championship and Stellenbosch University (SU) will have the honour of becoming only the second African University to host this biannual international university rugby showpiece.

The University of Namibia hosted the 2018 edition. Incidentally, it was also the year that the South African men's team took the gold medal spot while the women finished in the fourth position after narrowly losing to Belgium in the bronze medal match.

“It is a tremendous privilege and opportunity for Stellenbosch to host the 2026 FISU Rugby Sevens Championship. The tournament offers the opportunity to showcase our extraordinary sports facilities at Coetzenburg, our beautiful campus and our rugby culture with students from five continents. Sevens is a fast-paced and exciting rugby code and our students, staff and the local community will enjoy the tournament tremendously," says Prof Stan du Plessis, SU's Chief Operating Officer.

"We have enjoyed the hospitality of our French hosts in Aix-en-Provence these last few days, where the South African men's and women's squads excelled. Of course, we expect our teams to lift both trophies in 2026, but the tournament's purpose is not in the first instance to lift the cup; instead, this Championship is an opportunity for student-athletes from around the world to compete and meet one another in an inspiring setting. The Local Organising Committee at SU is committed to ensuring such an event, where we aim for the most significant number of teams ever at a FISU World Rugby event Championship," said Du Plessis.

This year's tournament was hosted in Aix-Marseille-Provence, France and took place over two days, from 10 to 12 June.

Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director for Maties Sport, expressed excitement at the partnership with University Sport South Africa (USSA) and SU to welcome athletes, coaches, staff, family, friends, and communities from around the world to our campus for an international university rugby sevens event. "Stellenbosch University remains a top sporting destination, committed to providing world-class facilities and expertise for athletes to showcase their talents and achieve their best. Our University is dedicated to using this event to invest in rugby and promote sporting excellence, cultural diversity, and international camaraderie. We anticipate an unforgettable experience for all participants and spectators," said Groenewald.

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Kimara Singh