Plymouth will be Namibia’s Team Base while they are playing their two fixtures at Sandy Park in Exeter and Mr Kotze was on a fact-finding visit ahead of the Tournament, taking place in England and Cardiff between 18 September and 31 October this year.
He was joined by officials from Tournament Organisers England Rugby 2015 on a tour of facilities at the Brickfields, the Plymouth Life Centre and the University of St Mark & St John, as well as a 3G pitch near HMS Drake, managed by the Royal Navy Rugby Union.
Mr Kotze’s first stop was the University of St Mark & St John, where he was welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Michael Fox and representatives from Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club, the University of St Mark & St John, the Royal Navy Rugby Union and Everyone Active (the company operating the Council’s leisure facilities).
The consortium partners have been working closely with England Rugby 2015 over the last 18 months to facilitate site visits and liaison with the teams.
Mr Kotze said: “I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for such a warm welcome. You’ve really set the scene for a great trip to Plymouth. A quote I read recently said ‘this is where history begins’ and I really hope this will be the first time we win a Rugby World Cup match.”
Elaine Skilton, Team Services Pool Manager for England Rugby 2015 said: “Plymouth is a unique place with many organisations, including Plymouth City Council, the University of St Mark & St John, Everyone Active, Plymouth Albion and The Royal Navy all working together in partnership to make a great Team Base for the Namibian team.”
Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “We were very pleased to welcome Mr Kotze to Plymouth and show him the brilliant sports facilities and expertise his players will enjoy when they visit later in the year. More and more overseas teams are looking to Britain’s Ocean City as a great place not only to train, but also relax during their downtime. It is hugely exciting for Plymouth to be part of this year’s Rugby World Cup and hosting one of the competing nations.”
Stan Cinnamond, Director for Sport at the University of St Mark & St John said: “It was wonderful to host Mr Kotze and England Rugby 2015 officials, and to have another international sports team choose our world-class facilities to train at is incredibly inspiring for all the teams and individuals who train here on a daily basis.”
Photograph shows Wessel Kotze (front) with (back, left to right): Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith, Professor Cara Aitchison (Vice Principal of the University of St Mark & St John), Lord Mayor Councillor Michael Fox, Lady Mayoress Rosemary Fox, Tracey Lee (Chief Executive of Plymouth City Council), Elaine Skilton (England Rugby 2015 Rugby World Cup Team Services Pool Manager), Stan Cinnamond (Director for Sport at the University of St Mark & St John) and Kara Luck (England Rugby 2015 Namibian Team Liaison).