first_imgAustralia’s World Cup Teams arrived in Stellenbosch South Africa ahead of the sixth World Cup of Touch to be played in the South African province from 17 – 21 January 2007.The three Open Teams arrived in Stellenbosch after a travel itinerary that included an overnight stay in Perth followed by an 11-hour flight to Johannesburg with a bumpy entry in driving rain and lightning.A 2-hour flight to Cape Town was followed up by a 45-minute bus drive to the protea hotel in Stellenbosch where all seven teams will take up residence for the next 11 days.Some very weary travelers arrived at 10.30pm local time to collapse into their beds and begin the process of acclimatizing to their new surrounds.After a sumptuous breakfast, set against a beautiful backdrop of the famed Stellenbosch Mountains and wine district, the three teams set off for their first training run on South African soil to blow out the travel cobwebs and begin the last phases of physical work required to top off their pre-tournament preparations. After training, all three teams attended a traditional South African theme park ‘Boya’ at nearby Spier organized by former South African native, and Australian Team Medico Doctor Martin Jaffe.As well as the traditional South African food and entertainment on offer, the Aussie Teams engaged in tours of the Cheetah Park at Spier and local arts and craft displays.The highlights for the Aussie teams included Australian Open Mixed Captain Tony Eltakchi and Men’s Open player Anthony Ziade borrowing some traditional South African garb and entertaining all and sundry with an impromptu dancing display with a few of the locals.When ‘Tash’ incited the locals to chant, “The roof is on fire” some looked skyward to the ceiling, a little panicked, and then relieved to discover that the roof was, in fact, NOT on fire after all.Elsewhere Jason Stanton and Kylie ‘Warnie’ Hilder, were enlisting Stellenbosch locals to help construct human pyramids, and Rebecca Tavo jammed on the Bongos with African native performers.Mixed speedster Brad ‘BJ’ Holden was sizing himself up against Adult Cheetah “Hemmingway” in the Cheetah enclosures for a “fast and the furious” sprint off – but Hemmingway may have the little guy’s measure with a 0 – 80 km hour acceleration in just three seconds.The baby cheetah cubs proved irresistible to most of the girls, and a high percentage of the boys, who fell in love with the gorgeous endangered babies.All three Open teams also visited the famed Table Mountain over the last two days and enjoyed the view from one of the World’s truly great Mountain peaks.A comprehensive tour of Table Mountain provided many memorable photo opportunities for the group, though Australian Women’s Open player Peta Rogerson was not impressed with her little sister Hayley, who on every occasion possible sent Peta’s heart racing with her photo poses as close to the edge of the mountain as possible.  “Hayley, stick to the trail!” was uttered in vain many times by the concerned elder sibling who admits to bouts of giddiness on an escalator. Tony Eltakchi again borrowed an outfit from a worker and a walkie-talkie to entertain the crowd.Kristy Judd, Steve Roberts, and Kelly Woods provided some insightful questions and comments to keep our knowledgeable guide Rainer on her toes and were very good at yelling “View!” to alert onlookers of a clearing of the mist to glimpse better views of the beautiful Capetown coastline. Light Team trainings will continue Tuesday with pockets of sight seeing for some as teams look to rest and focus with first games commencing on Wednesday.The Australian Senior Teams arrived after a wicked travel schedule that saw plane delays ensure connecting flights were not able to be met, forcing some teams into long stays in airports and some players to stay overnight in Johannesburg before flying to Cape town then bussing onto Stellenbosch this morning.After an exhaustive and somewhat trying battle to reach their destination, all Australian representatives finally arrived safe and sound in Stellenbosch this morning. Most senior teams trained lightly today and relaxed in the afternoon, with many team members acclimatizing and fending off the effects of jet lag after their odyssey to get to the World Cup.In brighter news, all World Cup Teams and Touch Football Australia would like to pass on their congratulations to popular Australian Women’s Open player Dominique Maher on her marriage to Ryan Barlow, Dom married her beau before close family and friends at Cronulla on Saturday before postponing her honeymoon to board a plane for Johannesburg to take up her position in the Australian Women’s Team for the World Cup.Dominique is the third of the famed Maher clan to wear the green and gold at World Cup level, following in the footsteps of her elder sisters ATA Hall of Fame member and former Australian Women’s Captain Katrina, and former Australian Women’s Open Vice Captain Gabrielle. Teams will put the finishing touches to preparations tomorrow with training sessions, tactical sessions, and relaxation periods for the players to prepare their minds and bodies for the World Cup competition that begins in earnest on Wednesday with all seven Australian teams in action on day one.last_img

Leave a Comment