Dusi paddlers set to swim with The Sharks

Pietermaritzburg – The Sharks have forged a bond with their fellow aquatic masters by offering tickets to every finisher in this week’s Dusi Canoe Marathon to support The Sharks in their opening encounter of the season.

With scarcely enough time to hang up their paddles after finishing the three day race, thousands of Dusi paddlers will be heading across the road from Blue Lagoon to Growthpoint KINGS PARK where The Cell C Sharks will be locking horns with the Bulls at 7pm on Saturday evening.

The Sharks have made a pair of tickets to the Super Rugby match available to every Dusi entrant, who will be seated in a distinctive block in the stadium for the key season-opener.

“It’s exciting to have two major sporting events in Durban on the same day, with the Dusi Canoe Marathon finishing at Blue Lagoon on Saturday afternoon, and just a couple of hours after the prizegiving, the Cell C Sharks take on the Bulls just a few hundred metres away,” said The Sharks Marketing Manager Mike Ablett.

“As two brands synonymous with KwaZulu-Natal it is such a great chance to overlap,” he added. “I am sure the Dusi paddlers will be in high spirits and bring a special mood to the stadium.”

With a large crowd expected to pack the stands in support of Jake White’s charges of 2014, the Dusi organisers have also juggled their plans to accommodate the surge of interest in The Sharks match on Saturday night.

“The timing is perfect,” said Dusi General manager Brett Austen-Smith. “With the new reverse-order start the winners are expected into Blue Lagoon at around 1pm, and our prizegiving will wrap up mid-afternoon, giving the paddlers just enough time to have a shower and a bite to eat before heading across to Growthpoint KINGS PARK.”

“The official Hansa After Party for the Dusi paddlers will now get under way at 9:30pm at Hops at Riverside Hotel, to coincide with the end of the Super Rugby match.

Austen-Smith was delighted at the new partnership, and said it would create an impressive image for the province in the eyes of the national and international media.

Former winger for The Sharks and the Springboks Justin Swart is one of the around 1750 paddlers who will be setting off from Camps Drift on Thursday morning bound for Durban, and will no doubt be a vocal supporter for his old team from the block of Dusi finishers in the stadium on Saturday night.

The Dusi Canoe Marathon 2014 starts in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday 13 February and ends in Durban on Saturday 15 February 2014. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za

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The CellC Sharks mascot Sharkie surfaces from Blue Lagoon to present pre-race favourites Sbonelo Zondi (left) and Andy Birkett with a pair of tickets to watch The Sharks take on the Bulls on the Saturday evening after final day of the race. The Sharks have given two tickets to every Dusi entrant to enjoy the game in a special Dusi block. Terry Haywood/ Gameplan Media

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