Suzuki, Griquas Rugby join forces
Teruo Katakawa, Managing Director of Suzuki Auto South Africa, and Arni van Rooyen, CEO of the Griqualand West Rugby Union celebrating the announcement that Suzuki will be the naming sponsor for the Griquas Rugby Team and stadium

Suzuki fans will soon see the famous S-badge on an entirely new product: a rugby jersey!

Suzuki Auto South Africa is the new naming sponsor of the legendary Griqualand West Rugby Union (GWRU), home of the Griquas.

The agreement between these two well-loved brands was signed at a special gala dinner hosted by the GWRU for Suzuki Auto at their home stadium in Kimberley on 1 March. The team will now be known as the Suzuki Griquas and the stadium as the Suzuki Stadium.

Says Teruo Katakawa, the Managing Director of Suzuki Auto South Africa: “Just like the Griquas, the Suzuki brand started from humble beginnings and through passion, hard work, and continuous improvement, became a key player in the industry whilst remaining true to its core values and identity.

“This sponsorship allows us to embody this passion on the rugby field and bring the Suzuki brand front and centre to the sport that we all love and support so dearly. We have no doubt that the Suzuki Griquas will make us extremely proud and I want to assure you of the Suzuki team’s unwavering support on all levels throughout the sponsorship period.”

In response, Arni van Rooyen, the Chief Executive Officer of the GWRU says: “We are proud to welcome Suzuki to our family. This partnership not only represents the next step in their journey from a small vehicle supplier to a Top 3 brand in South Africa, but it also symbolises their commitment to South Africa and to supporting and developing its people.”

The Griqualand West Rugby Union is one of South Africa’s oldest rugby unions, having officially formed in 1886. Shortly after forming the Union, the Griquas hosted the first Currie Cup in 1892 and it has since won this coveted trophy five times.

Today, the Griqua team and their stadium are an important part of the city and Northern Cape province’s economy. The stadium is now part of the Sol Plaatjie University, and it forms the centre of the city’s shopping, fitness, and academic precinct.

From this central hub, the Griquas run many social and sport development projects that supports the community and have, in recent years, delivered several first-class provincial rugby players and no less than 63 Springboks. One of these players, Jonathan Mokoena, led the Griquas as the first black Currie Cup captain in South Africa’s history.

The newly named Suzuki Stadium will also host the Sol Plaatjie men and women soccer and rugby teams and host several road running and fun run events this year.

As the new naming sponsor, Suzuki Auto will support the Griqua projects wherever possible.

“It was the Griquas’ ethos of community support and development, along with their very loyal fan base that appealed to us and encouraged us to partner with them. It is the same ethos that encouraged us to sponsor the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield and that will drive our support of university sport at Sol Plaatjie University and elsewhere this year,” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa.

Suzuki and Griqua fans can look out for the new Suzuki-branded jersey that will soon appear in retail shops and on the rugby field as the Griqua team starts with friendly matches before competing in the 2024 Currie Cup.