It?s South Africa or bust
By GREG WHITE
SOUTH Africa, here we come.
Ron Miller and Shane Townsend have taken a hands-on approach to local sporting identities for years but now their skills are being 'exported'.
The dynamic duo of sports physio fly out of the country on January 14 for the World Touch titles at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
Townsend is part of a medical team of four physiotherapists, two trainers and one doctor, attending the needs of the seven national rep teams, while Miller has been engaged by the International Association to care for the 70 referees required by the tournament.
"It will be a fantastic trip looking after the 105 athletes but it won't be the first time out of the country," Townsend said.
"Last year I went to the All Nations championships in New Zealand but this will be bigger in a very unique country."
But while Townsend's tour of duty will be fully-funded by Australian Touch Association, Miller is on the hunt for corporate sponsors.
"If necessary, I'll wear a sandwich board with a company logo," he laughed.
"Kachels Meats have been the first to join the party so I hope I can connect them with somebody in the export market."
During the four days of play Australia will defend its world champion tag in the men's open, women's open, mixed open and men's over-35's divisions.
"The city and facilities are a real eye opener," Miller said.
"The population is more than 100,000 with one of the biggest universities in the world and a 17,000-seat stadium with 12 fields attached."
While Townsend will be part of a team, Miller will be the sole attendant of the referees coming from all parts of the globe.
"The language won't be a problem but I expect some strange things to happen," he said.
"Last year in Sydney the president of one country sacked his referee and substituted himself so he wouldn't miss out on the trip.
"Nobody was the wiser till he went out to control a game and was bloody woeful.
"I think they'll put a stop to that this time."