It has been two year’s since the rugby-starved Soweto community has watched an international test match at the world renowned Soccer City Complex and come October 6th, tens of thousands of local fans are expected to flock to the Stadium to get a glimpse of rugby’s best players.
The Springboks host world champions New Zealand at Soccer City Complex on October 6th in what is expected to be yet another epic showdown between the giants of world rugby. This clash could very well determine the winners of the inaugural Castle Rugby Championships, which could be a bitter pill for the Boks to swallow especially considering how their previous meeting unfolded in August 2010.
The then-Tri-Nations title was decided in that encounter, which the All Blacks won 29-22. Now, Richie McCaw will lead his world title-winning team against a Springbok side that has been out of sorts in the 2012 competition.
There is genuine excitement and anticipation among Soweto residents, young and old, who are gearing up to support Jean de Villiers and the boys against their arch rivals. The streets of Soweto are expected to turn green and gold, while fans will proudly don their Springbok replica gear and the iconic Soccer City Complex will drown out the visitors with 90 000 plus blaring vuvuzelas.
Admittedly there has been a long wait for a major international Test match to return to Soweto and Stadium Management South Africa’s Chairman and CEO Jacques Grobbelaar says the difficulty is that none of its venues are home grounds to rugby teams.
“Although we would have loved to have hosted more rugby matches in the past two years, the situation was out of our control. The South African Rugby Union allocates matches to stadia across the county and has to ensure that there is fairness in the allocation of hosting games.”
Gates open at 2pm for the October 6th test, which is scheduled to kick off at 5pm. There will be a host of live entertainers and DJs in the build-up to kickoff, which also includes a tag rugby curtain raiser.
Park and Ride tickets can be purchased at Computicket outlets and Money Market counters in Shoprite Checkers stores or by booking online at www.computicket.com. Fans will have five options to choose from, namely Menlyn Mall, Northgate Mall, Birchwood Hotel, Silver Star Casino and Emerald Casino. Park and Ride tickets cost R140 from Northgate Mall and Birchwood Hotel and R160 from Menlyn Mall. Parking at Nasrec and the Soccer City Complex are selling at R70 and R150 respectively. There are various other options for supporters to choose from including Park and Walk at the Stadium, General Public Parking, Hospitality, Disabled, VIP and Private Bus Parking.
Hospitality packages are also available from R2 700 each and include a prime viewing seat, parking, a meal, full local bar and commemorative gift. For more information on hospitality packages, contact SAIL on 081 486 3823, email@example.com or visit www.sail.co.za to book online.
Grobbelaar has witnessed firsthand the popularity of rugby in Soweto and says that there are scores of young boys and girls eager to learn, develop and pursue the sport at competitive levels. Earlier this month SMSA provided facilities, the Soccer City Training Pitch, for the Soweto Rugby Club to host its first ever league matches and although the hosts lost their matches in the Under 20, Second Team and First team matches, there was no denying the sheer delight and enjoyment of playing at a professional venue.
Memories of the 2010 Test match as well as the 2010 Vodacom Super 14 semi-final and final at Orlando Stadium are treasured by the residents who long for the opportunity to once again witness the world’s finest rugby players in action. SARU has made it possible for the Soweto community to attend the Test match by offering discounted “Soweto tickets” selling at R250.
But, it doesn’t stop there because Soweto will be the epicentre of celebration, unity and Bok passion on October 6th when Orlando Stadium hosts Absa Boktown. Fans unable to go to the Soccer City Complex can now go to Orlando Stadium to watch a live screening of the match with approximately 40 000 fans. Boktown tickets cost R40 for adults and R10 for children under the age of 12 years old. With loads of giveaways and live performances by Pro Kid, Brickz, DJ Sbu and Loyiso Gola and a kiddies playing area, it promises to be a memorable day for all in attendance. Gates open at 12pm. Tickets can be purchased online at www.computicket.com, at Shoprite Checkers outlets countrywide or by calling 0861 915 8000.
Grobbelaar says Sowetans are hungry for rugby action. “Due to the demand for international Tests in Soweto, we believe that it is our duty to provide a memorable, safe and enjoyable experience for all supporters on match day. We’re encouraging the community to get fully behind the Boks, spur them on for the added bonus of a win in Soweto.”
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