Cape Town – It appears a foregone conclusion that the Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) will move its headquarters from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium.
Recent reports indicated that last Saturday’s Test between South Africa and England was the last one to be staged at Newlands.
WPRU president Thelo Wakefield responded to the reports by saying they first needed to talk to the clubs “before anything can be stated as a matter of fact”.
Wakefield on Tuesday told Netwerk24 that the union had held an “information session” with the clubs on Monday night.
Wakefield said the clubs were satisfied that they were “busy with a good thing”.
“If we want to develop a world class union then we also need world class facilities and offer our supporters a world class experience,” he added.
Wakefield refrained from saying when the move would officially be announced and said a few things still needed to be clarified with the City of Cape Town.
Newlands, nor the Cape Town Stadium for that matter, will not host a Test in 2019 with no mid-year internationals scheduled in a Rugby World Cup year. In addition, the Rugby Championship will once again revert to its shortened version.
Seeing as in the last World Cup year (2015) the Springboks played two home Tests (New Zealand and Argentina) and only one away (Australia), it can assumed that in 2019 the Boks will be home against the Wallabies and away to both the All Blacks and Pumas.
Springboks fans need no reminding that the national side lost all three Rugby Championship matches in 2015, finishing bottom of the standings as Australia emerged victorious.
There’s little chance that lone home Test against Australia, nor a hastily arranged second fixture against Argentina (as it was back in 2015), will be played in Cape Town.
In October last year, Wakefield admitted that WP would move to Cape Town Stadium in future.
He called it a “business decision”.
“I know there are emotions involved, but in the end that does not pay the bills. It is inevitable that we move … If our vision is to be the leading union in the world, we must also have world-class facilities,” Wakefield was quoted as saying.
The WPRU’s intention to get the ball rolling comes after recently announced plans to seize property belonging to the WPRU if the union does not pay back a loan in access of R44 million by July 6.
WP’s business arm was placed in final liquidation by the Western Cape High court in 2016 after the union was slapped with an R276 million lawsuit by Aerios for reneging on an advertising rights contract with the company.
Aerios recently confirmed it would challenge the WP’s liquidation in court while it planned to proceed with suing the union for breach of contract.