CT Stadium: Away game for Stormers
WP remain so reluctant to make the Cape Town Stadium their base that their are handing 'home ground advantage' to Boland.
Western Province officials remain so reluctant to make the Cape Town Stadium their base that their are handing 'home ground advantage' to Boland next month.
At a media briefing to confirm that the purpose-build World Cup soccer stadium in Greenpoint will host the annual pre-season encounter between the Stormers and the Boland Cavaliers - scheduled for Saturday, February 9 - WP Rugby Union President Thelo Wakefield said it was "just a normal away game" for the Stormers.
Wakefield declined to entertain questions about a possible move by WP and the Stormers away from Newlands to the Greenpoint venue.
There is still strong resistance from within the WPRU ranks - especially among the clubs - to play more regularly at the Cape Town Stadium.
Asked if this match could open the door for more regular interaction between the City of Cape Town and WP, Wakefield offered a terse response: "We treat this as a normal away game and that is it."
Grant Pascoe, the Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, events and marketing in Cape Town, confirmed that negotiations are "ongoing" with WPRU to move to the new Stadium.
"We have made some good progress," Pascoe told the media briefing.
"However, the city [of Cape Town] is engaged in a process now and we have to follow all the legal routes to commercialise [the stadium].
"To suggest that WP and the Stormers will come here and this will be their home ground won't work for them and won't work for us, because they won't be able to make money and sustain themselves or the stadium.
"We [still] have to jump through all the hoops at this point in time to commercialise the stadium and get [rid of] those 14 restrictions that prohibit us to have any commercial activity at the stadium.
"We are still talking to Western Province. We still hope to have them play their games here, but that is their decision at the end of the day.
"We have a process that we are going through at this point in time."
It was also revealed that the city of Cape Town had lured Boland, as he official hosts of the pre-season match, with a substantial cash incentive.
Francois Davids, President of Boland Rugby Union, said playing the game in Greenpoint is very important for their balance sheet.
"For a union that is not so strong financially, it is vital," Davids said, adding: "We got the offer [from the City of Cape Town], I can't say how much, but it was a good offer."
By Jan de Koning