Orlando in rugby coup

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:44

NEWS: Rugby will return to Soweto's Orlando Stadium and debut at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban in June.

Those two stadiums will host the South African 'A' team when they take on the French Barbarians in two exciting encounters.

These matches are being hosted in Durban and Soweto on the eve of the second and third Tests between the Springboks and Les Bleus respectively.

The opening clash in Durban, on Friday, June 16, will be the first-ever senior rugby match staged at Moses Mabhida, the stadium which was built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

Kick-off is scheduled for 16.45 (16.45 French time; 14.45 GMT).

The second match will see rugby return to Orlando Stadium for the first time since 2013 - when the Bulls and Lions played a Gauteng Challenge match in the stadium.

The last 'international' encounter was the 2010 Super Rugby Final, in which the Bulls beat the Stormers.

In fact, for two weeks in May 2010, nearly 80,000 supporters flocked to Orlando Stadium for the Bulls' semifinal against the Crusaders and Final against the Stormers, as Loftus Versfeld was not available due to the Soccer World Cup that year.

The main match at Orlando Stadium on Friday, June 23, which will start at 20.00 (20.00 French time; 18.00 GMT), will be preceded by a curtain-raiser at 17.00 when the Blue Bulls take on the Golden Lions in the new provincial challenge competition.

"The hosting of these matches at these venues will not only make for superb weekends of top-class international rugby between South Africa and France, but are also hugely exciting as we'll be playing at non-traditional rugby venues," said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

"Supporters can look forward to two unique days of international rugby against a French Barbarians team that we understand will be quite strong, and will provide a proper challenge to Johan Ackermann and his SA 'A' team."