The Green versus Gold festival planned for Newlands on 3 October could take on the proportions of a full-blooded Test match and will be significant for a two-fold reason.
Dubbed as the “Springbok Showdown” it will, firstly, give the established Bok players an opportunity to fine-tune their form after the Super Hero day at Loftus Versfeld (which will be held next weekend and involve the four Super Rugby franchises), and, secondly, it will also serve as an appropriate farewell for the historical Newlands rugby stadium.
Although the World Cup champions’ participation still needs to be confirmed, it could give National Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, a chance to settle on an expected squad of 45 players for the Rugby Championship, set to be held in Australia in November and December.
Newlands will also get its fitting farewell with Western Province moving to the more modern Cape Town Stadium next year where the second Test against the British and Irish Lions will also take place.
“It will be exciting – from the moment we select the squads, with a number of twists thrown in for good measure – through the build-up to the match and the actual encounter in Cape Town,” said Erasmus about the Green versus Gold concept.
He further stressed the players would be encouraged to showcase their skills – individually and in their respective teams.
“While it will be full-on, we’re expecting to see a highly competitive match of quality players against each other,” he added.
Erasmus added that this will be an opportunity to see the best of the best available in South Africa square off against each other.
“It promises to be something never seen before, but it will also provide the players with another valuable opportunity to shake of the rust and get the legs and lungs going after not playing any rugby in the last six months,” said Erasmus.
SA Rugby Chief Executive, Jurie Roux, added that the next few months, basically’s rugby’s restart following lockdown and the suspension of sport, was something to be excited about.
“Considering all the challenges we’ve faced this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be great to see our best local rugby heroes battle it out from October to January,” said Roux, with the new-look domestic competition involving seven sides set to run from mid-October through to January.
“It’s great to know we can now look forward to brilliant provincial rugby being played in the next couple of months.
“Unfortunately, spectators won’t be allowed inside the stadiums as we are still working with certain Covid-19 regulations.”