Currie Cup

Fans face dash for Newlands

2013-08-12 11:30
Newlands (File)
Cape Town - How quickly can you get from the couch to your favourite seat at Newlands?

That is the challenge facing diehard Western Province supporters - and any Cape-based Cheetahs enthusiasts - for Saturday night’s important Currie Cup second-round fixture.

Champions WP and the table-topping Free Staters lock horns at 19:15 (some rugby media had initially been advertising a kick-off time of 18:00), which still potentially means a half-hour scramble from the television after the finish of the Springboks’ opening Castle Rugby Championship clash against Argentina on the Nelson Mandela Sports Day bill at FNB Stadium which also features a Bafana Bafana soccer friendly against Burkina Faso.

The Bok game starts at 17:00, meaning a likely finish at 18:40 or thereabouts and leaving something of a scramble for domestic-rugby enthusiasts wishing to be at Newlands.

The Test-match weekend is less of a problem for supporters of rival unions, as the other two Currie Cup games (Sharks v Lions in Durban, 17:05, and Blue Bulls v Griquas in Pretoria, 19:10) are conveniently arranged for Friday night.

But with television scheduling presumably a strong priority, the remaining fixture has been pushed out to Saturday night, soon after the Test - both games will be screened as usual on SS1 and other SuperSport channels.

Newlands attracted easily the best crowd figure of week one of Currie Cup action, with almost 21 000 people going through the gates for the 24-24 draw between Province and the Bulls, and bosses there hope hardcore fans will still make the speedy trek after the Test on Saturday.

With the Cheetahs having registered an important away win against the Lions on Saturday and the defending champions having dropped points a little unexpectedly against a rebuilding Bulls side, there is pressure on Deon Fourie’s troops to bag a win against a Cheetahs side which, like theirs, will still contain a nucleus of personnel from the recent Super Rugby competition.

Many Newlands regulars will probably lament the fact that the Currie Cup clash is not being played in early afternoon, which might ensure a better turnout, although the bill at the ground also includes obligatory provincial U19 and U21 curtain-raisers (WP against Sharks opponents in each case).

Another complication from a live television attraction point of view is that many rugby enthusiasts will also want to be glued to the all-Antipodean Championship fixture on Saturday between Australia and New Zealand from Sydney (12:05 kick-off).

*While the Bafana match (13:30) will be screened live by both SuperSport and the SABC, the national broadcaster has scheduled a delayed version only of the Springbok Test (SABC2) from 18:30.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    currie cup  |  rugby

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