Rugby

Newlands move on the cards

2012-03-15 15:25

Cape Town -- The ball is officially rolling on a possible move from Newlands to Cape Town Stadium by Western Province rugby.

That confirmation came on Thursday at a hastily-convened media briefing at Newlands, where mayor Patricia de Lille said that the city and rugby bosses had agreed to enter “formal exploratory talks” about a potential switch of major rugby to the larger Green Point venue which hosted matches during the 2010 soccer World Cup.

The highly significant step puts to an end, at least for the time being, the sometimes fractious relationship that has existed between the city and the WPRFU, which owns Newlands.

As De Lille put it: “There have been some fights (most notably around the intended Saracens match in the Heineken Cup at Cape Town Stadium, which was eventually cancelled – Sport24) ... but we’ve agreed bygones will be bygones and we can start afresh.”

She praised the “constructive spirit” in which the WPRFU had entered the process.

A similar conciliatory tone was largely struck by Tobie Titus, president of the rugby body, who said: “This is not an event; it is a process. It is not about us, but about the community we (serve).

“It is not an overnight issue. People need to have patience and respect the process we have embarked on. It is not going to be a matter of months ... it will be years.”

One of the biggest obstacles to a possible change of venue at this stage – Cape Town Stadium has a current capacity of around 56,000 to Newlands’ 48,000 – is the need for a greatly expanded corporate suites section at the initially soccer-geared newer facility, should rugby take occupancy there.

As Theuns Roodman, chief executive of the union, put it: “We have 300 suites here (Newlands) and they are a huge money-spinner for the union.”

In reply to a query from Sport24 over whether latest developments would affect any expansion or improvement plans at Newlands, the ageing facility which has wear-and-tear and other drawbacks, Roodman said that budget allocations for “normal maintenance” would be unaltered.

“If part of our roof blew off we would obviously want to repair it.”

Titus stressed that Newlands was more likely to be subjected to maintenance, for the comfort of existing stadium patrons, than “any expansion possibilities” in the short term.

He has occasionally appeared to come across as recalcitrant before, on the issue of a possible move, but insisted at the briefing: “I never said we would never move.

“It’s not in my lap to decide whether we go or not. We must go with facts to our constituency, our 90 clubs.”

Asked what would happen if the clubs, who are sometimes considered to wield too much power in WP rugby, refused to contemplate a move, Titus said that “we will cross that bridge when we come to it”.

A number of technical teams across all parties in the negotiations will be set up, and an appeal was made for public patience and that the process be “respected”.

“They will need the space to complete their work,” De Lille said.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
139 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose

A device that converts nose breaths into speech will open new doors for people with Parkinson’s or motor neuron disease.

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

After their narrow defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington, the Springboks will be relishing their "return" clash at Ellis Park. Or will they... ? Who do you see winning in Johannesburg?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.