Full house likely for Boks
All the pictures from the Springbok training camp as they prepare to take on Argentine in the Rugby Championship.
Cape Town - Newcomers Argentina may be the weakest outfit by IRB ranking in the Castle Rugby Championship, but the novelty of their first match in the competition looks like luring a full house to Newlands on Saturday.
Gavin Lewis, general manager of marketing and events for host union WP Rugby, told Sport24 that some 37 000 tickets had been sold for the 48 000-capacity venue by Tuesday morning and that interest was “definitely picking up”.
The match will be the only Springbok Test at the ground this season, and is also the first at Newlands since June 12 2010, when France were thumped 42-17 in a once-off encounter.
The Pumas, who were scheduled to begin their training at a high school field in the suburb on Tuesday afternoon, were World Cup quarter-finalists against eventual champions New Zealand last year, putting up a grand fight before succumbing by a deceptive 33-10 margin, and are currently ranked eighth on the IRB ladder.
An extra incentive for rugby connoisseurs to witness the game will be that it is the first Test at Newlands featuring the Argentineans as a lone nation.
In 1984 - primarily an isolation era when South Africa grabbed whatever chances they could for international exposure - a South American XV (though also including a sprinkling of players from Spain) played the Boks at the venue in late October and were beaten 22-13 in the final Test after also losing 32-15 at Loftus.
Prominent Pumas stars in the touring combination at the time included legendary flyhalf Hugo Porta, centre Marcelo Loffreda and loose forwards Gabriel Travaglini and Ernesto Ure.
The Bok side was led by Divan Serfontein, captain and scrumhalf of an all-conquering WP side at that time, and featured such gifted backline stars as Danie Gerber, Ray Mordt , Naas Botha and Carel du Plessis, plus pack icons like Rob Louw and Louis Moolman.
Although more wet, late-winter weather was expected for the middle of this week, the long-range outlook for Saturday at Newlands is more promising, with sunshine tipped and a mild maximum temperate of 17 degrees Celsius.
The Bok side will be announced on Wednesday.*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing