Springboks v Wales a flop at the turnstiles

2018-06-03 14:24
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo Images)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Those who panned the idea of scheduling the out-of-Test-window clash between the Springboks and Wales in Washington DC on Saturday were left feeling justified after fan attendance figures were confirmed.

READ: Rassie's Bok reign off to horror start in Washington

With rugby worldwide struggling for support in the stands - and on TV - as a litany of cost and refereeing issues, among others, blight the game, it became clear from well before kick-off that the latest sojourn into US territory was a disaster waiting to happen.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus, taking charge of his first Test after replacing Allister Coetzee earlier this year, was even on record as saying the one-off clash was "all about the money".

In an ideal world, Wales and South Africa would have named 23-man teams loaded with star players; the marketing gurus would have had the faces of Leigh Halfpenny and Siya Kolisi plastered on billboards across the USA's capital and the Robert F Kennedy Stadium would have been packed to the rafters.

Instead, we got shadow XVs, a game that barely registered in the sporting consciousness of the US public and a half-empty stadium filled mainly by ex-pats.

According to reports, World Rugby had to pitch in with a financial rescue package to bail out the organisers of the match after it failed to hit the break-even target of 27 000 spectators through the turnstiles.

The official attendance was 21 357, according to the Wales Online website - less than HALF the stadium's 45 596 capacity.

Quite what SA Rugby's share of the revenue will be, remains to be seen.

Despite a dramatic finale, the first half in particular was one of the worst played in recent memory - by the Springboks in particular - and was dominated by poor handling and a mind-numbing amount of reset scrums, as Wales recorded their third consecutive win over South Africa 22-20.

Talking the game to a new audience should be applauded, but there was an unsatisfactory feel to the whole occasion.

Read more on:    springboks  |  wales  |  rugby


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