Sharks visit a lift for Hamilton

2012-07-30 22:27

Cape Town - While it will hardly come as consolation to their depressed fans, for the second time in Super Rugby history the Stormers have unintentionally boosted the economies of small New Zealand cities.

Domestic rivals the Sharks, winners of Saturday’s heart-stopping all-South African semi-final at Newlands, have crucially played their part in 2012 too, as the result prevented the Chiefs from having to visit our shores for the showpiece.

Instead their rather more small-scale stronghold of Hamilton is now set to reap the benefits of staging the final for the first time (Saturday 09:35, SA time) against the travel-weary men from KwaZulu-Natal.

It is the second time that a reasonably unfashionable New Zealand city has cashed in gleefully on the Stormers’ failure at the semis hurdle - in 1999, the heyday of their “Men in Black” era, they similarly surrendered this Cape Town-hosted fixture 33-18 to the Highlanders, giving that team rights to a final against the Crusaders at Carisbrook, Dunedin, which they eventually lost 24-19.

Saturday’s reverse, again depriving the near 50 000-capacity Newlands of a maiden Super Rugby showpiece, means the final goes to Waikato Stadium, almost exactly half the size.

Not surprisingly, Hamilton - population a modest 200 000 or so - has been engulfed in rugby fever following the Sharks’ storming of the Western Cape fortress.

National newspaper the New Zealand Herald reported on Monday that “Chiefs fever is spreading across the Waikato (region) as Hamilton gears up” for its first Super Rugby final.

“The 25 000-seat Waikato Stadium is expected to sell out ... hospitality hot spots, retailers and accommodation providers are preparing for an influx of fans.”

More locally, the Waikato Times has also been crammed with final-geared stories.

It said: “As Waikato prepares to host the biggest game in Chiefs Super Rugby history, a massive economic win is being predicted for the region.

“(Chiefs chief executive) Gary Dawson wants the entire region to take ownership of the historic clash.”

It quoted him as saying: “To be at the final this Saturday night, to see the Chiefs win, that’s the sort of thing you will one day tell your grandchildren about.

“The Chiefs and Waikato sports in general have been through some difficult times over the years and this is a chance to turn things around.”

Mayor Julie Hardaker, meanwhile, predicted that “conservatively this final could bring in NZ$3-to-5-million in new spend to the Hamilton economy”.

There are plans for a fan zone and fan walk in the city, and one influential local businessman has also promised a ticker tape parade “for when we win”.

Sharks enthusiasts may well have other ideas, despite their likely labelling as underdogs primarily because of the freak amount of travelling they have had to do in the competition in the last fortnight.

But even their New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree spoke on Saturday night, soon after the Newlands triumph, of the importance from a regional prosperity point of view of the Chiefs staging the final.

“It’s good, financially ... they need the money there, more than (we do) here.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-07-30 22:33

    Oh boy, oh boy... I hope the Sharks ticker tape parade makes toti .... and I also hope it matches the parade in Pmb when we first won the Currie Cup all those years ago. Go Sharks!

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-30 22:37

      Sharks by 5.. Com'n Boys...

      talita.vandermerwe - 2012-07-31 05:59

      Don't be nasty.South Africa is 10 times the size of New Zealand and they are doing better in nearly every aspect. Their dollar is even 6 times stronger than our rand. Lovely country, friendly people, and above all everything works.

  • chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-30 22:39

    Sorry for posting this again but please feel free to Call Isak Visser what you want on this Forum. This is his latest remarks since their Choke agains the Sharks. @chaplincharlie- Prick do you know how boring you are? Now crawl back into your little hole, SNOTKOP!! If I ever see any comments of you, you'll be in SERIOUS trouble. Understand???? The game in Hamilton will be TOUGH, my prediction is that RUGBY will be the winner!!! The only winner will be rugby and that is one thing the Stormers isn't playing i

      sean.howlett.71 - 2012-07-31 00:18

      lol ! Isak is a fool and a half ! According to him and all these other idiotic Stormers supporters , The Mighty Stormers won the Super Rugby 2 months ago !! I told them how many times , nothing was won yet !! LOL !! Good Luck Sharks !!

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-31 04:51

      rinse and repeat next year I'm sure

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 08:37

      That was a comment

      brandon.styles.14 - 2012-07-31 10:19

      Isak, and please keep it like that, Quite a nice site this when you're not here, Please do us all a favour and voetsek and stay away

      hans.himmler.7 - 2012-07-31 23:29

      Chaplin, like I said, he's just a cnt. He has seriously spoiled the image of Stormer supporters, and his posts is a reflection of his own existence. The only prick is his mother for not smothering him during infancy. ISAK BACK OFF, FK HEAD.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-07-30 22:48

    “It’s good, financially ... they need the money there, more than (we do) here.” How do you figure that,Plumtree, if you will please?

      brandon.styles.14 - 2012-07-31 10:16

      The Stormers not only stuffed the game up on Saturday, they also stuffed up the economy in Cape Town.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-07-31 13:01

      WP threw away 20 million rand from the final. The Chiefs need money too. It's pretty simple.

  • John - 2012-07-30 23:00

    thats ridiculous having the finals in such a small stadium. Even if the Crusaders were in the final, the crowd would also have been about 20k. How can the match be called a final if it is favouring one side so much (no break from travelling etc). Surely it should be even odds? 2 weeks break to recover

      leigh.mapu - 2012-07-31 01:27

      This is the stupidest comment ever. Are you mad because all of your large stadia couldn't get you a home final? If you wanted a better run to the final, you should have told Plumtree to win more games.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-31 06:41

      them's the breaks, all knew before the competition started what the deal was. Chiefs earned their spot the honest way. I do agree they should at least allow a week break between the semis and the final to make for a more competitive final but I guess the rugby season is jam packed and they just don't have a week to spare.

      gerald.parker.9847 - 2012-07-31 07:41

      RandonDude The sharks played on Saturday 28 July and they play the final on Saturday 4 August, according to the calender that is a week so what are you on about. Sharks have a break of a week

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 08:39

      It's pretty obvs what random dude means. Guess it's higher level for some

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-07-31 18:35

      makes , dude really ? pedantic much ?

  • steveroodt - 2012-07-30 23:39

    All I can say is Go Sharks show them Kiwis what your made of.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 08:39


  • TheBlackRaptor - 2012-07-31 04:42

    I wonder, if the Chiefs win? Will Dave Rennie and Liam Messam be knighted? Just think, Sir Richie and Sir Liam in the All Black team. You win in NZ, you'll get knighted.

  • john.latilla - 2012-07-31 07:12

    I'll still be laughing next week IF the Sharks p--s all over their (ticker tape) parade! Underdogs - just the place to be!

  • fred.gatvol - 2012-07-31 07:43

    Good Morning all. I have been away for week and was amazed at the lack of comment from the rude Stormers, but some nice heartfelt posts from the polite Strormers. This only my seventh post, but I love rugby and I love to talk rugby. I am pleased that Izak has stopped posting. I feel the Sharks will pull off the triumph of the year and win by at least six, at least I sincerely hope so.

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 08:40

      I still haven't found a bookie offering odds on rugby winning this weekend

  • aubrey.gloster - 2012-07-31 09:07

    Rob Houwling it must feel strange not to write about your beloved Stormers!!!!!! Hopefully you will be a neutral in the Currie and not set yourselves up for another morbid hangover.

  • skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-07-31 09:49

    When you see the huge amounts of money involved it helps you to understand all the strange refereeing and TMO decisions we've seen this year.

  • nico.pretorius.946 - 2012-07-31 11:28

    Rob, the reason why I'm not a sports writer, and never want to be, I won't be objective. I will never have anything good to say bout the stormers, and never anything bad about the Lions, so that disqualifies me. With a statement like "Stormers have unintentionally boosted the economies", I think you are also disqualified. A better way of putting that sentence will be: "After the whipass lashing the Sharks gave the chocking non-try scoring and always hoping stormers, they have unintentionally boosted the economies...". See, that is how you are more neutral and a better sports writer. Use it, don't use it, u're choice :)

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-31 11:50

      you wont be a sports writer because choking is not spelled chocking

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