Springboks confirm Soweto switch
July 7, 2010
The National Stadium will host the All Blacks in August © Getty Images
South Africa have confirmed that they will take on the All Blacks in a Tri-Nations Test at National Stadium, formerly known as Soccer City, in Soweto on August 21.
The 88,791-seat stadium will host the final of the FIFA World Cup on July 11 and creates the possibility of the largest home crowd at a Springbok Test since the touring British & Irish Lions drew an estimated 95,000 to Ellis Park in 1955. The switch, from Ellis Park, was a joint decision between the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU).
SARU also confirmed that 5,000 tickets will be sold exclusively at outlets in Soweto for R100 [£8] in the build-up to the Test.
"This is an historic day and one in which the whole of South Africa can celebrate," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said. "Taking the Springboks to what is already an iconic world venue gives our players and supporters the best stage on which to enjoy rugby.
"But it also allows us to continue the nation building through sport that we have enjoyed throughout the FIFA World Cup."
The reigning Super 14 champions, the Bulls, have already broken new ground in 2010, playing the semi-final and final of the tournament at Soweto's Orlando Stadium in May. On that occasion, the game ran over due to the officials being unable to hear calls over the sound generated by the crowd's vuvuzelas, which have been banned from the National Stadium clash.
"We've done our research and we have found that the vuvuzelas actually interfere with the rugby," Lions president Kevin de Klerk told Supersport. "Our analysis is that the players have difficulty with the lineout calls and in communicating moves on the field.
"The structure of the two games is also very different, where in soccer there is more room to communicate and game plans are more well-rehearsed. The final of the Super 14 was actually extended by a few minutes as the referee could not hear the calls from the linesman."