Former Western Province and Springbok captains Corne Krige and Jean de Villiers have expressed their sadness about having to potentially bid farewell to the historic Newlands stadium on Saturday.
A total of 54 Tests were played at Newlands over the last 130 years, and since 1891, of which the Boks won 35 and lost 17, with two drawn.
The last two Tests were lost 25-10 (against England in 2018) and 26-20 (to Ireland in 2016), but due to safety concerns Newlands won’t be hosting any more Tests, or senior provincial matches after this season.
Province are possibly playing their final game at the famous ground on Saturday when they host the Sharks in the Currie Cup semifinal before they move to the Cape Town Stadium later this year.
“It is very sad that Newlands couldn’t get a decent farewell which it deserved,” said Krige, who captained Province to back-to-back Currie Cup titles in 2000 and 2001. “It’s extremely heart-breaking.”
De Villiers, who won the Currie Cup with Province in 2012 and 2014, said there had been so much talk over the years, and then more recently, about Newlands’ demise that it was now strange to realise the day had, possibly, finally arrived.
“Obviously there is still the possibility that it can happen next week as well, but it’s an issue that has been lingering for some time,” he said. If Province win their semifinal and the Lions beat the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, then Newlands will host the final next week.
While saddened that senior provincial rugby matches wouldn’t take place at the ground after this season, De Villiers said there was still a chance that other games could still take place at Newlands.
“We might still see the odd school matches, but this is it for the Province guys. They’re going to be full of emotion on Saturday and it might be tough to control,” he said.
“Newlands is extremely close to my heart and I have had amazing times there over the years and we will enjoy it this weekend.
“Unfortunately it will be in an empty stadium that we bid farewell. Maybe there will be a chance of a proper goodbye at a later stage.”