Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
6 Jun 2022
12:00 pm

OPINION: Government needs to fully open SA sport stadiums

Ross Roche

Despite the stadiums only being 50% full, the atmosphere was electric at both the Cape Town Stadium and Loftus, with the mostly home fans managing to cheer their sides to victory in both games.

Bulls fans out in their numbers during the United Rugby Championship quarterfinal against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld over the past weekend. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

The government needs to seriously consider opening sports stadiums back to full capacity ahead of the coming international season after supporters turned out in their droves for the two United Rugby Championship (URC) quarterfinals hosted on South African soil at the weekend.

With it looking like the country has avoided going into another wave and Covid numbers being low, it doesn’t make sense for the 50% capacity rule to stay in place when the Springboks could play in front of sold out stadiums.

Over 20,000 fans turned out to watch the Stormers beat Edinburgh and the Bulls defeat the Sharks in Cape Town and Pretoria, filling the stadiums to half their capacity.

Despite the stadiums only being 50% full, the atmosphere was electric at both the Cape Town Stadium and Loftus, with the mostly home fans managing to cheer their sides to victory in both games.

Stormers eighthman Evan Roos was thrilled with the vibe and having a half full stadium to play in front of.

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“It’s awesome, look how full the stadium is. It’s awesome to have our friends and family here. It has been a long time not having them here, so it’s such a blessing having them back and it’s just such a vibe,” said Roos after the game.

Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff was also very appreciative of the crowd and hoped to see them back in their numbers for the semifinal against Ulster.

“It’s exceptional and we are so thankful to the Stormers faithful for turning up in their numbers. It was a great atmosphere (tonight) and we hope to see them all back here next Saturday,” said Kitshoff.

Having a large partisan support at the stadium is one of the perks of qualifying to host play-offs and something that the home side makes use of, which is why it is so important to have a large crowd able to come in and cheer on their team.

The Stormers will be looking to utilise that as they host Ulster in their semifinal this coming weekend, while the Bulls will have a massive challenge in facing Leinster in their own backyard in Dublin for a place in the final.