Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Full stadiums set to bring joy for fans and boost SA Rugby

The major beneficiaries of the new regulations are Mbombela Stadium and Ellis Park, which are set to host the opening two Tests against the All Blacks.

South African rugby is set to get a major financial boost after Covid-19 regulations pertaining to the capacity of stadiums and events were dropped late on Wednesday.

The previous regulations allowed for only 50% capacity stadiums, but venues have now been opened to full capacity, just in time for the international season.

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Griquas will be the first rugby union to benefit from the new regulations as they will now be allowed to host a full stadium for the Currie Cup final against the Pumas on Saturday, with 11,000 fans able to attend, up from the 5,500 that were previously allowed.

The Stormers will feel a bit hard done by after they just missed out on the new regulations, having held the United Rugby Championship final at Cape Town Stadium last week.

They enjoyed a sold out crowd of 31,000 that roared them on to a maiden title, but they could have had the more than 60,000 fans that will now be expected to pack out the stadium for the third Springbok v Wales Test in mid-July.

Management at Loftus Versfeld, meanwhile, will be scrambling to fill the stadium after half of their 52,000-capacity venue was sold out a few weeks ago for the first Springbok v Wales Test next weekend.

The Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein will also be aiming for full capacity (46,000 spectators) for the second Springbok v Wales Test.

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The major beneficiaries of the new regulations, however, should be Mbombela Stadium and Ellis Park, which are set to host the opening two Tests of the Rugby Championship between the Springboks and All Blacks in August.

The 41,000-seater Mbombela Stadium and the 62,000-seater Ellis Park are now expected to be filled to capacity, with Ellis Park having already sold 70% of their tickets, having expected the regulations to be dropped by the second All Blacks Test.

This is all a major revenue stream for SA Rugby and the unions, which will receive a boost to their coffers going forward.

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