More than half of the 30 000 tickets for next week’s rugby Test here between South Africa and Wales have not been sold.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that Piet de Necker, commercial manager of the Free State Rugby Union, said on Tuesday approximately 13 000 tickets for the match between the World Cup and Six Nations champions had been sold.
De Necker said people should seize the opportunity to see the match, the first of two internationals on successive Saturdays between South Africa and Wales.
However, unless there is a drastic improvement in sales, there will be a number of empty seats when the Springboks play in their first Test under new national coach Peter de Villiers.
Because of the construction work at the stadium, which is being refurbished for the 2010 soccer World Cup tournament, the main stand will not be used next week. This will limit the number of seats to 30 000.
The match will be only the second one in Bloemfontein between South Africa and Wales. When they last met here, the Springboks won 34-18.
The Welsh squad will leave for South Africa on Thursday and will remain in Cape Town until the day before the match.
Recurring back injury
The Springbok will do all their preparations in Bloemfontein next week. The first two practice sessions are likely to be held at Shimla Park. The rest will be at the Test venue, Vodacom Park.
The practice sessions are expected to be open to the public.
De Villiers and Welsh coach Warren Gatland have some tough decisions to make before they announce their starting lineups.
Springbok such as Fourie du Preez, Wikus van Heerden en Meyer Bosman have been ruled out with injuries.
Gatland’s team will arrive without regulars such as Martyn Williams, Lee Byrne, Gavin Henson, Mike Phillips, Dwayne Peel, Alix Popham and Huw Bennett, who all withdrew from the tour because of injuries.
To make things worse, scrumhalf Andy Williams has now also dropped out because of a recurring back injury.
Phillips and Peel were the first- and second-choice scrumhalves before they were injured. Now Gareth Cooper and Warren Fury are expected to be the halfbacks when the Welsh arrive in South Africa.Tweet