Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has secured a major coup… It will host a Tri-Nations Test next year – the first time in 40 years that the All Blacks will play in the ‘Friendly City’.
It was revealed on Wednesday that next year’s Tri-Nations Test between South Africa and New Zealand would be held in Port Elizabeth.
Rugby 365 reports that the decision follows a meeting of the Executive Council of the South African Rugby Union and is part of SARU’s commitment to bring top-flight rugby to the East Cape region.
The award is conditional on agreement that all three unions in the Southern Kings region (Eastern Province, Border and South Western Districts) should benefit from the award and on agreement on an appropriate Test match hosting model.
It means a Tri-Nations match will be played in the Eastern Cape region for the first time, whilst it will also be the first visit of the All Blacks to the region for 41 years.
In the All Blacks’ four previous visits to this area, which also goes by the nickname of the ‘Windy City’, they have lost every time – 3-14 in their last visit in 1970, 3-8 (1960), 8-11 (1949) and 6-11 (1928).
Those games were all played at the now defunct Boet Erasmus Stadium, which recently hosted its last rugby match before being demolished.
The multipurpose Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium – which hosted five group matches, a last 16 fixture, as well as a quarterfinal and third-place play-off match in the FIFA soccer World Cup tournament earlier this year – is now the new venue in Port Elizabeth.
“There is a hunger in the region for top-flight rugby,” said Oregan Hoskins, the President of SARU.
“Port Elizabeth now has a top-flight venue in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and SARU has a long-standing commitment to assist in bringing top-flight rugby back to the region. This is a tangible proof of our commitment.”
The 2011 Tri-Nations Test against Australia was allocated to the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union, subject to discussions with the union.
* Meanwhile, the meeting also appointed East London businessman Monde Tabata to the Executive Council, joining Mike Stofile as the second independent member and filling a vacancy that had been open since the elections in March.
Other decisions taken by the council were:
* The Exco will call for tenders from all 14 provincial unions to host the South African leg of the IRB World Sevens Series, according to the IRB’s criteria for host venues.
* Applications will be sought for the position of SA Under-20 coach and assistant coaches to cover the 2011, 2012 and 2013 IRB Junior World Championship competitions.
* The CEOs of all 14 unions are to be called to a meeting for their inputs on: Super Rugby franchise fees and the division of unions within franchises; the Test match hosting model.
* The competitions committee was instructed to formulate a proposal to assist the Southern Kings in their preparations for potential Super Rugby inclusion in 2013.
* Approval was granted for an international sevens tournament, under the auspices of the Leopards Rugby Union, to be held in Rustenburg from September 24 to 26, 2010.