WPRU so sharp they cut themselves

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, WP on 18 Nov 2011 at 10:37
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The much anticipated Heineken Cup game between Saracens and Biarritz, scheduled to take place in Cape Town in January, has been relocated to London at the behest of the London club, citing in-fighting between the Western Province Rugby Union and the City of Cape Town as the reason behind the decision.

The game on 14 January would have been the first Heineken Cup fixture to be played outside of Europe and may have been the start of something quite exciting, which could have seen certain games in Europe’s premier club competition played in locations around the globe; however, the pettiness and greed of the WPRU has scuppered the plan outright and it remains to be seen if the “special relationship” between Western Province and Saracens will suffer additional fall out as a result of the spat.

The issue, basically, was one of venue. The organisers of the game were already at an advanced stage of preparations to host it at the new Cape Town Stadium in Green Point – in fact, tickets for that venue were already on sale – before the WPRU tried to shoehorn their way into proceedings by insisting that the game should instead be played at Newlands. A rather public spat ensued and Saracens responded by pulling the plug on the game, stating that they did not want to be the catalyst for further friction between the two parties – who were clearly already embroiled in a bitter dispute that had nothing whatsoever to do with Sarries anyway.

Ironically, the only people to really lose out here are rugby fans in the Cape, the very people that the WPRU claims to be sticking up for, by demanding that the game take place at Newlands, quote-unquote to “protect the interests of season-ticket holders and suite owners”. I reckon that if Rob Wagner and his mates had really been that worried, they’d have done some sort of deal with the management of the new stadium to ensure that those who felt they had a legitimate right to see the game without paying extra could be accommodated in some fashion. Then again, the argument is a little backwards anyway, because holding a season ticket at a stadium doesn’t somehow automatically guarantee that every game MUST be played at that stadium, surely? Especially games not held under the auspices of the union that sold you the ticket?

Nah – I reckon the real issue here is gate takings and if the WPRU’s aim was to further kill off the Cape Town Stadium by denying them the chance to make a little money, they’ve succeeded in that aim at the very least.


  • Petty…

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.11.11 10:45:33 by Argex Reply
  • Good decision by WPRU. They are well within their rights.

    Doing what is best for WP as a union. Can’t fault them for that.

    Sucks that the game had to move back though.

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.11.11 10:47:20 by hendrikp Reply
  • @hendrikp (Comment 2) : you must be the ONLY person I’ve yet come across who actually feels that way.

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.11.11 10:48:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • Man they should have moved it to the Moses Stadium. Wud have been a good excuse for Sharks fans to head to the new stadium.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.11.11 10:50:35 by beet Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :

    If they allowed this game to take place at Cape Town stadium, while negotiations are under way, they’re giving the City Council a chip to bargain with.

    You don’t let the City Council/Cape Town stadium play rugby there while you’re trying to negotiate the best possible deal for a move there.

    It’s not about gate takings. It’s the principle of trying to make Cape Town stadium the ‘rugby stadium’ in the Cape, thereby being in a better position to force WP to move at your demands.

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.11.11 10:52:12 by hendrikp Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Rob i also agree with him. You have to look at it from a business perspective. IF WPRFU didnt get involved then that whole board should be fired for not looking after the company’s interests. WPRFU didnt build that CT Stadium and they should not be blamed for it not being used. They apparently have an agreement in place that all rugby takes place at Newlands. If we are saying that we should ignore that agreement then what are saying about the value of any contract or agreement in this country? We cant have the best of both worlds. The game should have been at Newlands.

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.11.11 10:53:28 by SheldonK Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 5) :

    With them going to the media to try get WPRU to reconsider a move to the new stadium also… I can’t see how it would benefit their cause by allowing a game to take place there while negotiating.

    @beet (Comment 4) :

    I don’t think the point was for a one-off game somewhere. They trying to get a support base in Cape Town. You think they’d get the same desired results in Durban?

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.11.11 10:54:46 by hendrikp Reply

  • @neet: feel the same way – hoping to see dbn city council make a move to get a heineken cup game staged at mm stadium in the near future.(But I want the sharks to stay at kp).

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.11.11 10:56:32 by bergshark Reply

  • @beet: meant @beet: ( but if there is perhaps a blogger on sw with name of neet who hasn’t introduced him or herself yet,welcome 😀 )

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.11.11 10:58:32 by bergshark Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 5) : playing one game there hardly counts as making it “the rugby stadium in Cape Town”… that’s just being petty.

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.11.11 11:01:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 10) :

    It’s a bargaining chip. It’s a step in the right direction for the City Council.

    Whereas WP are trying to force their hand.

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.11.11 11:02:12 by hendrikp Reply

  • @hendrikp (Comment 11) : I’m not sure I understand how this is a bargaining chip?

    My feeling is the WPRFU should not have exclusive ownership of professional rugby in the Western Cape anyway. Reminds me of the ruckus raised by the ICC when the idea of the IPL first surfaced. A few years down the line it’s pretty obvious that the IPL has not harmed cricket in any way.

    These new stadiums were payed for by the public – it would be a damn shame to see them wasting away because of pettiness. Rugby ultimately belongs to rugby fans.

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.11.11 11:58:48 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Who are the WP anyways, do they play rugby? 😛

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.11.11 12:03:52 by JarsonX Reply
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  • @JarsonX (Comment 13) : Third Tuesday of every month – bring your own ball and 20 bucks to help cover the bill for the lights. 😈

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.11.11 12:06:36 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @beet : wpru and natal should try what the glru are trying to do, i mean if you think of it joburg has two test matches this year

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.11.11 12:18:04 by Spies66 Reply

  • @Spies66 (Comment 15) : Interesting point! It doesn’t help that MM is right next to KP though :mrgreen:

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.11.11 12:19:57 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @hendrikp (Comment 7) : In that case I hope Saracens lose to Biarritz, get knocked out of the HC and end stone last in the GP. :mrgreen:

    Who’s the Sharks buddy team in Europe? Toulouse, Leinster, Viadana?

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.11.11 12:22:46 by beet Reply
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  • @Spies66 (Comment 15) : The best from the last time out was all those underprivileged fans from Standton lining up of R100.00 test tickets for a game vs the All Blacks. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.11.11 12:24:38 by beet Reply
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  • IMO the season ticket argument by season ticket holders holds NO water.

    The 2011 season ticket is long since finished and expired and the 2012 season tickets will probably not include the game on 14 January.

    I can’t see any 2012 season ticket info on the WPRugby website but suspect the tickets would only go on sale after the 14th of jan anyway.

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.11.11 12:24:50 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Well that is not something that the GLRU are doing.

    SARU took a decision last year that THEY would now determine the venues of test matches and as I commented on that thread at the time, this will be their way of ensuring where the tests are played.

    The original article

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.11.11 12:33:07 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 20) : The point Spies66 originally made got me thinking though. If WPRU handled this whole Saracens debacle in a more mature manner and approached SARU with a proposal along the lines of “we have two world class stadiums, we have great attendance records when it comes to rugby, why not host a second international in the CT Stadium?” they may not be stuck with just the SA vs Arg game.

    Food for thought.

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.11.11 12:39:42 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 17) : Harlequins?

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.11.11 12:39:53 by Ben Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 17) : Racing Metro – if only for the sole reason to get Frans Steyn back in a Sharks jersey by buddying up with his current club 😀

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.11.11 12:45:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Give WP a Euro game if they want it so bad. Maybe Georgia vs Romania, maybe they will be able to handle it or maybe the game is to big. Bunch of amateurs

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.11.11 13:53:41 by Mutley Reply
  • The biggest loser here is Rugby. This was being said to be the opportunity to see if a truely global market exists. What irony is that we South Africans write of the Poms yet they opened their arms and hearts to Super Rugby being played at Twikkenham. The Bulls moving to Soweto last year is another example.

    You don’t stay without a trophy for more than a decade without reason

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.11.11 16:17:31 by Mocho Reply

  • @beet (Comment 17) : We don’t need a team in Europe, we have the Cheetahs. 😆

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.11.11 16:33:43 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 26) : If there was a smiley clapping politely I’d use it now. Well played sir.

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.11.11 21:38:49 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @beet (Comment 17) : Toulouse. Just as frustrating being a Stade Toulousain supporter. 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 21.11.11 09:54:17 by rhineshark Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :

    Well I’ll be the second then Rob.

    Rugby is business, and this is a business decision.

    Like it or not, agree with it or not, WP does run rugby in the Western Cape. Its in the SARU constitution.

    Fact is they are being strong-armed into assuming a enormous financial burden which is not commercially viable.

    Yes the Cape Town stadium takes 10 000 more fans, but that might be filled at most 5 times a year.
    WP Rugby runs off the revenue generated by their suite owners, and that my man, is the rub of the green.

    City of Cape Town have no leg to stand on – maybe if they had consulted before the white elephant was built it would be another story, but they didnt. And now its not commerically viable, no matter how much better the stadium is.

    Anyway, its all for nought, this is a game of chicken, and WPRU arent blinking.
    They will end up moving to the Cape Town stadium eventually, but on much, much better terms, maybe even a straight stadium swop.

    Rugby’s a business. We all moan about it, but thats the fact. We dont want SA rugby unions getting into debt ala UK football teams.
    All this, friends, is business.

    I would love to know what WP fans would think if they had to give in and, two or three years down the line, are no longer able to service their salary costs.

    Fans are being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Rugby runs on money, not fresh air.
    Having personally been involved with suite holders at Newlands and they are the tail that wags the finacnial dog. They pay, rain or shine, success or failure. Rank and file fans are change in the game and are fickle at best.

    Behind WPRU all the way on this issue – why should they get saddled with the costs of glory-hunter politicians that bent over to please their FIFA masters?

  • Comment 29, posted at 21.11.11 23:59:59 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) :

    Suites are sold on a ten-year denture basis KSA.
    And they cost a small fortune – been there and you can read that as fact.
    As a suite holder you pay upfront for ten years and then are contractually obliged to also buy the season tickets each years.

    I dont have the figures to hand, but I can all but guarantee you that suite holders bring in more income than the entire seating and stadning tickets in the stadium combined.

    Then every suite can buy the advertising outside their box and also are obliged to buy their booze from WPRU at, shall we say, inflated prices.

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.11.11 00:03:32 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) :

    Yup, they shouldnt, but fact is they do.

    Play the cards you’re dealt my man.

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.11.11 00:04:25 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 10) :


  • Comment 32, posted at 22.11.11 00:04:54 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 32) :

    As in then SARU or COCT cant come bakc later and say “but you allowed the Sarries game” when they try to play a test there.

    Also, do you know how nasty this has got? COCT tried to instruct the traffic department to no longer assist with traffic on match day at Newlands.

  • Comment 33, posted at 22.11.11 00:06:57 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 32) : president?

  • Comment 34, posted at 22.11.11 00:21:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 34) :

    Dont know if you’re being obtuse Robert… but if you’re not(although I suspect you are) this is for you:

    An earlier event or action regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

  • Comment 35, posted at 22.11.11 00:48:43 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Agree with VCS. Glad WPRU took a stand for our beloved Newlands.

  • Comment 36, posted at 22.11.11 15:42:55 by PaarlBok Reply


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