Bulls turn down Lions' final request

Rudolf Straeuli (Gallo Images)
Rudolf Straeuli (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Blue Bulls reportedly turned down an offer to play Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against the Golden Lions as a curtain-raiser for the Super Rugby final.

The two Gauteng rivals tackle each other in a Currie Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday night (19:00 kick-off).

According to Netwerk24, the Golden Lions Rugby Union was eager to see the game moved to Ellis Park and be played as a precursor for the Super Rugby final between the Lions and Crusaders.

Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the Lions Rugby Company, said the Blue Bulls turned down their offer to move the game to Johannesburg.

In return, the Lions were prepared to play their scheduled home Currie Cup game against the Blue Bulls on September 16 in Pretoria.

Straeuli said he understood the Bulls’ decision.

“There is obviously already some tickets sold for Saturday’s clash at Loftus and there were also several others considerations that needed to be taken into consideration.”

The Lions also attempted a similar negotiation with the Free State Rugby Union to move the under-19 game to Ellis Park, but that request was also turned down.

Meanwhile, Ellis Park is sold out for Saturday's Super Rugby final, with more than 60 000 fans expected.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann is looking forward to the occasion.

"For me, to see 60 000 people here will be the ultimate. I couldn't really ask for more," said Ackermann.

Ackermann, who has been at the Lions since 2013, will leave South African shores at the end of Super Rugby to take up his new position at Gloucester in the English Premiership.

"I know that time is running out, but every time I wish these players well before they go out to play it is special for me. I think back to 2013, 2014 and 2015 and where we are now... there are so many people to say thank you to. My whole management, the people behind the scenes, the people that cut the grass, the administrators... it's all memories that I have every time I drive into the stadium," the coach said.

Kick-off for the final is scheduled for 16:00.


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