United Rugby Championship

SA Rugby welcomes 50% supporter return as 'a major relief for our sport'

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Springbok fans (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Springbok fans (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • Sport in South Africa received a welcome boost with the announcement that stadiums could now allow more fans after Cyril Ramaphosa eased Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Only 2 000 people have been allowed to watch live sport over the past few months.
  • That number will now climb as stadiums are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity. 

The feeling of relief among sports fans was palpable on Tuesday evening after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a lifting of various Covid-19 restrictions that allow stadiums to operate at 50% capacity. 

From Wednesday, 23 March more fans are allowed entry to stadiums as long as they are vaccinated or present a negative Covid-19 test.

"This is a major relief for our sport," said Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby.

"These have been two incredibly tough years for our teams, and we are excited to welcome more people back into stadiums for all levels of the game, from the United Rugby Championship and Currie Cup to club level.

It was not only club, provincial and franchise rugby that would benefit, however.

"We have seen in the response to the ticket launch of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town in September that there is an appetite to share once again great rugby occasions with our friends and family," Alexander added.

The Springboks haven't played in front of a home crowd since 2019 either.

"We have six Springbok test matches to look forward to across the country from July and it will be great to see the Boks running out in front of a proper crowd in South Africa for the first time since 2019."

Alexander said rugby would continue to observe the necessary protocols applicable to venue attendance concerning public health and safety.

"We're very grateful for the good news from President Cyril Ramaphosa tonight," he said.

"Rugby remains in ICU as we battle for sustainability but there is now a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel."

The Springboks kick off their season with a three-Test series against Wales, starting at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 2 July.

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