Boks back in Bloem - in 2016

Harold Verster (Gallo Images)
Harold Verster (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Free State Rugby Union CEO Harold Verster says the union will next host a Test match in the 2016 season.

Verster wrote a column on the Volksblad website where he explained to fans the situation regarding the union's hosting of Test matches.

Verster said the union gave up its right to host last year's Rugby Championship Test between South Africa and Argentina.

This was done upon request of the South African government to have the game staged at FNB Stadium in Soweto as part of the Mandela Day celebrations.

Verster said he, along with Free State president Lindsay Mould, last month held a meeting with SARU CEO Jurie Roux and president Oregan Hoskins to get assurance that a Springbok Test would soon return to Bloemfontein.

SARU offered them the opportunity to host a match between the Barbarians and Springboks in June this year.

But Verster said they turned it down as they felt it was not a proper Test match and would like to offer more to their fans.

He said SARU then offered them a Rugby Championship Test in 2015, which they again turned down, eventually opting for the assurance of getting either the All Blacks or Australia in 2016's Rugby Championship.

Explaining the decision to turn down a Rugby Championship Test in 2015, Verster wrote:

"The problem with 2015 is that it is a World Cup year. There will be no incoming Tests of teams from the Northern Hemisphere during June and in a World Cup year the big Southern Hemisphere teams typically do not pick their best players for the tour to South Africa. That makes the three Tests a bit of an unattractive proposition for Free State Rugby.

"It is important that fans understand that there is an huge guarantee of about R8m which must be paid in order to host a Test.

"Due to the quality of the match it is felt that the stadium won't be sold out which means that ticket prices would have to be adapted. It means ticket prices could be as much as R400-R500 per ticket to ensure that Free State Rugby meets the guarantee. Not only is Free State Rugby very serious about its financial situation (which looked very good in 2013), but also the financial affordability of big rugby matches for its supporters.

"Taking all this into consideration, and due to the quality of the match, the management of Free State Rugby put pressure on SARU to get a "big" Test in 2016. It will therefore be a Test between the Springboks and either the All Blacks or Wallabies."

Verster believes it is the best option to keep their fans happy.

2014 Springbok fixtures:

Incoming Series:

June 7: Springboks v World XV (Newlands, Cape Town - TBC)
June 14: Springboks v Wales (Kings Park, Durban)
June 21: Springboks v Wales (Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit)
June 28: Springboks v Scotland (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth)

Rugby Championship:

August 16: Springboks v Argentina (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
August 23: Argentina v Springboks (Venue TBC)
September 6: Australia v Springboks (Patersons Stadium, Perth)
September 13: New Zealand v Springboks (Westpac Stadium, Wellington)
September 27: Springboks v Australia (Newlands, Cape Town)
October 4: Springboks v New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Outgoing Tour:

November 8: Ireland v Springboks (AVIVA Stadium, Dublin)
November 15: England v Springboks (Twickenham, London)
November 22: Italy v Springboks (Venue TBC)
November 29: Wales v Springboks (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff)

CLICK HERE to read Harold Verster's full column on the Volksblad website.
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