Springboks

Cheetahs boss makes it clear Springbok Test is financial watershed: 'It's critical'

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The Cheetahs hope good things come from their Bok Test in July. (Supplied)
The Cheetahs hope good things come from their Bok Test in July. (Supplied)
  • Cheetahs boss Ross van Reenen says their hosting of the second Test between the Springboks and Wales is "critical" on numerous fronts. 
  • Most importantly, it's a vital injection for a franchise that doesn't command the type of funding as the URC teams.
  • Van Reenen also hopes the match convinces supporters to come to the Free State Stadium more regularly.


Cheetahs boss Ross van Reenen has emphasised the importance of the central franchise hosting the second Test between the Springboks and Wales in July, going as far as stating it could represent a financial watershed.

It will be the first time in four years that the Free State Stadium showcases international rugby since South Africa beat England 23-13 back in 2018 during the series that kick-started Rassie Erasmus' World Cup-winning tenure.

More importantly, the Cheetahs will receive a decent financial boost.

While some prudent financial management and significant backing from chief sponsor Toyota has provided some stability, the franchise still receives smaller distributions from SA Rugby in comparison with the URC sides and doesn't play in an international competition.

"This Test is critical for us," said Van Reenen.

"I can't provide the exact numbers for now, but we've already sold over 50% of the permissible tickets available. It's going to be a huge financial injection for the Cheetahs."

READ | Why Frans Steyn ditched a big Japan pay-day for Cheetahs: 'My choice has been made'

Van Reenen, who a fortnight ago back organised a car boot sale and "rugby festival" to stimulate interest and the local economy before the Currie Cup encounter between the host and the Sharks, also hopes the Test - slated for July 9 - convinces supporters to attend matches on a more regular basis again.

The Free State Stadium has a capacity of 46 000.

"I believe this might be the catalyst overall for people coming back to the stadium and watching rugby. I'm very excited by the fact that we'll be hosting a Test," he said.

"Symbolically, I think it's exciting and important that we have a Test in the heartland of South Africa."

In terms of international competition for the team itself, it seems that a late-year Toyota Challenge is the only viable option for the franchise.

It's understood that Van Reenen and co are keen to nail down the Crusaders and possibly Japanese giants Verblitz as potential opponents.

"Negotiations are ongoing," said the Cheetahs chief.

"If all goes well, we'll hopefully make an announcement soon. There's a strong possibility that something will happen, we'll have to believe, otherwise nothing will happen.

"I have huge self-belief in the discussions. I'm confident things will change in due course."    


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