Disappointing is how Tank Lanning describes his recent visit to the Cape Town stadium in his latest column for Sport24, and perhaps it is not the ideal home for WP rugby.
So this is awkward … Having been a very public protagonist of Western Province Rugby Union moving to the Cape Town stadium, I am now not nearly as confident …
So excited was I about attending the pre-season game between the Stormers and Boland at the “New” stadium, that I chose the game over a bachelor party of a good mate at my favourite watering hole in Cape Town …
And it wasn’t because of the rugby on offer …
But my experience can best described by that fellow in A Fish Called Wanda – “Disappointed!”
Not being so new anymore, the roof of the stadium now leaks, and it being a strange summer’s day in Cape Town, the rain was bucketing down. This combination meant that the entire press seating area, which is out in the open in the main stand, was under water.
Now I know most of you think that all us media types do is complain while being paid to watch rugby for free in the best seats while sipping on a cold one and eating biltong … But we do actually do a little work, and that involves a computer plugged into a power socket – two things that do not go particularly well with water.
With much of the seating out in the open, and the roof in need of some Pollyfiller, I am afraid the Cape Town stadium is indeed a “Fair-weather stadium”. Not ideal for blustery Cape winters!
Also, unless you know the area particularly well, and are prepared to circumvent the city, there is only one road into the stadium – a road that also happens to be the only road into the city’s biggest shopping centre and tourist attraction. Even with only a few thousand of us going to the game, that road took proper strain, meaning plenty time sitting in traffic.
Use public transport I hear you say … Go in early and have lunch at the Waterfront I hear you say … All good and well when it’s a big event held every four years, but perhaps off-putting when doing it every second week during the winter.
Throw in the poor field condition (that was new and disappointing) and the fact that you sit a long way from the field if you want to watch from higher up and stay out the rain, and I am starting to see some reason in WPRU stalling on the move.
These issues over and above the fact that Newlands is paid for and that the new stadium would not be able to accommodate the commercially vital suite holders, as explained yet again by union president Thelo Wakefield when asked the question at the DHL sponsorship extension announcement yesterday.
Which begs the other obvious question – What would sponsors DHL get out of a move?
I am afraid both Durban and Cape Town were royally screwed when bending over so quickly for Mr Blatter and his FIFA henchman and are now paying the price.
But with SARU now taking back the ownership Springbok Test matches, with a view to staging the Cape Town matches at the CT stadium instead of Newlands from 2014, I hope a few of them read this column before making the final call!