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Athlone stadium can be a rugby hub again says Levy

NEWS: Western Province assistant coach Labeeb Levy believes the Athlone stadium in Cape Town can become a rugby hub once again after successfully hosting the Currie Cup game between the Capetonians and the Pumas last weekend.

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Going back to the field where he grew up, brought back precious memories for Levy and team manager Chippie Solomons.

“I was standing with Chippie on Friday. He said he remembered playing for SA Colleges there as a curtain raiser to a SA Cup final,” Levy said.

“It was massive in the old days, a hub for athletics in Cape Town and I believe a lot of good athletes came from there.

“Sometimes there were three fixtures on a day. A lot of SA Cup games took place there so it was quite nostalgic to go back there. And the players were pleasantly surprised at the captains’ run to see that it is such a quality stadium,” the coach said.

Athlone stadium was a key training venue during the 2010 FIFA World Cup while eight matches were hosted there as part of the African Nations Championship in 2014.

“I spoke to other people that came to watch the game and for them it was exciting to have rugby there. Over time I think if the venue gets used, it can become a rugby hub again. We can be creative in how we use fixtures there. There is a lot of potential and the boys are happy to go there again this weekend.”

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Western Province will host the Lions in Athlone this Friday as the pitch at the Cape Town is kept intact for the big United Rugby Championship final.

“It’s not too far to travel, like even to Stellenbosch, as it’s nice and central,” Levy said.

Western Province prop Kwenzo Blose added the pitch at Athlone withstood the onslaught as the scrum contest against the Pumas got more intense.

“The pitch held up nicely compared to the Cape Town stadium as it is pretty difficult to scrum there these days”

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Blose said the Lions are also a team renowned for their strong scrums. “That is where they target teams, so we will have to be ready.”

 

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