Newlands 'anxiety' for Stormers
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The big “farewell season” for Newlands Stadium is turning out to be a disaster.
With the rugby season in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether we will see another rugby match at the famous ground.
The Stormers and Western Province will be moving to Cape Town Stadium in 2021, which will be a watershed moment for the union after 130 years at Newlands.
As it stands the last match at the stadium was the Stormers’ 14-33 defeat to the Blues at the end of February.
“It is a source of anxiety for us,” said Stormers head coach John Dobson in a video conference with journalists.
“With the Currie Cup format as it was published which saw us play the Sharks, Cheetahs and Griquas at home, it’s not a great way to say goodbye to Newlands.
“We still had three [Super Rugby home games]. We should have been playing the Waratahs and Rebels during this last two weeks and we still had the Sharks to come, which is obviously not going to happen under the current structure.”
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Dobson said they are hopeful they will be able to take the field at some point this year.
“The Newlands thing is a concern. There is a farewell occasion being planned and God-willing that takes place.
“It was always meant to be pencilled down for October or November, so hopefully that still happens.
“I think the players are still optimistic we will play some form of domestic rugby before then,” he added.
One silver lining to this period of lockdown is that it has given some of the players with long-term injuries a chance to recover.
Dobson gave an update on some of the key players who have been sidelined this season and when they can be expected to be fully fit again.
“Bongi [Mbonambi] and Pieter-Steph [du Toit] should be ready to play in early June, Siya [Kolisi] will be back the next time we play. Kitsie [Steven Kitshoff] and Herschel [Jantjies] might be back in the first week of July, but maybe in June,” he said.
The players all continue to be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19, but at this stage, none have been affected.
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