Cape Town - Ticket sales for Saturday’s match between the Springboks and a star-studded World XV at Newlands has been a slow affair, with nearly 20 000 still available for the showdown.
SA Rugby confirmed that by Thursday afternoon nearly 20 000 tickets were still available, with 22 000 sold for the seating and standing sections of the stadium.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has selected a strong and experienced team with a total of 762 Test caps and only one debutant – Cheetahs flyer Cornal Hendricks.
The team also sees stalwarts such as Victor Matfield (captain) and Bakkies Botha reuniting for the first time in the second row since the 2011 World Cup.
The Newlands faithful will also be holding their breath to see whether Schalk Burger, one of their favourite sons, plays off the bench.
Like Matfield, Burger last played for the Boks at the last World Cup, having been plagued by injuries over the past three years.
It will be a dramatic and emotional return for the former International Rugby Board Player of the Year. Just last year he spent two weeks in a Cape Town being treated for bacterial meningitis, which he contracted after surgery to reduce pressure on a nerve in a calf muscle. While the home team are welcoming back heroes, taking their opponents lightly would be a huge mistake.
The World XV, coached by former Bok mentor Nick Mallett, might have had only four days’ preparation for the match, but they make up for it in pure class.
The team boasts players from Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Ireland, Samoa, Tonga and Georgia, along with seven South Africans.
The South African players are almost certain to add spice to the encounter. Former Sharks and Lions scrumhalf Rory Kockett has been plying his trade for French club side Castres over the past few seasons and has been in excellent form in the French Top 14 and European Cup, winning player of the year for his exploits in the French domestic league last year.
His duel with Ruan Pienaar could be one to watch. The Cape’s notorious All Black supporters can look forward to seeing former internationals Hosea Gear, Rene Ranger, Jimmy Cowan, Andrew Hore and Carl Hayman.
Kick-off is at 5.15pm. Tickets are R75-R350 from ticketpros.co.za.