George will, for the first time, play host to an international rugby franchise fixture.
April 7 is set to be a red-letter day for rugby fans in the Southern Cape as George plays host to a Guinness PRO14 encounter, with the Southern Kings set to take on Irish outfit Munster.
The PRO14 is an annual rugby union competition involving professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
Southern Kings chief operating officer Charl Crous said this was an extremely exciting development and forms part of the Southern Kings’ mission to bring international rugby to locals.
“South Western Districts has always been a key component of our franchise and has not only provided us with passionate support but also a number of great players, as well as our Head Coach Deon Davids,” Crous said.
The move is also part of a wider initiative to familiarise the broader rugby public with the Guinness PRO14 Championship brand.
This is the first season of South African involvement in the competition.
Many local fans are still learning about the sides taking part and the many great internationals they have in their line-ups.
“The Guinness PRO14 is one of the fastest-growing brands in world rugby and the inclusion of the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs this season has made it possible for more fans to share in the excitement of international franchise rugby and the Kings are looking forward to “spreading this gospel” to the George public,” Crous said.
South Western Districts Rugby president Hennie Baartman said having the Kings play Guinness PRO14 rugby in George will not only be a huge boost for the city but also for the sport of rugby in the area.
“It will inspire our young players to see icons of the game from up close and I have no doubt that our people will embrace the occasion! The match will take place at Outeniqua Park and I encourage all fans to get their tickets early to avoid disappointment,” Baartman said.
George Mayor Melvin Naik said George is not only situated in a spectacularly beautiful part of the world but is also well established in hosting international sporting events.
“I am sure most rugby fans will recall the many years during which we hosted the SA leg of the HSBC IRB World Sevens Series and we see our partnership with the Southern Kings as an extension of that fine tradition. The Munster team and their fans are in for an absolute treat when they arrive,” he said.
The Kings’ strategy to take the Guinness PRO14 championship to different communities has already seen them host Ulster at the Wolfson Stadium in KwaZakhele earlier this season.
For more information on tickets go to www.skings.co.za and for online purchases to www.ticketpros.co.za.