CAPE TOWN - WP Rugby are confident that they will receive a venue safety certificate in order to host the Springbok Test against the All Blacks at Newlands in October.
SA Rugby recently announced that Newlands has been chosen as the venue for the Rugby Championship showdown, which will be the first time since 2008 that the All Blacks will play in Cape Town.
On that occasion, the Boks lost 19-0 to New Zealand in what was legendary fullback Percy Montgomery’s 100th Test match.
But since then, it is understood that the “Cape Crusaders” phenomenon in the Mother City – where local rugby fans support New Zealand teams instead of the Springboks or Stormers – has been part of the reason why SA Rugby has not allocated an All Black Test to Newlands.
That has now changed after much lobbying by WP Rugby Union president Thelo Wakefield and his executive, but now they need to secure the safety certificate for the grand old stadium under the new safety regulations issued in terms of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act.
Under the new regulations promulgated in March 2017 under the Act, venues such as Newlands are now required to make an application to the relevant local authority in accordance with certain requirements and criteria set out in the new regulations.
Previously, the only requirements expressly set out in the Act pertaining to safety were those relating to event safety. In that regard, WP Rugby had applied for and obtained an event permit certificate bi-annually from the City of Cape Town.
WP Rugby needed to comply with the new regulations by next month.
Confirming the application, WP Rugby Group CEO Paul Zacks said: “We have been in regular contact with both the City and SA Rugby regarding the new application requirements and have been working on meeting the new requirements for some time in consultation with our health and safety advisors.
“WP Rugby take safety and security at Newlands very seriously, and full fire and disaster risk management preparations – including an assessment of the stadium – are regularly undertaken by the City as part of their event risk assessment and certification process.
“We are confident that we will meet the requirements under the new regulations. In fact, WP Rugby recently achieved 89% for an event compliance audit conducted by independent specialist risk consultants, the highest score achieved in respect of rugby stadiums in South Africa hosting Super Rugby matches.”
Zacks added: “This is an ongoing process. The matter is now in the hands of the relevant assessors at the City of Cape Town, and we have offered our full support and commitment in engaging with them to meet the various requirements, as usual.
“As per SA Rugby’s constitution, all international matches involving the Springboks must be staged at a stadium which falls under the control of, or is approved by, the provincial union.
“It goes without saying that WP Rugby are excited to be able to host the All Blacks at Newlands, and we have therefore done everything we can to make the necessary application and satisfy the City as regards any safety requirements that they have.”
Staff Writer, WP Rugby