HONG KONG – The Stormers will break new ground when they take on the Sunwolves in a historic Super Rugby clash in Hong Kong on May 19.
Reports on Thursday out of Hong Kong say that although the match was initially scheduled to be played at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, it will now take place at Mong Kok Stadium – a renowned Hong Kong football ground.
It's hoped that the clash will recreate the sort of atmosphere that has become commonly associated with the highly popular Hong Sevens tournament, while the intimate 6,000-seat stadium is almost sure to be at capacity.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said they were certainly looking forward to the occasion, according to the reports.
“If the people of Hong Kong can bring the same energy and the environment they bring to the Hong Kong Sevens it will be a fantastic game to be part of.
“Hong Kong is built on a bit of rugby history with the Sevens so I’m sure the fans will really embrace us and the Sunwolves."
While Singapore’s National Stadium has hosted three Sunwolves’ home matches over the last two seasons in order to reduce the travel time for South African sides, the crowd attendances have generally been disappointing.
The change of venue now presents the opportunity to tap into a new market, which Sanzaar CEO Andy Marinos said was certainly an exciting prospect.
"Sanzaar is excited that Super Rugby yet go into a new area. Rugby's profile in Asia has been lifted by the Sunwolves's offering matches in Tokyo and Singapore. We welcome this opportunity to give rugby a foothold in China."
Last year, the Stormers battled their way to a hard-fought 44-31 over the Sunwolves in Singapore, and Fleck said they were expecting another challenging contest.
“Our boys are really excited about having the opportunity to play in Hong Kong. There is a huge atmosphere there and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to be part of, and now I get to do that by bringing the Stormers group over.”
African News Agency (ANA)