Cape Town — There will at last be some finality on the future of Newlands Rugby Stadium on Thursday, when the Western Province Rugby Football Union provide insight into the grand old dame.
The WP union announced on Wednesday that they will host a press conference at Cape Town Stadium on Thursday, which will be addressed by the SA Rugby-appointed administrator, Rian Oberholzer, general manager Danny Jones and Stormers coach John Dobson.
The reason for the media briefing was stated by WP to be “regarding the future of Newlands Stadium, and the effect thereof on Western Province Rugby and the Stormers”.
Province and the Stormers left Newlands and have been playing at the iconic Cape Town Stadium since the beginning of last season, which ended in triumph as the franchise team clinched the inaugural United Rugby Championship title in June last year by beating the Bulls 18-13.
The WP union – who have been under the administration from SA Rugby since October 2021 due to a number of boardroom problems, including multiple failed equity and property deals in recent years – are the owners of Newlands, and announced in February 2022 that the stadium would be “placed on the market in a sealed bidding process”.
An external consultancy firm, Galetti (Pty) Limited, was appointed “to ensure the process is transparent and judged entirely on commercial merits”.
However, that process hit a snag when former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen began a “Save Newlands Rugby Stadium” campaign, and wanted the venue to be declared a heritage site.
Claassen and Oberholzer have met with the government Heritage Western Cape in recent months, but in the meantime, the Newlands stadium pitch has become worn out as there are no funds to maintain the facility.
Now there is some movement expected, as Oberholzer, Jones and Dobson will map out the way forward on Thursday.
The Stormers, though, will be keen to continue their impressive performances this season when they take on French club Clermont in the Champions Cup at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (7.30pm kickoff).