Top rugby back in Soweto

Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko champions the return of rugby to Soweto.


Excitement is mounting in Soweto as top-flight rugby is set to return to the world-famous township on 17 June, a day after the renowned June 16 Student Uprising of 1976.

International rugby stars will be on show in Soweto for as little as R40 when SA ‘A’ take on the French Barbarians team captained by Freddy Michalak next month.

Read: Junior Boks prove too much for varsity rugby stars in dream clash

In a ground-breaking collaboration with the Gauteng Provincial Government, top flight rugby returns to Orlando Stadium for a double-header night of action, which will also see the rising stars of the Xerox Golden Lions take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls in a SuperSport Rugby Challenge match.

The match is a partnership between SA Rugby and the Gauteng Provincial Government, which also plans to expose Soweto youngsters to the event by transporting them to the game.

“As the Gauteng Provincial Government, it is our firm belief that meaningful change can only happen when we embrace community-based, citizen-driven and civil society initiatives which contribute to social cohesion, economic inclusion, non-racialism, non-sexism, and peace and harmony among the diverse and cosmopolitan people of Gauteng, and this international rugby game strategically provides such a platform,” said the MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko at the launch games at Orlando Stadium.

“We have also come to fully appreciate the power of sport in driving economic growth and development by supporting local tourism and boosting our industrialisation efforts.”

The matches will be part of an intense rugby week in Johannesburg, with the 3rd Test between the Springboks and France taking place at Emirates Airline Park 24 hours later.

Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby at the same launch added, “We are very excited to be partnering with the Gauteng Provincial Government in this major initiative to take top-flight professional rugby back to Soweto.

“We saw what an impact it had on all our communities the last time we brought major professional rugby to Soweto, and this is not a once-off event – we are already in conversation to repeat this idea next year,” he said.

Organisers hope the people of Orlando and greater Soweto will turn out in their numbers to share what will be a memorable experience and get the chance to see the Springbok stars of tomorrow in action, as well as some legendary names from French rugby.

Read: Higher honours for long-standing UJ coach

The first meeting in the two-match series takes place at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 16 June, on the eve of the second test.

The main match at Orlando Stadium will be preceded by a curtain-raiser when the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on the Xerox Golden Lions in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge Gauteng derby.

Do you think this rugby match will achieve the desired racial harmony in the country? Like the Alex News Facebook page to post your comments.

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