WP games moved to prioritise pitch maintenance for URC final

rugby16 May 2023 11:57
By:Gavin Rich
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Dylan de Leeuw © Gallo Images

As anticipated, the two DHL Western Province home Currie Cup matches scheduled to be played in the next two weeks have been moved so that the pitch maintenance at DHL Stadium can be prioritised ahead of the 27 May Vodacom United Rugby Championship final.

However, instead of moving the games against the Airlink Pumas and the Fidelity ADT Lions to Stellenbosch, as was assumed would be the case, the games will instead be played at Athlone Stadium.

The alternative venue will see WP hosting the Pumas on Friday at 5pm and then the Lions the following Friday, 26 May, the eve of the URC final, at 5.05pm. Tickets for the games will go on sale on Tuesday at 5pm and are available exclusively from Ticketpro.

The two games are important for WP’s quest to make the semifinals of the domestic competition, and John Dobson, who coaches both Province and the Stormers URC team, says they will be going full out to win but that he would not be compromising the URC challenge for that purpose.

“We are looking closely at the Currie Cup team to gauge form just in case players are needed in the URC but we won’t be fielding any players that we expect to be involved in the URC final,” said Dobson.

“We have another two weeks of all-out commitment to the URC and we want to win the trophy again and if we miss out on Currie Cup semifinal qualification because we focused on the URC we are prepared to do that. Winning the URC is more important at this point.”

The DHL Stadium turf has never been great for rugby and is to be re-laid, with the replacement surface being a mixture of artificial turf and normal grass, during the off-season in time for the start of the next URC season in October. However, it has become particularly poor and difficult to play on since the stadium was used for Monster Jam on 22 April.