The DHL Stadium in Cape Town’s Green Point, is a marvellous modern facility fit for a number of purposes, unfortunately one of those is not XVs rugby.
The Stormers home games played at the DHL Stadium have seen the pitch fail to stand up to the rigours of an elite rugby union match.
DHL Stadium pitch is not suitable for rugby
There has been concern about the surface ahead of the final especially given the amount of rain that has lashed Cape Town in the last week.
It has been remarked upon time and again that the DHL Stadium turf cuts up a little too easily to be a venue that hosts rugby on a regular basis.
The surface, along with Western Province Rugby’s own internal power struggle, saw the move from the traditional home of rugby in the Western Cape at Newlands to the stadium constructed for the 2010 World Cup.
Newlands didn’t always have the best surface either, but as a purpose-built rugby ground could usually hold up.
The issues with the old ground were purely logistical with the suburb itself no longer a viable location for a big international venue.
As Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has pointed out this isn’t just a problem for the franchise and its board but will also be one their own players will need to overcome to end the wait for silverware in Cape Town.
“I just feel the turf at Cape Town Stadium isn’t conducive to scrumming,” said White.
“The Stormers have obviously spoken a lot that they have great scrummers, with two World Cup-winning props [in Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe] at the forefront, and that’s perfectly fine, but is just don’t think the surface gives them the benefits or bonuses that they should get.
“It’s a surface that breaks up very quickly and takes the contest of the scrum away.”
The world is watching the URC final and if the scrum devolves into farce it will not reflect well on SA Rugby or the Stormers.