The Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation in conjunction with Ultimate Sporting Concepts announced the Gauteng Sports Challenge Benefit in Johannesburg today.
This exciting Challenge will see the Vodacom Bulls returning to the venue of their famous 2010 Vodacom Super Rugby triumph when they face off with the MTN Golden Lions at Orlando Stadium on 2 February 2013 in the Gauteng Rugby Cup which forms part of the Gauteng Sports Challenge Benefit.
The Vodacom Bulls will officially kick off the Blue Bulls Rugby Union’s (BBRU) 75th Anniversary Celebrations in the Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium next February.
Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lebogang Maile says this match will reignite the jubilation experienced in 2010.
“We are looking forward to re-living the euphoria, excitement and anticipation that we experienced during 2010 when professional rugby returned to Soweto. The Gauteng Rugby Cup is all about sport for social cohesion.”
The Gauteng Rugby Cup will bring back fond memories for both Unions and their legends from the first ever encounter contested by the newly-formed Northern Transvaal Rugby Union against Transvaal on 18 April 1938. This trip down memory lane for past and current players will be the highlight of an action-packed outing at Soweto’s Orlando Stadium which will also feature an exciting list of festivities throughout the day.
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, Ultimate Sporting Concepts Managing Director, says the stage is set for another unforgettable rugby experience in Soweto.
“We are delighted to partner with the Blue Bulls Rugby Union and the Golden Lions Rugby Union to bring the Gauteng Rugby Cup to the Soweto community and to all rugby fans at large. Bringing this game to Orlando Stadium two years on from the Vodacom Bulls stunning Super 14 victories is indeed special and more so because we will be staging the Gauteng Rugby Cup in Soweto for the next two years.”
The Vodacom Bulls defeated former champions the Crusaders 39 – 24 in the 2010 Vodacom Super 14 semifinal and then went on to clinch the title with victory against the DHL Stormers in the final at Orlando Stadium.
Barend van Graan, Blue Bulls Company CEO, explains the significance of the Gauteng Rugby Cup which officially launches the Union’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.
“Playing the Lions in Soweto accomplishes many objectives for us; it is a return to the very beginnings of our Union, the game will be played in honour of our legendary players and will also lay the foundation for another successful 75 years of Bulls rugby.
Having played a significant role in the recent successes of the Vodacom Bulls, we felt it was essential to return to the Stadium that proved to be our lucky charm in the 2010 Vodacom Super 14 season. The Soweto community is one that is passionate about rugby and was unrelenting in their support of our team in 2010, and recognising this enthusiasm for the Bulls is why we wanted to kick-start our 75th Anniversary celebrations back at Orlando.”
Van Graan and his opposite number at the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU), Acting CEO Ruben Moggee, were pleased with the announcement that the Gauteng Rugby Cup would be hosted by Orlando Stadium for the next two years.
The MTN Golden Lions are now on a journey to reclaim their Super Rugby status and Moggee says this fixture gives their loyal fans the opportunity to see the team in action.
“Both Unions have rich and proud histories, steeped in tradition in the South African landscape, but history aside, this 75th Anniversary match is our way of helping our neighbours prepare for their Super Rugby season while also ensuring that our fans are able to watch our team in action in the months preceding the 2013 Absa Currie Cup competition.”
Previous Super Rugby and international test matches in Soweto have not only sold out but also proved to be resounding successes. Jacques Grobbelaar, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) Chairman and CEO, says the Soweto community is extremely passionate about rugby.
“There are no resident professional rugby teams in Soweto which means our community is quite starved of rugby action, but when we do host matches here, such as the 2010 Super 14 semifinal and final and the Springbok test matches against New Zealand at FNB Stadium, we have had overwhelming responses to these games.
Watching the Vodacom Bulls in action at Orlando Stadium, two years after those memorable victories in 2010 and for the next two years will be special moments for our community.”
In celebrating its 75 year history, the BBRU has a host of festivities lined up for the entire year starting in January 2013, with something to cater for every member of the Bulls family on the cards.
This fixture is subject to confirmation from the City of Johannesburg. More details on ticket prices, gate opening times and a match day schedule of events will be available in due course on www.thebulls.co.za.