The Southern Kings are expecting a bumper crowd at their next home game after announcing that the match against Ulster will be hosted at the Wolfson Stadium in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.
The game, on Saturday 4 November, sees the Kings spread rugby around a country that doesn’t normally get to see elite rugby in November, with the Super Rugby season taking place between February and August and the Currie Cup wrapping up this weekend.
The South African side have so far played home Guinness PRO14 matches at the 46,000-seater Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but will now welcome the Irish province to the changed venue.
“Top-class rugby is moving into a new part of the calendar with November fixtures in South Africa and we thought it would be a good opportunity to move into a new part of the community,” said Charl Crous, COO of the Southern Kings.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) October 24, 2017
“We saw how well the SuperSport Rugby Challenge matches were supported when provincial rugby was taken to community venues this year and we know the Zwide population will turn out for rugby on their doorstep.
“A crowd of 10,000 can get ‘lost’ in a massive venue like the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but it would lift the roof off the rafters in a packed Wolfson Stadium.
“The Stadium has hosted numerous high-profile events before, including top-flight soccer fixtures, SuperSport initiatives and Springbok training sessions.
“It will be an opportunity for many fans to experience top-flight rugby as never before – in a full, vibrant stadium with a unique atmosphere and energy.”
Les Kiss’ men can expect a noisy welcome to the Wolfson Stadium, which has a reputation for producing an electric atmosphere for rugby matches.
A crowd of over 10,000 turned out to see the Eastern Province Kings take on Western Province in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge earlier this year, and many in South Africa are applauding the efforts to bring the game to new fans.
Kings to host their game vs Ulster in Zwide’s Wolfson stadium. The Irish will get a passionate welcome for sure. Great move.
— Brenden Nel (@BrendenNel) October 24, 2017
Kings head coach Deon Davids added: “We opened one of our practice sessions to the public in Despatch recently as part of this strategy, so both the coaches and team are extremely excited about the opportunities that hosting a match at the Wolfson Stadium holds for us.”
In the meantime, the Kings travel to Scotland this weekend to take on the Glasgow Warriors with star winger Yaw Penxe returning to the squad and newly-signed fly-half Martin du Toit also included.