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Fri Apr 18 16:12:17 SAST 2014

Saru’s new match model for FNB match

CRAIG RAY | 05 October, 2012 10:020 Comments
South African supporters wave their flags during the 2010 Tri-Nations match between the South African Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks at the FNB Stadium on August 21, 2010 in Johannesburg
Image by: David Rogers / Getty Images

THE Springboks will meet the All Blacks at the FNB Stadium for the second time in three years, but this time the match is hosted by the South African Rugby Union and not the Golden Lions Rugby Union.

Test matches are usually “sold” to a union for a fee of R9-million by Saru and the union then takes all the profits, if any.

 But tomorrow’s (SAT) final Four Nations match is the first under a new model the national union is trying to implement.

 This time Saru is hosting and therefore accepting all the costs and expenses associated with the event.

The decision was take at general council level and despite some grumblings that the GLRU had missed out on a money- making opportunity, it’s simply not the case.

 In June the GLRU hosted the second test against England under the conventional system. It’s unusual for a union to host more than one Bok test per season.

 Saru’s reasoning for taking the game to the 90 000-seater FNB stadium is about growing the game in a non-traditional rugby area, using the excellent facilities built for the 2010 soccer World Cup and maximising earning potential from a bigger gate.

 However, unlike the 2010 match between the old rivals, tomorrow’s match is unlikely to be sold out and a crowd of about 70000 is expected.

 It’s still a massive return for Saru and if the blueprint proves financially viable the governing body could look to employ a similar model in the future.

 Ellis Park remains Joburg’s traditional rugby home, but it and other rugby grounds around the country might start playing second fiddle if Saru believes the model has promise.

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