Bay all set for feast of rugby

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - OPINION -

AF­TER a sta­ple diet of Cur­rie Cup and Su­per Rugby in re­cent years, sup­port­ers can now look for­ward to some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent when the South­ern Kings make their Euro­pean Pro14 de­but next Satur­day.

The 44 000 crowd who watched South Africa beat Ar­gentina at Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium proved once again that rugby en­joys wide­spread sup­port in the re­gion.

Of­fi­cials will be hop­ing many of those loyal Bok sup­port­ers will now rally be­hind the Kings and turn out in big num­bers to sup­port their lo­cal fran­chise.

First up for the Kings is a game against reign­ing cham­pi­ons Scar­lets in Wales, be­fore they travel to Ire­land to take on Con­nacht.

Their first home game is against Ir­ish out­fit Le­in­ster at Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium on Septem­ber 16 and a big crowd is expected to watch. With teams from Ire- land, Wales, France, Italy and Scot­land set to visit the Bay in the com­ing months the scene is set for a mouth-wa­ter­ing rugby feast.

Rugby in the Bay has been through its hard times in re­cent years and the cash cri­sis brought the East­ern Prov­ince Rugby Union to its knees.

Through­out those dark days, how­ever, sup­port for the game has re­mained strong and the re­gion con­tin­ues to breed top-class play­ers.

Ahead of the Ar­gen­tine test, the Bay rolled out the red car­pet for their he­roes and Spring­boks thanked their fa­nat­i­cal sup­port­ers by beat­ing the Pu­mas in em­phatic fash­ion.

The venue has be­come a fortress for the Boks, who thrive on play­ing at the at­mo­spheric sta­dium.

Now it is up to the Kings to main­tain the vibe cre­ated by the Spring­boks and keep the re­gion’s flag fly­ing high on the Pro14 cir­cuit.

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