Lof­tus Vers­feld - iconic land­mark

Pretoria News - - Pretoria News -

LOF­TUS Vers­feld Sta­dium was first used for sports in 1906. It was used for rugby be­gin­ning in 1908, when the site was known as the East­ern Sports Ground. The sta­dium was later re­named af­ter Robert Lof­tus Owen Vers­feld, the founder of or­gan­ised sports in Pre­to­ria, who ded­i­cated many years of his life to rugby union.

Dur­ing the 1920s the Pre­to­ria Subunion had not fore­seen the grow­ing need for fields, but in the first part of that decade, the Sub-union, in co-op­er­a­tion with the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, sys­tem­at­i­cally put their ex­ist­ing rugby fields un­der kikuyu.

Uni­ver­sity and Boys’ High fol­lowed their ex­am­ple in 1923, so that there were seven grass fields avail­able in that year.

The Rail­way In­sti­tute field at Berea Park was sim­i­larly grassed in 1924. At the end of 1928 there were ten grass fields in Pre­to­ria.

The Pre­to­ria Sub-union also wished to im­prove the fa­cil­i­ties at the East­ern Sports Ground. In 1923 the City Coun­cil com­menced the build­ing of a con­crete stand which could ac­com­mo­date 2 000 spec­ta­tors. At the end of 1928, mainly as a re­sult of the All Blacks tour, the Subunion could show a record fi­nan­cial gain and used the prof­its to erect the chang­ing-rooms and toi­lets they had waited for, for so long. When Mr. Lof­tus Vers­feld died sud­denly in May 1932, the Sub-union paid the fit­ting trib­ute of re­nam­ing the East­ern Sports Grounds. From then on, it was to be known as Lof­tus Vers­feld.

The phe­nom­e­nal growth of rugby was ac­com­pa­nied by a dearth of play­ing fields. Apart from the 3 605 pupils who played rugby in 1937, there were 2 202 se­nior play­ers ac­tively in­volved. As early as 1934 the Pre­to­ria Sub-union was un­able to pro­vide enough fields to sat­isfy the needs of the schools. The prospect of two ad­di­tional mu­nic­i­pal fields be­ing laid out on the race­course had not ma­te­ri­alised by March 1936.

Dur­ing 1937 the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity laid out an­other field at Lof­tus Vers­feld, while the Sub-union was granted the use of a field at School­plaats on the cor­ner of Schubart and Boom Streets, which was used mainly for school rugby. By of­fer­ing the use of their fields, the Po­lice Sports Club, the Uni­ver­sity and the Rail­way In­sti­tute helped to al­le­vi­ate the short­age of fields.

The East­ern Sports grounds were ini­ti­ated on 18 April 1914. The N.T.R.U (North­ern Transvaal Rugby Union) now B.B.R.U (Blue Bulls Rugby Union) was ini­ti­ated in 1938.

Here is a list of im­por­tant dates and his­toric oc­ca­sions:

• 1906: Area first used as sports field. • 1914: Fields got ini­ti­ated as East­ern

Sports grounds.

• 1923: First con­crete struc­ture – ac­com­mo­dat­ing 2000 spec­ta­tors.

• 1928: Chang­ing rooms and toi­lets

were added.

• 1932: Mr. Lof­tus Vers­feld died. Sta­dium re­named to Lof­tus Vers­feld.

• 1938: North­ern Transvaal Rugby

Union was ini­ti­ated.

• 1946: First Cur­rie Cup vic­tory at Lof­tus for North­ern Transvaal

• 1948: On-go­ing im­prove­ments on

the sta­dium.

• 1972: Up­per East­ern Pavil­ion added. • 1974: Lower South­ern Pavil­ion con­struc­tion.

• 1977: Main Pavil­ion con­struc­tion. • 1984: North­ern Pavil­ion un­der con­struc­tion.

• 1989: South­ern Pavil­ion ren­o­vated

(just as it is to­day).

• 1994: Nel­son Man­dela present at Eng­land vs South Africa Test Match

• 1995: East­ern Pavil­ion ren­o­vated

(just as it is to­day).

• 1995: One of the of­fi­cial Rugby

World Cup sta­di­ums.

• 1997: North­ern Transvaal Rugby Union name changed to Blue Bulls Rugby Union.

• 1998: Mi­nolta be­came of­fi­cial spon­sor – Sta­dium re­named: Mi­nolta Lof­tus.

• 2003: Se­curi­cor be­came of­fi­cial spon­sor – Sta­dium re­named: Se­curi­cor Lof­tus.

• 2005: Vo­da­com be­came of­fi­cial spon­sor – Sta­dium re­named back to Lof­tus Vers­feld.

• 2008: Ma­jor im­prove­ments done for

2010 FIFA World Cup

• 2009: Lof­tus Vers­feld hosted the Su­per Rugby Fi­nal – Bulls won the Match against Chiefs (New Zealand).

• 2010: One of venues for the of­fi­cial

FIFA World Cup sta­di­ums. To­day Lof­tus Vers­feld can house 50 000 spec­ta­tors

Sta­dium name changes

The Sta­dium has gone through a va­ri­ety of name changes, es­pe­cially due to spon­sor­ships:

• 1914: East­ern Sports­ground

• 1934: Lof­tus Vers­feld

• 1998: Mi­nolta Lof­tus

• 2003: Se­curi­cor Lof­tus

• 2005: back to Lof­tus Vers­feld Sta­dium when Vo­da­com be­came the ma­jor spon­sor of the sta­dium

On 1 Septem­ber 2005 Vo­da­com re­turned the Sta­dium to the team and its fans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.